Strength training can be gruelling and uncomfortable, there’s no way around it. However, there’s always that magical moment in the middle of the workout when you realise how well you’re doing, and the discomfort feels distant and becomes replaced by a sense of pure euphoria instead. This is the flow that all of us who engage in strength training should focus on, because being in the flow rewards and motivates us to keep persevering.
What being in the flow means
The flow is characterised by high levels of focus and self-control, as well as familiarity in what we are doing which then allows us to perform our tasks as if we are one with them. When in the flow, our mind controls our muscles and our body intrinsically responds to our movements, hence adjusting itself into a state of homeostasis during which we feel invincible and fully in control. Getting into the flow always begins from the mind, as our mind is where we set our goals, restrain ourselves from things that impede our goals and take actions to achieve our goals. Our mind is also responsible for helping us stay in complete concentration during workouts, and concentration is key to remaining in the flow.
In order to fully concentrate on your workouts, you have to immerse yourself completely into whatever action you’re doing instead of just going through the mechanics of it mindlessly. Feel the tension in your muscles when you load or extend them and picture your muscles working in your head – it’s when you’re fully living in the moment when you enter the flow, so keep at it. Don’t let external worries lead your thoughts astray. It can help to have a physical reminder every once in a while to ensure you stay focused; having a training buddy for that purpose always works!
When we enter our flow, it can be all too easy to succumb to “auto-pilot” mode due to the subconscious mind taking over. However, the flow should not be a mindless state. Instead, exerting conscious control over our actions (some may call it “hyper-awareness”) helps to keep us on point and ensure that the pace of our flow remains consistent. Think of it as a form of auto-regulation: the flow only works when its in tune with body. You may not always have control over the state of your body, but the state of your flow is entirely up to you and only if you will it so.
Getting into the flow isn’t always easy, you have to put in a conscious effort if you want to achieve it every time you train. Is it worth it though? Considering the immense satisfaction you get from training in the flow, the answer has to be a resounding “yes”!