Wow. Been a while since I’ve been on here. Over a month. I gotta get back to being cool and talking about fitness, huh? I’ve gotten too happy with facebook live. Anyway, I gotta get back to why you guys clicked on this link. I’ve had people talk to me about “zoning out” during their workout. They like to just walk in the gym, not think about anything and just DO WORK! While this sounds like a great stress relief, there are a few things wrong with this approach, and some can be DETRIMENTAL to your workout. Looks like I’ll be explaining that here.
1. You Increase The Risk Of Injury
This doesn’t seem that obvious, I know. Here’s the thing. We “Zone Out” and we aren’t really focusing on what we are doing. With exercise and moving your body, this is no good deed. Let’s take a box jump for example. If we decide to just go ahead and do our metabolic conditioning with no focus of the box, or the muscles I’m using, eventually what will happen is my mind will kind of forget how high that box is, and… BOOM! Box to the shin, or worse, broken ankle, smashed face, etc. We can apply this to most exercises too. Heavy Deadlift? You’ll start rounding that back and all of a sudden, you won’t be able to stand up straight. TRX Chest Press? We don’t lock those shoulders down, and presto! Torn Labrum. You get my point. If we don’t focus on the task at hand, you’ll be more likely to forget what that actual task is, and how you accomplish it.
2. You DECREASE The Effectiveness Of Your Workout
Why would you want this to happen? Aren’t you going to the gym to get stronger? Are you hitting it three times a week to get in better shape? If you are, why would you NOT focus on what you are doing, and getting better at the movements? I suppose it’s acceptable to “Zone Out” on a treadmill(which I would still never use), but when you are heavy squatting, using battle ropes or swinging a kettlebell? HOW do you think you’ll get better? If you don’t FOCUS on the technique of each of these things, you won’t become better. If you have dysfunction in a pattern like the swing, and you throw more weight on there, you aren’t really getting better, you are just putting more weight on a faulty movement pattern. Let’s look at a pushup. I’ll see people in the gym doing their version of a pushup… one where they don’t have to think about it, but one in which their elbows flare out to 90 degrees, and their chest doesn’t go anywhere near the floor. This unfortunately will NOT build strength in a full range of motion, which will short change results they COULD be getting. People are willing to take this route because it’s easy, they don’t really have to focus, and they can brag about doing X amount of pushups or whatever exercise they choose. But it goes COMPLETELY against the reason they come to the gym in the first place: to get stronger, lose body fat, etc. They are missing out on results just so they don’t have to think or focus.
3. You Don’t Learn
If you aren’t all there when you step in to the gym, you won’t learn from your missteps. I was teaching a kettlebell swing and you can watch the swing and think force is generated from the arms, which it isn’t. If you aren’t paying attention to detail, and how the swing is a HIP HINGE, and all you look at is what the pattern of the bell looks like and what’s holding the weight, you’ll be sadly mistaken when you try to go up weight when you are doing a front lateral raise with 24kg, and can’t seem to move it. Something that should be easily adaptable is now very difficult, because you weren’t paying attention. If you don’t pay attention and “Zone Out”, you won’t be able to carry that over into workouts on your own, you’ll learn faulty movement patterns, decreasing the effectiveness of your workout, and increasing the possibility of injury. Now, that doesn’t sound like a ton of fun, does it?
What SHOULD you do? Well, for one, go into your workout with the attitude that you will be LEARNING SKILLS. Working out is essentially, practice. You practice movement skills, whether they be a deadlift, a pushup, movement in the TRX, a kettlebell movement, mobility or dynamic warm up drills. You are meant to get BETTER at them. The purpose isn’t just to have a “workout”. Don’t go in thinking it’s just about the “workout”. If that’s the case, then does it really matter what you do? If you aren’t going to work on doing pushups the right way, why do them? If you aren’t going to focus on getting better, why work out? WORK on the skill. Get better at the skill. Challenge The skill. Reap the Rewards of the Focus.