It’s quite difficult to stay in the present moment. Even outside of the gym or studio, our brains like to toggle between past-mind and future-mind.
And for our students, working out is often accompanied by difficult thoughts and emotions: frustration over not seeing changes quick enough, or thoughts of being “less than” or “not enough” when compared to other people in the gym. All of these thoughts and emotions can make our students and personal training clients want to check out of the present moment.
So how can you tell when when it’s time to weave in mindfulness to your programming?
That “million miles away” stare is a sign your client’s brain is caught up in the past or future, perhaps ruminating over a conversation with a coworker earlier that day or planning out their trip to the grocery store after class.
Here are some additional signs your students might benefit from mindfulness training:
- They’re having trouble following your directions.
- They seem bored or are just going through the motions of a workout.
- They are easily frustrated, quick to give up, and perceive minor set-backs as failures.
- They seem distant and distracted. You can tell their mind is elsewhere as you’re teaching.
They’re not trying to be “difficult” students.
From an evolutionary perspective, a busy brain has been very helpful over the ages. A brain that’s always thinking one step ahead or plotting for the worst case scenarios, is just trying to look out for us. But in a modern-day Zumba or BodyPump class, we don’t need our minds to be working overtime.
Any of the previous scenarios, or direct feedback from your clients that they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, is a good time to integrate mindfulness into your fitness programming.
There are many benefits to incorporating mindfulness into your group fitness classes and personal training programming. Here are three big ones.
Mindfulness can help….
Improve focus and concentration. Students who are present and not distracted can catch detailed nuances in choreography and they don’t get as flustered when they make mistakes. They are able to follow along with detailed cues and notice the difference in subtle shifts in alignment .
Enhance flow state. Commonly known as “the Zone” in the athletic world, being fully caught up in an exercise and experiencing the joy of movement for movements sake is an example of flow. Not just limited to a Vinyasa yoga class, flow can be experienced when practicing any activity student’s find enjoyable. When experiencing flow, students get enjoyment and fulfillment from the exercise itself and are not as worried about extrinsic motivators like burning calories.
Increase positive emotions and buffer against negative thoughts. Students trained in mindfulness, recognize thoughts as exactly what they are, just thoughts. They know that thoughts are passing and not inherently true. Because of this, a momentary “I’m terrible at this,” can pass on by without it triggering a spiral of self-doubt, shame, or other “less than” thoughts and emotions.
If you’re curious to know HOW to infuse mindfulness into your workouts and fitness programming, check out the Mindful Fit Pro Podcast. A brand new mindful movement series launches January 2023.