Working Out With Intent

Living with intent. A popular phrase given the increasing emphasis on all things mind-body.
To me, it refers to a conscious focus to direct one’s mental energy and effort to whatever I’m doing – at work, home, leisure activities, and of course when I’m working out.

In this blog, I want to talk about working out with intent.
Consider what your focus is when working out. Do you want to just get it over with? Do you keep pushing your workouts down on your to-do list? Are your workouts about catching up with friends?

Or, do you look forward to your workouts as a time to energise, re-charge and feel strong? And, if those are your goals, do you feel that you achieve them?


Intention matters.

It determines the results you will derive from your efforts.
My emphasis here is on the quality of results that you can experience, for the body and the mind, when exercising with a focus on the work being done. As opposed to just going through the moves and getting it over with.
Irrespective of the workout format – slow or fast-paced, high intensity or meditative, group or private session – it is possible to direct intent and focus to your movements.


Mindfulness. To be in the moment

While working out, mindfulness refers to a body awareness that focuses on the mind-muscle connection during each movement. This leads to a dramatic increase in the quality of movement resulting in maximising results – physically and mentally. The added advantage is the decrease in stress on the body and reduced risk of injuries.

Often, to be self-driven and be able to create that degree of awareness can be challenging to sustain. Working out with an instructor who directs your focus on form, technique, and muscles working can be very beneficial.

I find clients enjoy the process of understanding how to workout with good form and using the correct muscle groups, rather than just going through the workout by rote. The purposefulness of their efforts appeals to them.  


Why is mindfulness elusive during our workouts?

Most people find exercising boring or a task that they would rather avoid or, if absolutely necessary, complete by just going through the motions.

Physical exertion is difficult. Hence, we look for distractions to get through it – focusing perhaps more on music, chatting with friends, thoughts of work or home.  Anything other than the workout!

Another important factor that leads to a lack of focus or boredom when working out, is that often the fitness program you are doing may not be the right one for you. All exercises or workouts do not work equally for all of us. What worked for someone else may not necessarily get you the same results.
If you have been consistent with a particular workout, given it the right focus and intent, and you still do not see results, it is time for a change.

Most importantly, we find it difficult to be self-aware and direct an inward focus. Even though in current times being mindful is an important need, it is far too easy to be distracted. And, truthfully most times we look for distractions!



Intention: mentally determining to act in a certain way.

Your approach and mindset will have a major impact on your results. If your efforts, during your workouts, lack intent then the most well-designed program is not going to ensure results.

Your quality of effort in every workout, defined by your focus and intent, is what will lead to results. That will ultimately add up to enable you to achieve your long-term goals.

Working out with intention is nothing but a sum of your attitude and effort. Remember to just be in the moment – in your next workout. And each one after that!

I believe even the most intense workouts done mindfully can have a therapeutic effect on the mind and body – a meditative feeling through movement. And that will lead to an energised, stronger, fitter you!

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