The Importance of the “Now” in Working Out

In general, people tend to do things while hoping to see the result instead of enjoying the process. As this occurs the mind often jumps ahead and while it may appear to be focused, it is actually distracting itself from paying attention to the details along the way, which ironically, was key in helping make the goal plausible in the first place.

Therefore, a constant awareness of the “now” needs to be taken into consideration at all times, even when working out. Not only will this help improve your workouts, but it will be a long-life practice that will benefit both your body and mind for many days to come!

Take running for example. If you start out your day telling yourself that you want to run a 5K, but at 2K find yourself feeling exhausted and overwhelmed as to how you will finish the other 3K, bring your attention back to the breath at the current moment and retain focus. Every time your mind becomes distracted over the goal rather than each step in the “now”, bring your awareness back to the “now” breath and keep going. You will see a big difference!

Or how about when you are lifting weights? If you catch yourself lifting something heavy and can only think about the end result, put your awareness back to each step throughout the lift, such as a bicep curl. For the curl, be very attentive to each part. Before you know it, the curl will be done and you will probably notice that because you weren’t just trying to go from point A to C without focusing on B that the overall curl will be more smooth. Actually, I suppose rugged would be a better word considering the ripped biceps you’ll get from this technique!

Why is this important? Well, for starters. your body will naturally adjust itself to be accustomed to each step rather than overwhelmed to do something that it ordinarily thought was not possible. As you take each step in your run, to you, it will be a new and fresh step, just as it was when you took the first step in the run. This will help you stay fresh and energetic throughout the run, and will greatly help you make it through the whole process. Believe me, it’s a lot more useful and effective than cursing and panting the whole time as you think to yourself “Am I almost there yet? Where is the 5K mark!?”

This concept may seem contradictory to people who believe that keeping the finish line in mind is the way to stay motivated. Of course, maintaining that goal or destination or whatever you want to call it is necessary and fuels the fire, but has anyone addressed the process by which we could reach that goal in a healthy and sane manner? The now approach for working out does just that and when complimented with patients and perseverance produces magical results.

Next time you work out, whether it be running or lifting etc., try this practice and let yourself sink into each now moment of the process. After all, what else is reaching a goal rather than a set of processes that are made up of continuous “nows”?

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