Adam Saucedo, M.A., a practicing Sport Psychology Consultant, consults with individual athletes and exercisers in the greater Bay Area of Northern California. His clients participate in all competition levels from juniors to masters, ranging in age from 13 to 60 years old. In conjunction with his work with his private clients, Adam works with individual athletes and teams at Santa Clara University. This academic school year, he completed his third season working with the SCU Men's Water Polo program and his second season working with the SCU Women's Water Polo program. He has gained a great deal of experience working with both programs under the coaching of Keith Wilbur. Along with the water polo programs, Adam works closely with four other athletic programs at SCU. In addition, he will be facilitating a leadership program for all 19 sports at SCU in the coming months. For more information visit his website: www.saucedosportpsych.com
When you think about your fitness program, you may tend to think about how you will feel during the workout or how you will feel after you have finished. What you may sometimes neglect to focus on is how you feel prior to the workout. It is important to understand how preparation can have a direct impact on your performance. By preparing yourself before each workout, both physically and mentally, you set yourself up for a successful performance!
Let’s first breakdown physical preparation since it will assist you in your mental preparation. When you think about physical preparation you can think about what you do to your body and what you put in your body. This may include regular stretching and foam-rolling, proper rest and sleep habits and healthy nutrition and supplement intake. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the cornerstone to a successful fitness program. When you take care of yourself, you have the confidence that you can take on any workout, even if it may be outside of your “comfort zone”. When your body feels good, you have increased energy to focus on the workout. Think about when you go into a workout when you are not feeling good, maybe your sore and tired from your last workout. When you feel this way, you have low energy and your workout can suffer. It is important to understand that you ultimately have control over how you feel when we enter a workout. This awareness should provide you with an increased confidence and a sense of empowerment over your experience.
Now that we have discussed the importance of your physical preparation we can move into the other half of your preparation, the mental component. As was discussed above, your physical preparation will enhance your mental preparation by providing you with increased confidence in your body’s ability to perform. Next, it is important to understand where your focus is before you workout. Are you truly present when you begin your workout? Or are you thinking about your responsibilities to your work or home life? By shifting your focus from your daily responsibilities to why you are there to work out, you free our mind to focus on your performance. In addition, it is important to have a keen awareness of your purpose, as it can be a great tool to combat those days when you experience low motivation to adhere to your fitness program. Once again, it is important to remind yourself that you ultimately control your level of focus and motivation prior to your workout.
Sometimes, as you approach your workout, “life can get in the way” and throw you off-balance. However, before you allow the situation to take control of you, understand that it is your choice how you want to respond to it. You can allow it to distract you from your workout or you can remain present and positive. Remind yourself that is “your time” and that you choose to workout because it benefits your overall well-being. Now, this may not be easy at first, especially if you tend to focus on the distractions. However the more you consistently practice your mental preparation, the better you will get at implementing it into your pre-workout routine.
By creating a consistent pre-workout routine that includes both physical and mental preparation, you are providing yourself with the proper energy level and attitude to perform optimally. Good luck as you begin creating or adjusting your personal pre-workout routine. Remember, preparation leads to confidence and success!