Stay Excited! About Anything!
It was an early morning for me as I had to get up at the crack to haul myself to Logan Airport for my trip up to Edmonton this weekend. Funnily enough the trip in was a breeze, but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re on the “T” at 5:30 in the morning. No one’s up yet!
Once at the airport, after checking in and approaching the security line, everyone waiting was caught off guard when the TSA peeps said that we didn’t have to take all of our things out of our bags and that we could keep our shoes on.
Like, whoa! Where did this come from?
But of course, SOMEONE had to play Debbie Downer and go out of her way whine about having already taken all of her things out of her bag.
“Well, now you tell me,” someone blurted out behind me in annoyance for all to hear. “You could have told me earlier.” Blah blah blah.
It never ceases to amaze me how much people like to bitch and whine about trivial things. I guess the moral of the story is that, no matter what, despite a pivotal Red Sox Game 5 win last night, the airport just makes some people miserable.
In any case, I’m here, and ready to enjoy the weekend with my boy Dean Somerset. Because I kind of have my plate full for the next few days, I asked my lovely girlfriend, DOCTOR Lisa Lewis, if she would be so kind as to fill in for me and write a guest post for my site today.
Some of you may recall a piece that Lisa wrote a while back titled A Girlfriend Responds, where she came to my defense after I received a barrage of “hate mail” for having the audacity to tell women that lifting heavy things is probably more productive than yoga or Zumba class.
My boo’s got my back!
Anyhoo, it was a very well received post and I’d highly encourage you to check it out because Lisa’s the smartest, funniest, most beautiful and most intelligent woman ever. Besides my Mom.
In today’s post she dives into a motivation, which, given she’s a psychologist and borderline Jedi, is something she’s knows a lot about.
PS: Just a quick reminder that the sale on Nia Shanks’ Train to Be Awesome Guide ends at midnight TONIGHT (Friday, October 18th). It’s currently priced at $29 and jumps up to, well, more than that tomorrow.
Go HERE and check it out.
Stay Excited. About Anything.
Every morning. 5:50am. 5:30 on Fridays. It’s dark. It’s chilly. It is not exciting. Training before work is something I do because, 1. The gym is relatively free of curling-in-the-squat rack Tom Foolery, 2. I feel like a million bucks before 7:00am, and 3. It’s nice to relax in the afternoons after work.
But, as I’m sure many of you know all too well, training in the morning has its drawbacks. And although the early morning may sometimes appear to be the monotonous malefactor muting your motivation, training and training and trying to better yourself month after month with punishing pulls and precocious pushes can sometimes get a little lackluster.
Please don’t misunderstand – I happen to have the best, most innovative, darling-est strength coach in the free world, who writes me a shiny new program every month.
I’m excited anew with every fresh program, but even still, picking up heavy stuff can sometimes feel un-fabulous.
Over the years, I’ve learned that being excited about something, anything, can help me to keep pushing myself and to stay intentional about my training. Being intentional, or mindful, about training helps me to engage with the process, and to declutter my mind from other thoughts and issues that weaken my workout.
For example, I’m currently excited about the recent windfall of products Tony and I received from one of my favorite companies – Vega Sport.
I have been a Vega fan for sometime, because like me, they are free from gluten, dairy, and soy. Actually Vega is much more “free” from these products than I, but I do my best, and as some of you may know, bars, protein powder, and other training-friendly foods are often filled with one or more of said inflammation-causing ingredients.
So Vega is fabulous, and thanks to a recent gift from a Vega representative Jaclyn, I have been tinkering with protein, pre-workout, post-workout, and hydration supplementation.
The tinkering is fun, but more importantly it gets me excited about my training.
I wonder what will happen when I use a pre-workout supplement before I train. I pay close attention to my strength, which results in trying harder with heavier weight or a few more reps, because I’m curious about the benefits of the “hydrator” powder in my workout-water.
I’m more mindful about my appetite and how I feel after I train because I’ve enjoyed a post-workout protein bar (which is freaking delicious by the way). This helps me to notice how my body and mind respond to training, and to stay connected to my appetite and my energy level throughout the day.
The new products in my regimen encourage me to be mindful about how I feel, more aggressive with how I train, and more intentional at the gym, because they offer a fresh focal point. Having an intention and being mindful of that intention during a workout can enhance effort and improve performance.
A phenomenon first studied and described by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990), “flow” is the experience of being fully engaged in a goal directed activity.
If you are an athlete, or even just athletically minded, you are familiar with the flow state. In this zone, performance is optimal, focus is strong, and effort is at its apex.
Flow can be elusive, but if you can find one aspect of performance to focus on, if you can create a goal-directed intention, if you can get excited (!), then you can find your flow more consistently, and get the most out of your training.
Find your focal point. Identify an intention. Get excited to test out the effects of your newest playlist, or check out how you feel after pounding a super-big glass of water before starting to train.
Get excited to see how much stronger you might be after a big fat 9 hour stint of sleep, and sometimes just enjoy the regular-old, I-love-to-lift-heavy-things vibe that provides all the excitement needed.
Don’t take that for granted. Be mindful of it.
Think consciously about your movement and your exertion. If you have a hard time staying mindful of just these two things, bring in a new variable that you’re excited about, and use that to facilitate finding flow. No matter where you’re at with your training, there will always be some variable available for you to focus your intention, intensify your effort, and augment the “data” you collect after your workout.
So, big or small, what gets you excited? What variables get you more intentional about your intervals? More mindful about your max? More pumped about your… pump?
About the Author
Dr. Lisa Lewis is my girlfriend. She loves dead animal flesh, Sex in the City, our cat, and me! She’s also my best friend and obviously the coolest girlfriend ever (as apparent by the picture of her above chilling with a Jawa).