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Mental distractions when training


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Hello everybody!

I was thinking about all those small and sometimes big everyday problems and conflicts that occur, and how to deal with them so they dont destroy your workouts and zap your energy.

I have noticed that when I have something on my mind that bothers me I seem to perform terrible in my workouts. My energy also goes down and I sometimes lose my appetite just because I have difficulty letting some things off my mind.

I remember Arnold saying that he trained himself to be rather cold to the things that happens to him in everyday life so it doesnt have an impact on his training. "If someone steals my car right outside my window, I dont caaaaare, I cant be bothered with it." <--- Quote with Arnold dialect :)

I need some help and learn some tricks to avoid getting all stressed when these things occur. I am very bad at it right now. I just cant get stuff out of my mind sometimes. What do you do? Any experience?

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Well, here goes 15 years of meditation and the cultivation of awareness into a Gripboard post…

   There’s plenty of thing in this world that mess with your head.  Some can indeed be so bad that they interfere with your work outs.  There are three ways to deal with these out side stressors.


   1).  The negative way:  Let it jostle you about, bruising your ego, wracking your mind, distracting you, making it impossible to concentrate on your work out.

   2).  The very un-health personal favorite:  When I get my ass chewed by my boss’s boss, (near weekly) I go straight to the weight room for a few sets of heavy squats.  I focus my anger and let it motivate me to new levels of intensity.  When you’re done, you’re so exhausted and high, you don’t really care about the issue.

   3).  The final is using awareness to manifest a more positive mind state:  When bad stuff happens that get’s you all worked up, it’s natural to respond to it in a very emotional way.  That’s fine.  It’s healthy.  What is neither fine nor healthy, is when you continue carrying it with you all day, turning it over and over in your head.  

    The best way to overcome these troubles, is to stop, sit down and relax.  Eyes open or closed, it doesn’t matter, just sit down and take a few deep breaths, being aware of your body.  Now, focus your attention to the present moment.  You are here and now, yet your mind is still stuck in the past, on a past even, trying to re-live and rationalize the event.  This is a very negative place to live (in the past) as it is un-productive and cultivates very negative mind states and can even detract from your physical health.  (Stress hormones force your body into a catabolic state)

    Once you focus your attention to the here and now, understand your problem/stressor from your current perspective, but look at it with a logical mind.  Understand it, and see if you can do anything about it.  99% of the time, we can’t do a thing about it.  There is nothing I can do if my boss’s boss chews my ass for a solid hour.  1% of the time, our worries may be necessary, as we will identify a way to solve our problem.  

   If we have to pay a late bill, and we don’t get paid for 5 days, what use is stressing out over your situation?  Just relax, train hard, and wait 5 days.  On the other hand, if the wife is pissed off at you, perhaps you shouldn’t be training right now, and should be with her.  Just understand if you can or can’t do anything about it.


    Summed up:  Before you train, sit down and relax, be aware of your breathing.  Focus you mind away from the past, and be aware of the present moment.  When you are aware of “now” and can examine your problem with a calm clear mind, your problems won’t seem as big.  Now crush, grip, and pinch to your heart’s content.

    Also, if you sit and gain an awareness of your breath through out the day, it will greatly reduce your stress and will result in a much calmer mind.  Try relaxing and watching your breath a few times a day, and notice the change in your entire life.

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I take all the negative stress and turn it in to postive stress. I work with thugs, drug dealers, rappist, and killers. I hear a lot and see a lot of evil things. Some days body hits the floor (my favorite part of the job ) but it does take a mental toll. So when I come home I go into my dungeon or my shed of pain and lift, grab, bend, and break everything in sight. After that I am fine. I used to coach football, wrestling, track, and weightlifting and was blessed with many championships. Only losing about 10 times in all the sports added together over a 7 year span. With this in mind, I had to climb inside of these kids head, more than training their bodys. One tip I used is Muhammed Ali said when he was a kid he wanted a bike. His mother told him that if he would get a job and make the money for it he could buy it. So he did and he bought the bike. One day he rode he bike to the store where he worked at and parked the bike out back. When he finished he went out back to ride his bike home and it was gone. To make a long story short Ali said that he kept that feeling in the ring. He said that everyone in the ring was the person who stole his bike. Look what it did for him. So I tried it with my kids. Wow! it would be an onslaught most of the time. It was a blessing from God watching these kids battle and end up at the end of the year with medals around their necks and championship trophies lifted high. I think of my father leaving the family when in was born. Issues can be used in a postive way, but do not make them your life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They will destory you and make you have a bad day. I hope I have helped.

