When it comes to working out, there are 3 principles that we should pay special attention to. If we remember these principles and always strive to improve them, we will see results. As you may have guessed, these 3 principles are Form, Focus, and Consistency. We all have certain strengths and weaknesses. For some of us, form will come naturally. For others, it will be the ability to focus, and still for others, it will be consistency. If I were to rate myself personally, I would say that my strength in these principles from strongest to weakest is first consistency, then form, and then focus.
The Way You Said It
'It's not what you said, it was the way you said it.' If you've ever heard that before, chances are, it wasn't under the best of circumstances. The way that we do things is just as important as doing them-sometimes even more important. If you're going to lift weights with very bad form then you may as well not lift them. However, if you're lifting light weights, and your striving to correct the form then it's okay.
Even after we learn the proper form, it's important to check ourselves and see if we have fallen into bad habits. There will be times that you lift heavy weights without perfect form. However, this should be the exception, and it should be noticed and corrected right away. Take some time to think about your form before you begin each exercise. It will take less and less time as your training goes on.
Mind Over Matter
What I mean by focus is the ability to concentrate on the exercise and to not get lost in simply going through the motions. I personally rate this as my weakest principle because I've noticed that my mind easily drifts away. Paying attention to form can help with focus, however it is not the end all solution. And it's important to know that there is no end all solution. Focus takes effort. If it doesn't come very natural to you, then you'll have to work on it.
Now I'm not saying that I have bad focus, it's just not as strong my form, and consistency. Over the years, anyone can improve upon their workout focus just as I have. It's simply a matter of engaging the mind. Working out is more of a mental exercise then it can appear to be. One way in which you can improve your own focus is to take some time to visualize a successful workout before you begin. In the video below, I talk about pre-visualization and two other methods of improving focus.
Time to Punch The Clock
I have a friend who works hard in the gym. He has a ton of drive, a ton of focus. He pushes himself and he gets results. Unfortunately, he usually doesn't stick with a workout routine long enough to see lasting results. On the other hand, I find myself not focusing as well as I should but I consistently workout anyway. I rarely miss a workout, and when I do, I usually make up for it the next day.
The consistency that I have developed toward exercise is what gives me results. It may take a while to get those results, but I will get them. And when I do get them, I will keep them. Of course, I can't just tell you to be consistent and magically expect you to be. And at the same time, I can't magically give you a dedication toward consistency. It's something you have to develop on your own. 3 helpful ways to increase your consistency are 1) When you feel too tired, remind yourself that doing something is better than doing nothing, 2) Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, but they worked on it every day, and 3) Create several workout playlists so that you will have something different to motivate you each time that you workout.
Too many people get caught up in finding the perfect workout. The importance of the specific exercises of the workout are miniscule in comparison to these 3 principles. Yes, different frequency, volume, and intensities will yield different results but none of it will matter if you don't improve upon these principles. Pay careful attention to Form, Focus, and Consistency and you can't go wrong.