Have you ever heard people talk about being "in the zone" or having a "runner's high"? This is the moment in time when you are performing and feeling your best, referred to as flow state by sport psychologists. While you are in this state, you are able to push your strength to its threshold. You are able to lift more, jump higher, reach farther and run longer - all while enjoying yourself!
This flow state is the result of five chemicals known as neurotransmitters being released by your brain into the body, and acting as a sort of pain killer (dopamine, norepinephrine, endorphins, anandamide and serotonin if you would like to google them!).
Here are the three tips to getting yourself in the zone:
1. Challenge Yourself. If what you are doing (at-home workout, weight training, going for a run, etc.) is too easy or boring, you won't be able to reach a flow state. Your attention will be most engaged when you are pushing yourself just above your current ability level. I know personally, if I have done a workout before it is harder for me to focus and give it my all. I workout harder when I try new programs.
2. Avoid Distractions. Try to create an environment where you can avoid interruptions. If you are at home, close the door, silence your phone, turn off the TV, and have your spouse watch the kids. (or you can distract them with TV or a new toy like I do!) You know best what distracts you, and I'm sure you can think of a way to avoid it.
3. Focus on the Task. Submerge yourself completely into what you are doing. Create clear process goals to help you stay in the moment. During or right before your exercise, set a clear goal such as one more rep, 5 more seconds, 2 more pounds, etc. These small goals can help you narrow your focus, increase intensity and improve self-confidence.
Have faith in your ability to push your limits, train yourself to instill these habits, and I know you will achieve your goals and increase your confidence. I would love to hear how you get in the zone and your personal experiences!