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The gym is a special place.  It is sacred-an asylum for those of us that have a few screws loose and enjoy pain, blood, sweat, and tears.  If you own your own gym-it is that much more special and that much more sacred.

I have strict rules when it comes to my Temple.  I do not tolerate any distractions once I shut the door behind me.  I accept no phone calls-regardless of who it is.  I accept no vistors-regardless of who it is.  My family knows this and punishment is swift for those who break the rules.  The kids know-do not bother Rick when he is lifting unless it is an emergancy.  What's an emergancy?  Someone is dead.  Cold?  yep-but I dont care.  When I walk into my gym-I take a nice long deep breath.  I smell the Icy Hot, the cold steel, the dirt, the rust, the sweat.  Any and all concerns are gone instantly.  For that hour, I have no problems.  My life is perfect-I have no family, no house, no bills, no dogs-I have me, and the weights.

This is one of the reasons I perfer to train alone.  Training partners can be good for motivation but look at all the baggage they bring with them.  If they are having a bad day, a fight with their wife, kids, bad day at work-they are sick, late, early-it all interupts you and causes a little bit of distraction to you.  And I am most important to me when I am training.

We have a pool in the back yard.  It becomes the community pool in the summer with all the neighbor kids and relatives coming over to cool off.  I have a huge window in my garage that faces the pool.  One day, during a party for my youngest step-son, I was trying to do squats.  Try being in the hole with 500 and having little kids running back in forth past the window.  It sucked.  I flipped-got black spray paint-and coated the window several times.  The wife was pissed-but I could train in peace!  

My wife always says I care only about myelf.  Well-for the few hours a day that I am training-it is true.

I guess what I am saying is nothing should distract you from training with 100% intensity.  If you cant shake your problem-you are better off going home.  Going through the motions is pointless.  

Rick Walker  


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Curtains would have required leaving to get them and then taking the time to hang them.  I had 2 cans of spray paint in a cupboard in the garage.  The spraying took 5 minutes and I was back to squatting.

Squat first-think later


Rick Walker :hehe

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I guess what it realy comes down to is finding out who you realy are, your real self. i have read alot of books by Arnold, and Bruce Lee. i used to read and think, man, if only i was like them. if only i could have their outlook. well- it took man years to find out that i am not Arnold, or Mr. Lee. you see Arnold was able to be cold, be like that. it was in his personality allready! while going from childhood to adulthood we all have things happen to us that mold our personality. he had it in him to focus to the point that to some he came across cold. this is great! but, only for Arnold. i could try to be like others, and try to have there outlook. this can be a positive thing. i also have to realize that i am me also. you mite be a person who can say #### on it. im only thinking of me during this training sesion, and be able to focus and come out on top. others feelings mite not matter to you during this time. if this works- fine. i know that for me, it will actualy bring my training down if i know i have put myself before someoneelse to the extent of coming across cold. i have to not only train hard, but, be a gentleman also. now this is me- not everyone. and i dont believe you have to be cold to be come out in the end. finding out who you realy are will help a great deal! maybee breathing is all you need. maybee forgetting it all and saying #### on it im looking out for me, is the only way you can train. maybee getting things in your life taken care of first will bring better results in the gym.

Each one of us is a unique person molded by  the life we have lived here on earth. we all respond differntly to things, and need a certin mindset to train  good. we can all see results from the same excersise, ( such as a strap hold, or negitives). but, we cannot all see results from one mindset! we each need our own outlook on life and training to ultimitly get to where we are going!  :D

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Thank you all, those are some intelligent and very philosofical posts, just like I wanted  :p

Getting to know yourself and develop yourself as a person and what works for you mentally is real good advice. The breathing thing also is great. I guess I spend too much time trying different routines and finding out what works for me training-wise and tend to forget what works mental-wise.

Very funny story Rick Walker! I have also had similiar "problems" when training :) Feels good to know I am not the only one  :p

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