For many, working out is more than just lifting weights and sweating in a spin class. Fitness is therapy, and the gym can be a coping mechanism, a community and a place of empowerment. As part of Ryderwear’s support for R U OK? Day, we’ll be sharing mindfulness tips and techniques to benefit your physical and mental health, ensuring that training is something that continues to empower you and keep you optimistic through life’s ups and downs.
You’ve probably heard the word mindfulness a lot recently. In the world of fitness, athletes are adopting new ‘mindfulness’ techniques into their daily routines.
For lifters, we’ve been made to believe that the only way to get the most out of a training session is to consume as much protein and pre-workout as possible. While both of those will probably work physically, there is a whole other mental side that has the potential to elevate your workouts to the next level.
So what is mindfulness? Simply put, it’s the idea of being present and conscious of what is happening in the moment. Being aware of your surroundings, senses, feelings, and emotions.
In stressful day to day life that’s focused on the future, it can be difficult to keep present. Practicing mindfulness can instill healthy habits, not only in the gym, but in all aspects of your life. Living your best life includes finding balance, peace and confidence both inside and out of the gym.
What does this have to do with my squat PB you ask? Believe it or not, everything! Those same habits that you practice in everyday life can be used within your training routine too. Being more in tune with your body can lead to better mind-muscle connection when you’re training, or it can be the tool you use to keep motivated to wake up early every morning to go hard at a workout. It can even be there for when the negative thoughts cloud your judgement on your progress.
Mindfulness encourages you to become more aware of what you are trying to achieve with each set and rep. It encourages you to lift and train with purpose, making you more aware of your goals. It helps you visualise where you want to be with your gals, and in turn gives you the confidence and empowerment to get there.
Mindfulness looks different for everyone. For some it’s writing a daily journal, for others it’s setting mini daily goals, or even affirmations.
Our Ryderwear athletes swear by mindfulness, citing it as a vital aspect of their fitness loving lives. Take a peek at what they do to keep present.
Athlete Laura Darby uses meditation as her method of mindfulness, particularly when needing to get back on track.
“I love meditation and I practice it every day. It really helps quiet the mind to relieve stress, but it also helps get back on track with a positive mindset and positive energy, when you feel out of balance or in a negative space.”
Lifting king Arran Aro uses daily mantras and affirmations to ground himself.
“Reading a mantra in the morning. Asking myself three things I am grateful for. Thanking God/universe for each day. Reminding myself I get to do this everyday. I have to remember this journey, this life, is just an experience on earth as a human being.”
For Lauren Simpson, it’s all about routine. Practicing routine throughout her daily life means she can practice it during her workouts too.
“I am a very structured person and thrive off routine. I don't have any 'rituals' but my mornings are very much the same every day. I love my early mornings - I am most productive while I feel the rest of the world is still asleep. I have a coffee as soon as I wake up - sit on the lounge with my blanket and plan my day ahead. I have a big breakfast and do some laptop work/social media. I am up early but it's a really relaxed start to my day for the first few hours.”
Keeping thankful is the key for Melanie Machado!
“Every morning I lay in bed with my eyes closed and repeat 1-2 things I am thankful for. This keeps me reminded through the day, that no matter what roadblock I hit, I have those 2 things to be thankful for.”
Athlete Ariel Lynn also loves mediation, doing it daily along with walks helps keep her in the present. Doing this then gets her ready for her training!
“My morning routine has been a lifesaver as far as my mental health. I love waking up now because I practice 15 mins of meditation, drink water right away to rehydrate, read while I drink my coffee and take a short walk to start the day.”
Goal setting is what Shelby Pierce uses to keep her positive mindset in check!
“I start my day with five minutes of journaling. I lay out the intention for the day, three mini goals as well as I wrap it up at the end of the day and if there isn’t something I got done I mark it in the next morning! I strongly believe in resilience and I know there is always a way. I always am looking for some positive reads as well such as dare to lead which is my favourite right now! I’ll give it a 30 minute read at a time a few times per week am or pm!”
As Michael Wittig is a parent, he needs to schedule his time to make sure that nothing gets left behind, and this means being prepared. Being ahead ensures that he can be as present as possible.
“I always do today what will help me tomorrow. This may be as simple as setting out my breakfast bowl for oatmeal before going to bed, and packing my gym bag for the next day.”
Take it from some of our athletes! Mindfulness does work, and can be the key to getting those extra gains you’ve been working towards.
We’re pledging to continue the conversation on mindfulness, the gym and fitness, and how this can contribute to better mental health and living your best life.
For those who aren’t okay, we strongly encourage you to reach out to these services and make a positive change for your mental health.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
BeyondBlue: 1300 224 636
Headspace: 1800 650 890