Barbell Shrugged

Increase your focus and performance in the gym

Doug Larson

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  • Great article. Not only applicable to the gym but to life in general. A great reminder to focus on one thing at a time given how hectic life can be. Thanks for the article guys.

  • It sounds like a good article but I don’t get it. When I train I go in a Zone automatically , where I don’t have space for other thoughts to break in. That’s why I love to train and compete because you forget about everything else. It’s like meditation. And it’s the same for everybody I know that love to train. We are always focused, sometimes training it’s harder sometimes it’s easier. But when we workout WE WORK OUT!
    If somebody need some motivation he would be better off with a trainer.

    • Max, this isn’t true for everyone. I’m not sure of your age and what not, but if you added in a stressful full-time job, multiple kids, maybe multiple sports, whatever, things can start to get intense. If you’re 18, 19….22, it’s a nice time. Enjoy yourself. However, if you’re in your late 20’s, 30’s, 40’s…things will compete for your attention in intense ways.

    • Hey Max– Sounds like you already do a good job staying focused and really enjoy your training. Everybody is different and some people have more on their plate than others, so a quick reminder to be aware of one’s thoughts while in the gym is sometimes needed. And high-level athletes are trying to juggle an awful lot and it is easy for their minds to slip if they are not aware of it happening. It sounds very simple but even the best of us get distracted some time.

  • Great article!
    I like Max use to be able to do that… However, I’m now 24 going on 25. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I’m a junior at BYU-I along with my wife. We both work 20-40 hours a week. And I’m trying to start my own online training busines.
    It’s darn near impossible for me to go in the gym and be focused anymore. Even a year and a half ago, or 5 years ago when I was playing football it was easier for me to be focused than it is now. So for me this article is on point.
    Thanks so much guys! Love the info, love Barbell shrugged! Keep at it!

    • Thanks for the comments, Joseph. I’m not a physiologist, but from my perspective, even 30 focused minutes in the gym is better than a distracted 60 minutes. Keep at it– while I can’t say it gets easier, I can say that it gets worse if you neglect this side of your life. Best of luck!

  • Awesome! loved this article. really reinforced being present in the moment. Cant be surfing or spearfishing thinking about other stuff in my life!

    • Thanks for all the responses
      I understand your point : stress is crawling on you to the point you can’t breath , you don’t know if you will pay your bills, you don’t know if your business is going to fail, your relationship is a battlefield and you have a baby on your shoulder.

      That’s why training is so important. if you can’t run from your problems it’s better to stand still and in the process liting some heavy barbell. Training is where you leave all this caos Out. I don’t know how other stuff can bother you when you are perfoming your 1RM . or you are in the middle of Linda.If you listen to your body and feel your body under a really heavy HIIT there is a moment where the credit card negative numbers will disappear. I look for that all the time. And if a negative thought come to my mind I Press it out.I mean if something really bad happen to you of course i won’t concentrate( i don’t even no why are you in the gym instead of resolve your problem) but everyday of living has no space when I train.
      I’m sorry if I’m offending somebody but if you can’t concentrate when you are training is because you are not training hard enough to beat your thoughts

      • Your not offending anyone. I just think that, in a few years, you’re going to understand exactly what we’re talking about in this article. Perhaps your 30 year old self will remember and come back here to comment. Enjoy the ride, it’s part of the fun.

        • Chris I’m 39 and I live in a Broken Down Economy,SPAIN, where people earn 1000 $ a month , 25% un-employment rate and i’m an expat. So things are pretty hard but train it will be always Fun . It has to be!
          Anyway I love your blog and especially your Channel thanks!

          • Thanks, Max.

            What do you do there? Possible to maybe test waters elsewhere? Just curious. Thanks for the note, dude. Chris

          • I think the article was great, in my opinion it is important to remind yourself to focus on one task at a time whenever you can. Taking the time to make the list, or using some other method can really help you to focus. Like you Chris I live in Spain, I coach at a box in Barcelona, Crossfit Poblenou. People here are having a hard time, however if they bring their problems with them into the gym and into their training, it will neither help them solve their problems or improve their training.

  • Glad its not just me that struggles with focus (34, 3 kids, director of a company and struggling crossfitter/weightlifter). I do enjoy reading comments from people who appear to be machines of laser-like intensity in the gym. Try doing that when you smell of puke from an ill kid and have had 3 hours sleep!

  • GREAT article. Thank you for writing and posting. I enjoyed it and this helps me to work harder on my mental game; my weakest link!

  • Increasing your focus can also relate to your fitness goals. If you are not meeting your goals in the time scale you had planned then you will need to increase your focus and if you wanted to lose a certain amount of pounds you will need to increase your performance. I can agree with you when you say “You must shift from thinking that doing more is better, to thinking that doing better is better.” People think that doing more exercising – cardio/weights in the gym is better but to me I don’t think it is. Just doing better with the whole workout is what you need. There is many distractions in the gym, I know I get distracted sometimes when working out I will glance over at what others are doing and I will loose focus. Also music in the gym has an impact on your workout, songs that are upbeat will get you hyped up for the workout.

  • Great post focus is so important!! I definitely feel much more accomplished after being really “there” during my workout, instead of my mind racing towards what I’m gonna have for dinner haha. Plus then it almost feels like meditation! I’ve tried a lot of things to help me stay focused, but I recently started this supplement called Brain Boost and it’s totally helped my attention and focus! I would genuinely recommed it to anyone who is not stellar at focusing and wants to improve! O heres the link too

  • Lenny…you are extremely correct. I have found that intense focused training with weights and cardio is far more successful and produces results faster then long workouts. When you focus on your workout…every muscle fiber is being stressed to the max capacity resulting in amazing and over the top results. You become more fatigue because of the stress and workload that exhausts your body and mind. The same goes for cardio. It is better to do 15 1 min sprints and in between 1 min walks to stress the fat cells and shock the body at an intensity that immediately shreds the fat!!! More is not better, quality equals results!!!

    Kevin Michels, RN, BSN, CCRN, TNCC

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