Many people miss out on the spiritual side of fitness. Those hours in the gym hoisting iron, watching TV, doing cardio, and socializing give way to aggression, competition, entertainment, and trying to get dates versus introspection and meditation, which are both key components to the body-mind-spirit paradigm and healthy holistic living.
In a busy world where you are constantly running around, working, or studying, very few places offer the spiritual connection potential than the gym. Sure, you can go to church, but that's only once per week, and yes a place like the beach or the park, or somewhere else outdoors in nature is definitely a good place for meditation, but the gym offers the same potential every single day and every time you workout.
The problem is that most people miss out on it. Aggressive weightlifting, talking to buddies, fighting for equipment, staring in the mirror, and the envy and curiosity of staring at people around (aka "people watching") usually leads to this missed opportunity.
Even some of the best bodybuilders in history knew about this fact. There are very few places one can better get in touch with themselves and their inner most thoughts than in the gym and working out. This is why many top bodybuilders and fitness people are successful in the real world as well as with their physiques.
The gym offers the perfect combination- a place where you can strengthen yourself, relieve stress, increase positive energy, and combine your thoughts and goals, and get in touch with yourself, all in the process of one hour or less.
I always viewed it as "working out to your goals". That is-not just your body goals and fitness goals, but your life goals and aspirations. Just like you listen to certain music during a workout, you can workout to your thoughts if you can incorporate meditation into your workouts.
Don't just sit there and stare in the mirror to do this or walk around trying to be tough and intimidate people or be a social butterfly. And don't use your aggressiveness with the weights for anything more than your sets.
This could be a peaceful time where you cut out all distractions from the outside world and connect with your thoughts.
Here's some tips and pointers on how:
1. Between each set you do, look down and access your thoughts about the future. You go in the direction of your thoughts in life, and what better time to think about your goals and a strong future than between a strong set.
If you look up, you either see other people or you see the mirror. Contrary to common gym behavior, staring at yourself in the mirror does not produce results. I see some people staring too long, and you know why they'll never build a championship physique that is excellent. Also, if you look at other people, you will easily lose control of the thoughts you could be meditating on, and you get distracted.
Now, you don't have to right there go into a zen pose. But use the time between sets to meditate on your life goals. One of my greatest all-time training philosophies I've swore by is to not waste one second in the gym. Always be doing something. If you weren't meditating, I'd recommend stretching. There's always something you can be doing to get better results.
2. Look at the gym as a place of self improvement instead of a place to just workout or to socialize. This is where you get strong inside and out, you get healthy, increase your flexibility, and build confidence and self esteem. You also increase longevity and improve vitality. It's a very positive experience in self improvement if you can view it as that.
You can also connect to a higher power in your workouts. When you think you can't do any more or can't go any further and feel like giving up, you can call on your faith to help you get through it. This kind of connection can usually only be realized in church, but you can get this connection during your workouts. It's good to work on your faith as well as your body, muscles, and fitness goals.
3. Yoga- do yoga. A lot of people hate to stretch and put the time into stretching. There's a good reason why. It doesn't get the instantaneous results that cardio and weightlifting gets. But yoga has a much needed spiritual side to it that is important to complete the body-mind-spirit paradigm of a totally healthy lifestyle. It relieves tension and stress, and it allows you to get in touch with yourself.
Try utilizing these techniques to get the most out of your workouts and time in the gym to get the maximum benefits in the body-mind-spirit formula. The gym can be your temple if you use your time "wisely."
Check out the video for some meditation techniques.