Blog 22 – Seriously, meditation?

Blog 22 – Seriously, meditation? How is that going to get me on the GAINZ Train!? 

Well folks, I’m glad you asked. It should come as no surprise to any of you that I am quite the daydreamer. It’s probably one of the things I’m better at, actually. I like my space and my thoughts, and need that time throughout the day to feel more productive and focused on more task-oriented things. If I don’t get this time, I feel overly rushed, unproductive, and in a general state of anxiousness. This isn’t a “Dylan” thing, we all have some habit that creates space for ourselves whether we know it or not. Meditation is just the idea of intentionally creating time for yourself; setting aside the tasks at hand or external demand; and creating a space for your brain to critically think. 

In the book Creative Confidence (I don’t actually read as much as you’d think. I am just drawn to very particular topics.) by Tom and David Kelley, the founders of the company IDEO and Stanford’s d.School, the term “relaxed attention” is used in reference to creating an atmosphere where people are not so task oriented to solve problems with user-first design, and go so far as to quote research that suggests “our minds make unlikely connections between ideas, memories, and experiences when we are at rest and not focused on a specific task or project.” They go on to suggest that in order to solve the world’s hardest problems, you have to create time away from the problem. Now, I don’t know for sure, but I’m willing to bet that we’ve all experienced some sort of “AH, HA!” moment about something when we least expect it. In the middle of the night, making dinner, in the shower, on the thing next to the shower, etc. This to me is a farce of the 40-hour work week and the “busy vs productive” argument, if we are more likely to think of creative solutions to work problems away from work than at work. But that’s for another time, in another blog. 

So how in the world does all of this come back to GAINZ!? That is why we’re all here. Actually that’s the simple part. We come together for about an hour at a time, go through a warm-up, do some skill or strength work, do a little conditioning, and hopefully get a cool down in. I’m going to focus on a strength segment here with the hope that you can expand it to fit the entire work out. When we do strength work, something like a 5×5 (or some wild rep scheme that Nigel programs for 3 months that seemingly never gives our legs a break), the goal is always to work as heavy as possible for the day – Yes, this is me saying that it is ok to not work at 85% plus of a 1RM and instead work at 85% of what you have that day. Did you work day suck? Did you hike Forest Park or bomb Mt. Hood the day before? Did your kids wake you up every hour on the hour (a little parental EHOH)? All of those things need to be accounted for in your level of effort for the day. – In order to work as heavy as possible over the course of given sets, we need to maximize our rest periods (Do you see where this is going yet?). As the weight gets heavier the longer we need to be resting. This INCLUDES our warm up sets. At least 2:00 from the time rack the bar to the time we touch it again (some will need more rest). If we don’t rest the needed amount, we go into the next set with depleted energy, which compounds in each subsequent set resulting in less weight and less overall intention and ultimately less GAINZ. 

This probably isn’t that new of a concept to you, but what happens more often than not is that we feel a need/rush to get back to the bar. This forces us to take less rest than we need (Look, you can tell me all you want how much you rested in between sets, but I start a clock for a reason. A 5×5 strength session should take everyone almost the exact same amount of time.) or trying to fill time by “hitting some abs” between sets (This is also fine, but our need for rest actually INCREASES in this scenario). 

This is all to say that we can all get a little too task-focused in the gym. If we fill this time with more intention, we can approach our lifts the same way. And how do we get better at existing in our space with intention? “Buehler? Buehler?”… 

Not only will maximizing your rest period make you a better lifter, you’re also creating space for more relaxed attention so you can finally piece together where in the world your wallet went or an event space or your next design layout or the perfect gift to thank a friend. Now THAT’S productivity. 

CHOO CHOO, Strength Tribe! 


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