Essential Sports Nutrition

1/8/19

The power of a present mind


The other day on Facebook and Instagram, I shared videos of me and Karel on our trainer bikes. The piece of information that I failed to include was that we were both performing a bike test to establish training zones. The test was the 4DP Full Frontal Fitness Test. We each performed the test on different days - thus the opportunity to secretly film one another during the test. My video was during my 20 minute section of the test and Karel's video was during his last one-minute effort of test. There was a lot of suffering between us both!

Because we have never done this test before, we had nothing to compare to. There were unknowns and no way to predict the future. We were both truly in the moment in order to bring forth the best effort possible throughout the test.

For athletes, there's great power of a present mind. While it sounds simple, many athletes struggle to stay in the moment before and during training and on race day. Especially in a sport like triathlon which has so many uncontrollable factors and unknowns, it can be extremely difficult to have complete focus and concentration to the present moment.

As an example, how many times have you contemplated skipping a workout because you feel completely exhausted. You somehow muster the strength to get yourself started and surprisingly, you feel amazing and have an awesome training session. Another example is the jumping ahead in thoughts during a workout or race - wondering what's going to happen in the next 10 minutes, 5 miles or several hours. Lastly, there's the example of going to into a workout (such as a bike test) with expectations of your past effort or a feeling of what you think you are capable of doing, which brings disappointment if you don't meet your expectations.

When you are in the present moment, there's no worry, overthinking, pressure or doubt. There's no thinking about past events or future outcomes. There are no distractions keeping you from being 100% attentive to the task at hand. There's nothing to chase or to make you feel defeated.

The future is unpredictable. Despite trying really, really hard to control everything, you can never predict what's going to happen. Nothing is more powerful than a present state of mind.

As an athlete, there is so much room for improvement and growth. Never stop dreaming big and working hard. Just don't be the athlete who is constantly sabotaging a training and race day performance because youconstantly feel tremendous pressure and self-doubt about future outcomes or because you can't seem to let go of the "better" past version of yourself.