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Friday, September 28, 2012

Another Reason to Work Out

Exhale, lift, squeeze, hold, release, inhale, pause....

I was so lost in my meditative state, mid bicep curl, I didn't even notice a friend standing a mere few feet behind me, waving for my attention. 

This is why working out is my escape. 

The mind-body connection is, undoubtedly, highly important to pay attention to in order to avoid injury when lifting weights, but often overlooked is its incredibly centering, calming and empowering potential. It is meditation in motion with an added muscle-challenging intensity.

There are many things that drive my work outs and I've touched on them more than once throughout my relatively young blog. I've gone over why I choose not to work out for the calorie-burning effect, the amazing bond shared in a group fitness class, and the joys of trying something new, among other reasons. This reason is more quiet and strength driven. 

When I train clients, I try my best to make sure they understand the reasons for why they are performing a certain exercise. I don't care so much that they can lift something up and put something down- that's all well and good, but we'd both be doing each other a great disservice if I were just being paid to watch that happen. 

I want clients to understand what muscle they are working and why it matters. I want them to focus on the contraction and relaxation of the muscle fibers and mentally hone in on the firing of the nerves. I want them to not only strengthen their skeletal muscle, but their mind-body connection muscle as well. Working out then becomes a total experience.

Within the 24 hours of our day, there is already far too many actions that we mindlessly move through the motions of. Most of our days are spent on autopilot as we repeat the same things, follow the same schedules and carry out the same tasks, day in and day out. Personally, I believe we can all benefit from daily practice of being in the moment, even if only for a few minutes at a time. 

It would all do us good to learn to slow everything down and just breathe. 

But, I get a lot of scoffs when I try to get people to actually take time to sit. And breathe. and do nothing else. 

Sometimes, I don't even have the patience for that. 

So this is my alternative when I'm not trying my darndest to practice seated meditation. 

Exhale, lift, squeeze, hold, release, inhale, pause....

Strengthening my mind as I strengthen my body with every rep, every set, every workout. 

There's nothing like it. 


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