Mental Focus: The 7 Keys To Concentration
Written by Peter C. Siegel, R.H.
I see it every day at Gold’s, Venice – the varying degrees of commitment and mental involvement people have with their workouts.
Some there enjoy the social aspects – doing one set and then engaging prolonged non workout related conversations with friends and acquaintances. Some are there to do a “gossip workout”; their focus is more-so upon judging and giving commentary about the people they see, expressing their “enlightened” viewpoints about the others around them. Some will do a “half-assed set” workout; they’ll get easily distracted by a celebrity actor or pro athlete they see — or some chick sporting pronounced cleavage, or a “cheek enhancing” thong. (BTW – I see the latter occurring a lot!)
Then, there are the serious ones – the ones who either, training alone or with a dedicated partner, stay continually (wholly) focused and involved with their workout each rep of every set.
You see’em with their ipod earphones in place, and a look of intense drive and conviction upon their faces. You see’em barking at their training partners to do “One More Forced Rep!” – and them helping their partner do this. (Then, the partner does the same for them.)
They seem distant, dis-connected from all others and all other things. They seem as if in their own little worlds where exertion, energy, power and sustained emotional force are the only elements engaged, and acknowledged.
They, unequivocally, are also the biggest, strongest, and most muscular people in the gym. (Hmmm…can you say “degree of Mental Focus directly influences degree of muscular development”? It does!)
Wholly mobilizing and channeling your mental power is literally a key factor to generating maximum exertion, maximum contraction, and sustained effort intensity. Arnold alluded to this when he’d relate how he was able to push himself through higher and higher pain barrier thresholds. Platz alluded to it when he related how he’d “fry his sinews to the bone” during squats or leg extensions. And more recently, Victor Martinez, as I worked extensively with him before his conclusive win at the ’07 Arnold Classic, repeatedly told me how he felt like he could mentally infuse much more power into the specific muscle he was training. He said the strengthened Mental Focus he experienced through our hypnosis sessions was a key factor in this (success enhancing catalyst) occurring for him.
Hey – if you’re interested in being a gym socialite, celebrity seeker, or cleavage “observer”, stop reading this article now. If you’re someone interested in cultivating and applying the Mental Focus which magnifies workout performance, and leads to increased growth and power, feast then upon the following instructions.
The Elements Of Invincible Mental Focus
First, a brief metaphor: When you hold a magnifying glass at a certain strategic distance, you can concentrate the sun’s energy to such a lasered degree, you can burn a hole through wood. The slightest variance of that strategic distance (up or down), and the sun’s energy is diffused, and then holds no “burn through” power.
Your mental images, intent and purpose are the “magnifying glass” – and your mind power is the “sun”…got it! Yes? Ok then, here are the 7 factors you can now apply to become a laser force of channeled mental power.
1.)Determine The Gym Is A Work Place: Your primary (hopefully exclusive) purpose is to go the gym to train – and train with a vengeance, a passion and commitment unlike you ever have before. Indeed, this is your purpose and your mental intent workout after workout!
2.)While In The Gym, Decide Your Workout Related Efforts Are The Most Important, Meaningful And Significant Activities To You; No Exceptions: Not prolonged bullshitting with friends. Not being a workout advice and counsel “life coach”. Not being a “people watcher”. But being a set/rep exertion dynamo strictly focused upon building muscular size and power!
3.)Know Exactly What Body Parts You’ll Be Training, And What Your Workout (For That Particular Day) Will Consist Of…Before You Get Into Your Car To Drive Off To Your Gym: Then, while at your gym, after your warm-up – dive right into your intended, pre-set workout plan fully, and completely.
4.)Peak Performance Workout Memory Reinforcement: About one hour before you leave for your workout (while in your home only) lie comfortably upon your back, let your eyelids close down, and take 3 l-o-n-g, d-e-e-p breaths. And then, recall the very last workout where you were training the same body part you will in your upcoming workout – and you were totally locked in, energized, lasered and driven.
Once recalled, then, imaginatively step into this peak performance workout memory, and into your body. Then, mentally perform 2 sets of this workout — deeply feeling the exertion and contraction of each rep of each set (the more you do this the more life-like decisive and definitive the physical counterparts, and feelings connected to this visualization will become for you!)
Then, determine a “laser, locked-in” key word for yourself (i.e., Force, Power, Drive, Locked, etc.), and mentally exclaim this key word to yourself 3 consecutive times. This establishes a neural link between you mentally exclaiming your key word, and your subconscious naturally generating the same inner dynamic that existed during your actual peak performance workout. (Be sure to use the same key word each time you perform this factor #4, regardless of the body part you visualize yourself performing.)
5.)Before You Engage Each Set Of Your Actual Workout, Mentally (Silently) Emotionally Exclaim Your Chosen Key Word Two Times Consecutively: Then begin, and continue on with your set. If at any time during your set you may feel or sense your focus lessening (or wandering)…immediately mentally, emphatically exclaim your chosen key words 2x consecutively again! This will serve to bring your focus lasered right back upon your specific task involvement (i.e., your totally locked in exertion during your set).
6.)During The Positive And Negative Phase Of Each Rep Your Perform, Keep Your Awareness Wholly Directed Upon, And Within, The F-e-e-l-i-n-g And Sensation Of The Specific Muscle You’re Training, While You Train It: Feel the specific muscle you’re working exerting, contracting, heating up – and exertion sensations magnifying as you progress through your set. Keep your focus locked-in upon this…and this only!
7.)Pre-Sleep Mind/Muscle Connection Reinforcement: Each night, before you let yourself drift off to sleep, I want you to subconsciously “communicate” with the body part(s) you trained that day.
Lying upon your back, with your eyelids closed down, mentally go into the muscle(s) you trained, and “talk to it/them”. Yes, talk to it/them like a “boss” who was wholly pleased with the way his “employee” busted his ass in striving to increase “corporate gains”. Feel energy flowing into that muscle (or muscles), mental nourishment flowing into that muscle (or muscles), and decided emotional power flowing into that muscle (or muscles), as you “speak to it/them”.
And be sure to “tell it/them” what you expect of it/them, why you know it/they can continue to grow and improve, will continue to grow and improve, and what kind of performance and improvement you expect from it/them the next time you’ll train it/them. And then, tell it/them to now completely relax, turn loose, and prepare for full and thorough recovery through your quality night’s sleep.
Then, let your mind turn loose, and allow yourself to drift off into a deep and restful slumber.
Apply factors 1-7 (as outlined) and you too will start generating invincible workout laser focus. And always remember: A champion becomes a champion through exerting the discipline to remain mentally strong, mentally tough, and locked in upon a singular purpose…until he comes to prevail!
Through applying steps 1-7, this same mentality can come to reside, and unfold, within you!