I am going to tell you a little story. Last week I walked into to my school gym to find it filled to the brim with too many sweaty people. There was no room for little me, and no mat that I could see, feeling a little confined and frustrated I thought to myself, "fine, it's a nice day. I will run outside". And with that I headed for the great outdoors. I ended up running about 18 miles in about 3 hours, but I am not totally sure because I don't like to keep track of time and numbers.
If you didn't catch it in the last sentence, I will let you know, that the secret to becoming a better all-around athlete is to lose track of time, and any number that goes along with working out. That includes a number of reps you do, amount of weight you lift, distance you run, speed you run, length of your workout. Getting stronger, and building endurance doesn't need to correlate with numbers because of the magic of the human body. For the most part, our bodies are self-regulating, regenerating, and incredibly adaptable and smart. You don't need the numbers because, if you're like me, numbers just make things messy. Our ancestors, who have for the most part the same bodies as us, use to run for miles and miles without stopping to catch their food. They weren't cause in a crazy numbers game because they were just trying to live. I think it is important to start thinking a little more like them. We are all for the most part 100% capable of becoming better athletes because it's in our blood. We are made to move, made to function, and made to sweat, so lets sweat more.
I stared, without really knowing I was doing it, practicing mindfulness and meditation about a year ago when I started consistently working out every day. Though numbers still plagued the way I saw and valued food, the dissociation with numbers in my workouts really started to change the way I viewed working out and the body. Ultimately, the lessons I've learned from practicing both mindfulness and meditation have truly changed my life, and I think, I could help likeminded and open people start to enjoy their body, brain, and life more.
Here is my first tip to detaching from the numbers in your workout
One of the best tips I can give is to listen to music. Music can help to create a vastly more fun environment to workout in. So dive into the endless number of songs and albums that are out there, and find what works best for you. I've found, for myself, I can listen to almost anything at the gym, but the songs I listen to at the gym have a commonality in their complexity. Whether it be a complicated and intriguing structure, a complex beat or rhythm scheme, or an incredible guitar solo. I like these songs because it takes my mind off the actual exercise I am doing, and I get to focus on the music.
Music is also a huge help in getting away from the numbers. A tip for your next exercise. Instead of counting how many crunches you do, or setting a specific number of arm curls to get to, choose a good song with a fast and apparent beat. And instead of counting aim to do whatever reps of your specific workout for the entire duration of the song. Try your best to get lost in the song, or better yet, intently focus on your specific muscle movement. Try and pinpoint what muscles you are predominantly using to move your body. Separate what is going on in the surrounding environment (probably a noisy gym), and focus on your bodies internal environment. Ask questions about your own body and how it works in a given workout or stretch, and then try to answer your own questions. This helps build familiarity with your own body, and eventually, you start to understand your body as a sort of map of answers.
Once the song is done take a stretching break, and listen to music that is soothing to your ear, and sometimes it helps if you listen to a song with a slower beat while you stretch.
Why I think music is so important to working out is the fact that your resting heart picks up the song's beat, and fascinatedly enough starts to beat in time with the rhythm. The heart, and the act of and use of breath are two essential parts to becoming a better endurance athlete. From experience, you can reset and change your heart rate by using your own breath. When breathing is mastered, working out becomes a lot easier.
That's all from me today! I will talk about breathing next time. Thanks for reading