One of the things that I love about working out is that it puts me in a state of, what I call, active meditation. This is not meditation where you sit with your legs crossed in a candlelit room as you hum to yourself. This is very different. Active meditation is the same as being” in the zone.”
Whenever you see someone who is “in the zone”, they have reached a point of central focus where only the task at hand is recognized by their brain. All other thoughts are pushed out. I get this way when I train hard and push myself . It happens when levels of concentration are at their highest.
This happens when I am mountain biking. Your cranking hard and focused on the trail ahead of you. Constantly on alert and processing information at high speed. You only see the trail ahead and your only thoughts are what line to follow. When you finally come to a stop it’s like you just came out of a time warp.
The same goes for squatting or bench pressing. All thought and energy go toward lifting the weight. Your not thinking about other things in your life like your bills or your schoolwork or your girlfriend. All of that is flushed out. There is no multi-tasking going on. One pure single thought.
In between some grueling sets of squats you are resting up. You are getting ready for your next set. It may be 3 or 4 minutes where you are just standing there. First, breathing a little heavy. After a minute your breathing slows down. As your body prepares to hit it again you may find yourself in another form of meditation. You actually start to turn the concentration you had toward completing the lift inward toward yourself. You start to reflect upon yourself.
Again, there are no other thoughts occurring. It’s a pure thought process where you take stock of……..well, you. In other words you are not hearing a lot of “chatter” in your head. You are now priming yourself to complete the next task at hand.
If the guy next to you is thinking about ten different things going on in his life and none of them about the weight or the lift and you are focused on only the lift, you will do better than him. He is distracted , you are focused. He is allowing these distracting thoughts to not only sap away mental energy but also to break his concentration. You on the other hand are locked in and as your rest period ends and its time to get under the bar this self reflection begins to turn outward again toward the task at hand.