Do you ever find yourself walking into the gym or entering a studio for your regular fitness class only to ask yourself "why am I here?" It may sound silly – to ponder the meaning of your workouts – but it's actually an essential question that needs to be answered. "Why go to the gym? Why spend my time, money, and energy on exercise?"
Well the answer is goals, right? We go to the gym to achieve our fitness goals and live a healthier, more physically active lifestyle.
But what happens when we meet those goals? Alternatively, what happens when they seem too far away? How do we not only continue to show up at the gym but find enjoyment and purpose in our workouts?
According to some experts, it starts with setting intentions.
Inc.'s article, Setting Goals Isn't Enough: Setting Daily Intentions Will Change Your Life, states that "Living your intentions allows you to focus on who you are in the moment, to recognize and live your values, and to raise your emotional energy, which in turn raises your physical energy."
Put plainly, setting intentions creates focus and drive. By setting unique intentions for each workout, we can be present and mindful about every set, step, rep, and lunge we complete. Even if we are repeating an exercise or class we did earlier in the week, we show up differently, in a way that is present to the very moment we are in. This helps us to stay more engaged and, in turn, feel better about our WHY.
To help get you started with setting intentions, here are a few practical tips. We recommend trying these tips and then adjusting them to meet your needs:
1. Set aside a few moments before your workout to write down one intention for your workout. It could be as straightforward as "focus on breathing through reps" or as vague as "be kind to my body and thank it for its capabilities throughout my workout." Write this intention down in a notebook or on your phone as an offering of sorts. By writing it down, you are committing yourself to that intention for your workout.
2. Reflect on your intention throughout your workout - use physical tasks and cues for this. Maybe it's when you go to take a sip of water or rest in between sets. Stay aware of your intention and keep it at the forefront of your mind.
3. Revisit your intention after your workout, possibly even hours later and reflect on how it worked for you. Did it strengthen your WHY? Did you find you enjoyed your workout more or less? Adjust based on your needs and keep working to discover how setting intentions works best for you.