I Intend—Therefore I AM!

NEW YORK – MAY 20,1986: Mike Tyson (L) throws a punch against Mitch Green during the fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Mike Tyson won by a UD 10. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

The starting point of every dream and great achievement is intention.

Everything that happens starts with intention.  Intention, this creative power, sets natural laws in motion to work for what you desire at the subconscious level.  Understanding this power means the manifestation of your dreams.  Being unaware of it means you are a leaf in the wind of circumstances and surrounding energy fields.   

A while back I was doing reverse flys on the pec deck, intentionally focusing every ounce of my being on my rear delts. As I abducted my arms back, I heard, “Uh!” Apparently, some zombie was walking by and the handles hit him right in the gut. Maybe the recipient of the blow was busy updating all seven of his Instagram followers, cutting a business deal or attempting to get a decent workout while induced in this IPhone trance. 

The point is, who gives a rat’s ass? I  did not waste the energy to find out; my intention was to work my rear delts, not to enter this hombre’s personal hell. 

Regardless of this individual’s intentions, nothing he was doing was done with maximum effectiveness.  You don’t cut successful million-dollar business deals while simultaneously doing a half-assed set of leg extensions!  If you try, your quads will be flaccid and you’ll be as stiff as a businessman riding a broke bank account broke.

It comes down to intentionally.  

To get the most out of your training, or anything you are doing, you must take advantage of the power of intention.  When you harness intention, forgive me for using a Jungian term, but synchronicity takes pace, a flow that happens only when you are concentrated on the present moment and immersed to the task at hand.  Things unexplainably just click in a synergistic manner.

Bringing intentionality to your training offers the following six benefits that are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Enhanced Mind-Muscle Connection:Both anecdotes and research confirm you will more effectively target the muscle you desire to work when you focus on it. 
  • Enhanced Technique: Studies have shown that just visualizing yourself shooting free throws or putting in golf is almost as effective as physically practicing. Lifting weights is no different.
  • Superior Intermuscular Coordination: This simply means the coordination between different muscles in your body, which is essential for any compound movement; if your biceps don’t relax as your triceps lockout a bench press, you simply will not bench press as much.
  • Safety: You are much less likely to get injured if you intentionally focus on what you are doing.
  • Greater Satisfaction: When you know exactly what you are working, how each exercise feels and whether you are maximizing the desired adaptation, you can walk away knowing you did your best. This will lead to greater satisfaction. 
  • Superior Results: When you focus on what you are doing and the desired adaptation, it is impossible not to get better results.

Now that you have the intention to bring intention to your training session, let’s look at seven steps to do it.

Pure Intention: Where your attention goes your energy flows! So, you must know the overarching purpose of each training session: strength, size, speed or endurance. Before you begin each exercise, make a mental note of what you want to accomplish, here are some examples:

-Cable flys for one minute straight with a three-second negative, focusing all attention on chest contraction.

-Three reps in the bench press as explosively as possible with perfect form.

-Squats with a three-second negative and one-second pause at the bottom with an explosive positive.

Pure intention focuses every ounce of being on what you’re doing to maximize the training session and subsequent adaptations. Are you training to get better or get followers?  

Stay Off Your phone:Simply do not call people, text people, or look at any social media updates, ever.  Phones are killing progress!  Focus on each individual training session.  Things can wait; to maximize training adaptations, focus– turn off your phone and get to work.  Ed Coan and Ronnie Coleman both survived without texting during workouts, you can, too!  

Detach From the Outcome: All you have is the present moment!  So, focus on it.  You have goals to accomplish, but inside of the training, focus on exactly what you are doing; focus on the process not the product.  The product will be better when the present process is the primary focus in the individual training session.  Victory is won in inches not miles, focus on each session, each exercise and watch those inches become miles. 

Keep Your Eye on the Prize: As you move through a training session, it is normal for your attention to divert and your mind start to wander.  So, instead of throwing up the white flag and small talking about sports or politics, center yourself!  Bring yourself back to the present moment.  No matter how often your mind drifts, come back to the present moment; as you do this it will happen less frequently and for shorter periods of time.

Framing Pain and Discomfort:  Training hard can be painful!  So, excluding injury pain, you realize inducing pain is going to induce your desired result.  This discomfort is part of maximizing yourself physically; go beyond your comfort zone, it is a necessity. Associate this sacrifice with your success by embracing the discomfort in the process.

Remember Why You Are Training:  Some folks’ workouts are rushed because they begin thinking about what they “should” be doing instead of what they are accomplishing in the present moment. If you find this thought process during your session, contemplate why you are training?

Some examples:

  • Gain strength
  • Gain size
  • To be safe
  • Better sleep
  • Live longer
  • Increase energy
  • Reduce stress

Revisit why training is a priority; when you have this “why” you will intentionally focus on the “how” in the present moment.

End on a Positive Note: Take time to cool down at the end of the workout, you can stretch or foam roll.  After this, lie down, embrace the present moment and feel the effect of all your hard work.

Final Thoughts

Zen Masters will sometimes walk up behind students and hit them with a piece of wood.  If the student got hit, he loses the tutelage of the master.  Why?  Because lack of focus on the present moment.

Intentionality is everything.

Harness the power of intention to work for you, it is always working.  Stay off your phone, focus on the task at hand and you will take your training and life to the next level.

Learn intentionality with the audio version of Grounded in Gratitude!