Yet another chapter devoted to focus, I know what you’re’ thinking: “What more can you possibly say about focus”?

Well, turns out, plenty!

Distraction is the number one ruiner of workouts. They come in the form of chatty fellow gym-goers, or smartphones, or TVs, or just the current day’s events that are replaying through your mind.

But this lesson isn’t about distractions. It’s very simple to remove distractions from your workout: leave your phone in your locker, wear headphones and don’t look approachable, don’t think about your day at work. Difficult maybe, but simple.

No, this lesson is about a different kind of focus: concentrating on completing your workout without getting internally distracted. It’s my belief that people easily recognize external distractions that interfere with their workout, but are much less aware of interference from their internal distractions.

A great example of a common internal distraction is thinking about what others are doing in the gym, rather than on your own workout. How often have you gotten annoyed, angry even, at someone who took too long on a machine or bench? Someone who was wearing something garish or ugly? Someone who smelled bad? Someone who didn’t re-rack his/her weights?

It’s OK to get annoyed at those things. Heck, to this day I still believe I can’t lift to my potential around someone with bad body odor. But it’s not your JOB to worry about such things. Your job is to complete your workout. Any thought that is not related to that goal is an obstacle to your goal. Don’t stop and get annoyed at the obstacle; keep it moving: jump it, go around it, ignore it and run through it. Whatever you, don’t stop and curse at it!

Here are a list of common internal distractions that you’d be better off not spending time on:

The _______ machine is occupied. I can’t do my next set.

Solution: keep it moving! change the order of your workouts and come back to that workout later.

This guy/girl is doing something annoying.

Solution: Acknowledge how annoying they are, then let it go. Don’t focus on them because doing so doesn’t help you finish your workout.

The weights or rack I want to use are being used by someone else. I can’t do my next set.

Solution: Keep it moving. Do a different workout or do a different amount of reps. Find another place to do your workout. Whatever you do, don’t sit around and wait.

It’s too cold / crowded / loud

Solution: most of these are out of your control. Find a way to do finish your workout anyway. Put headphones on. Drape a towel around yourself. Carve out a spot on the gym floor and don’t mind other people.

I can’t make it to the gym today / the gym is closed / I’m traveling and don’t have access to a gym

Solution: You don’t need a gym to workout. Look up full-body workouts on your phone that you can do at home on the floor or in your hotel room. Run up and down stairs for an intense cardio and leg workout. Pushups for chest. Buy a pullup bar for the home to workout your back. Work on your abs. Do squats in place. Go running outside.

Always keep it moving. Don’t let anything stop you.