Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Silence for Intense Workouts
Written By : Parth Shah
Filed In : Articles | featured

There is a moment right between my warm-up, and workout. Sometimes it is brief, perhaps lasting a few seconds, but other times it is long, lasting almost ten minutes. It is a moment of silence. Of reflection. The quiet before a storm. The soothing nature of the wind, steadily picking up the dead leaves off the tree and dropping them gently on the ground before the final gust of wind begins the season of autumn.

This is my moment of ZEN. To make sure that I am mentally THERE. I don’t want to be thinking about my job interviews, about that girl I like, or about that thing I wanted to buy but was too broke ’cause I still live with my parents. No, it all goes away.
I don’t hide. I don’t bury it like most people do. I set it up on a cardboard box in my mind and attack it. Not with a shotgun or fists, but with weights. With kettlebells and loud music. I attack the thought, the distraction, like there’s no tomorrow.

What Am I Talking About?

Ever realize how much better your workouts are when you’re angry? Ever realize how crappy your workouts are when you’re sad or depressed? Well, they’re actually the same feeling. It’s called frustration. You’re frustrated about something.
Lets do a little exercise. Take the following three sentences:

  • You’re angry because your girlfriend isn’t listening to you.
  • You’re sad because your best friend won’t talk to you.
  • You’re depressed because someone close to you just passed away.

Lets switch up all emotions with the word “frustrated” and see what happens:

  • You’re frustrated because your girlfriend isn’t listening to you and you don’t know how to make her listen to you.
  • You’re frustrated because your best friend won’t talk to you and you don’t know how to make her talk to you.
  • You’re frustrated because someone close to you just passed away and you don’t know how to deal with the loss.

It’s all About Uncertainty

“You can’t keep thinking about a situation if it’s out of your hands. If it’s in your hands, you still can’t think about it, you have to act upon it. Use your best judgement. And if your best judgement fails you, then whatever, you’ve learned from the mistake and you won’t do it again. If you do it again, then we know you’ve got a problem.” – Parth Shah, 1986- present (That’s me, if you didn’t know)
We dwell on things because we are uncertain of the outcome or the solution. Most of the time, we don’t have a solution to a problem, and so we dwell…and dwell….and dwell, until we find something to satisfy ourselves. Most things take care of themselves.
But many times we have a solution, but the solution is difficult. We need to put things on the line, risk things. I’m thankful I have never had to face a situation like this, but at the same time it means that this situation is coming. Everyone faces a life changing scenario at least once in their lives. This event tests us. It makes us either cling to our beliefs or run from them.

What’s the Point?

The point is that everything is linked. Mind and body are one. If your mind is not clean, then your body will not be clean. The key to effective workouts is not to get angry each time, just because that one time you were angry and had a good workout. The key is to clear your mind. To realize where you are the moment, and what you are doing. You are in a gym/park/home gym, and you’re about to do pullups/deadlifts/run. You need to close your eyes, just sit or stand there, take a few deep breaths, and focus on the present moment.

That’s the Point

I don’t want you to do this just before your workout. I want to you to do this multiple times per day. Right before that important meeting, right before you head off to work, right before dinner with your family, and right before bed time. Call it mini-meditation. Or, I just like to call it silence.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Written By Parth Shah
Parth Shah is a Strength Consultant based in New Hyde Park, New York and is currently going through his own personal physique transformation. Find out more at Shah Training.
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