When people think “getting fit” one thing they often don’t think of is mental focus. Sure, you get that achieving your fitness goals will take a positive mental attitude and the drive to achieve your goals. But, do you think about a “clean” mind? A mind that is alert, and growing along with those biceps and shoulders? Do you think about the focus you can develop every day?
Well, the truth is that many people may make it to the gym every day, they may eat clean, but something is missing. That something might be energy and focus. Here are four suggestions to help you keep your mental alert flowing. We will address each in more detail as part of my Mental Focus Series. But, for now, here is your quick run-down:
Everyone knows that sleep is important, but how much sleep you get seems to be directly related to you. While some people need 8 to 10 hours a night, others may function well on 5 to 6 hours of sleep. There may not be a standard rule, but there are guidelines, and those guidelines often range from 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Another option, which may help those who can’t seem to find enough sleep is called polyphasic sleeping. Polyphasic sleeping is splitting up your sleeping habits in small blocks throughout the day. The belief is that these short bursts of sleep, over time, will eventually allow your body to embrace deep sleep benefits that take hours to achieve at night. In addition, you are replenishing your energy more often, which also appears to work to the body’s benefit.
However you choose to sleep, finding the number of hours that work for you is necessary. Whether you sleep eight hours at once, split up six hours over a 24-hour day, or sleep five hours at night and two hours in the afternoon there is a sleep schedule and requirement that will work for your body. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you.
The quick meditation
Did you know that even 15 minutes of meditation every day will provide benefits to your overall health? You can meditate pretty much anytime of the day and for however long works for you. Like anything it is consistency over time that builds the greatest strength. Meditation helps you by:
I’m sure you’ve heard someone say they are an excellent multi-tasker. But, the fact is, multi-tasking does not actually exist. Multi-tasking is performing several tasks at the same time. People who insist they are great at multi-tasking are starting and stopping tasks multiple times and often in a short period of time. Think of the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Sure, you might be performing or going through the actions, but are you really performing all of those actions well?
Learning to finish one project before moving onto the next will not only ease your routine, but will also allow your mind to focus on one task enabling you to perform better. Many “multi-taskers” don’t believe this is an option. The truth is, they may be afraid that it is an option.
When you are feeling a little drowsy it’s easy to reach for that cup of coffee, or that energy drink. But, that may not be the best way to stay alert. From headaches to caffeine withdrawal to inability to sleep, too much caffeine can cause all sorts of problems. Instead, try a quick 5-minute workout. Squats, pullups or a favorite air boxing routine are great ways to get the blood flowing in your body and bring alertness back to your mind. This not only improves your mental focus, but also burn a couple extra calories and you must love that.
Keeping your mental focus up is how you maintain motivation. Consider your willingness to hit the gym when you are tired compared to when you are awake. These are just a few potential steps to improve your performance at work, school, and home. The better you feel the better you do!
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Tobias Young is an IFBB pro and top tier online fitness coach with over 19 years of fitness industry experience.