Attention is Key

Hey all, Coach Keith here!

I’m here to talk to you about attention.

As someone with ADHD, attention is a topic that has been a big part of my life for a long time. I have been on a journey to wrangle my attention and channel it for progress in life. I believe that one’s attention is perhaps the greatest weapon any of us have when it comes to our ability to succeed and even go above and beyond what we usually are capable of. Today, I’d like to share with you how attention specifically can change your experience in the gym.

As a coach for many of you, I have seen the bigger picture regarding people's path to improving technique throughout their fitness careers.

First comes basic instruction on technique and safety. From rep one of a new movement to rep one hundred, I see you gradually get the hang of it. Next comes optimization: I get to help you tighten up any inefficiencies in your movement, be it timing the unlocking of the elbows on a power clean, reminding you to breathe correctly, or telling you to push your knees out on a squat for better mechanics.

At some point, though, you have made it. You’ve got the movements down, and I can take my eyes off
you and help others make that same climb. However, you’re not entirely done. There's always more weight
to add to the bar and more reps to complete in a workout. Unfortunately, muscles don’t grow stronger
in minutes, so how will you squeeze more performance out with what you have available right now? How do you push your body and mind to its limits?

  • Focus.
  • Be present.
  • Attention is key.

Your body is an incredible machine. An interesting fact about it is that your muscles are more
powerful than they appear to be in general use. Your nervous system limits the amount of strength
you use through your feelings of pain or fatigue that it produces. There are ways of pushing these
limits just a little bit with some well-placed attention.

The next time you go for a big lift or a difficult rep, here’s what I want you to do. Reflect on the past few
attempts. Ask, “Where do I feel like I’m lagging a little behind on my form?” or “What part
of this movement do I want to get right?”. If you can’t answer those questions immediately, that’s
okay; you’ve got us coaches ready to help. Once you’ve got that answer, give as much attention as possible to nailing that specific part of the movement. I promise that if you do so, your next try will be better than you could have ever done. You’ll see and feel the results of putting your attention in the right place.

Now get out there and show me what you’re capable of!