With its undeniable benefits, the concept of mindfulness has long been an alluring trend in the fitness industry. But perhaps now more than ever it is a concept that needs to be applied hand in hand with physical training activities.
According to a recent survey carried out by fitness training company The Training Room, personal trainers report an increase in the number of clients that battle with work-related stress and financial anxiety. It seems that mental health issues are on the rise & PT’s might just be the right people to help out!
Here are a couple of ways to create a more mindful fitness experience for your clients, whether you’re working on a 1-on-1 basis, or doing a group session:
1. Amplify the internal stimuli
Guide your clients to connect with – not distance from – pain. Remind them to breathe throughout the sets of exercise. Let them use each effort as a way to feel the tension passing through their muscles. At the session’s end, with a stronger body and a freer mind, they’d be appreciative of the cathartic experience.
Tip: Focus on the individual’s strength that is beyond him or her, that surpasses one’s expectations. We are all capable of more than we think we are: there’s more hidden potential within us that we could possibly grasp.
Inspo: The real transformation begins when we embrace who we are at this very moment as we are striving to better ourselves.
2. Simplify the external settings
Create an awareness of the external community that surrounds your clients. Whether you’re mixing and matching people to work out together in teams, or guiding them towards contemplating the world as they run to their limits on the treadmill: your role is to be their teacher.
Tip: Think of all the sedentary jobs throughout the world. So many people sitting in front of a screen all day long. Doing the commute seated among strangers, or getting stuck in traffic for hours a day. Make them forget about the busy work lifestyle and let them flow through the exercise cycle, bringing their attention to the idea of sharing the space with each other.
Inspo: We are bigger than ourselves. We connect to one another.
3. Signify the pursuit of a goal
Set goals at the beginning of a class or a sprint of classes. To make each class more meaningful, imply the significance of all the effort & suffering. The clichéd “no pain, no gain” won’t do it. Whether it’s tangible, such as the idea for a ‘beach body’ just in time for summer, or a long-term investment, much like the promise of increased longevity, a purpose will boost the level of involvement.
Tip: You can start by focusing on aspects you can point to: hips, core, shoulders, etc. Once you tie the visual aid to a health philosophy that encompasses the present moment – as much as any future promises – you’ll see the real change.
Inspo: The present moment is the only one we could ever truly be part of. But the actions we take now will echo throughout the rest of our life. The bigger the actions, the louder the echo.
4. Glorify the effort
Every change, no matter how small or significant, begins in the mind. There is a great quote by Thrive Magazine that perfectly sums up the importance of positive intention in the process of working towards a goal:
“A positive mindset will help you to create and nurture a healthy body, whereas a negative and critical mindset will affect your motivation to do the work necessary to make changes.”
Tip: Allow your clients to feel a little ego boost whenever they get it right. But focus on reinforcing team spirit in group sessions – rather than encouraging a competitive edge – and practice celebrating the success of others.
Inspo: Staying active, looking after the well-being of both your body and mind, embracing each next challenge wholeheartedly – feels good to replace the excuses with reasons, doesn’t it?!
5. Disqualify the online presence
True mindfulness begins when you can appreciate the present moment as it is, without any judgement or reservations. Since the phone acts as a physical separator of the ‘now’ and you, for the bigger part of the time its function is to distract and disrupt. There are, of course, a number of apps designed to do precisely the opposite: to bring your attention – from the many distractions – back to the present moment, where you can contemplate the meaningful bits of life. One of the most successful apps for mindfulness, Headspace, even boasts that “online mindfulness training does produce results similar to in-person training.” But we are talking about bringing the mindful attitude in the gym, after all!
Tip: Ban the phones. Allow your clients to feel their hands free of the burden of carrying a constantly buzzing with alerts and notifications phone. Award them with time to invest in growth. Let the gym become the place to let go of the phone and feel the energy rush as you test your body limits.
Inspo: An hour of uninterrupted mindful session at the gym equals unmissable glow for your next selfie with friends!