Why I Don’t Listen to Music

why I don't listen to music

…when I workout.

Let me preface this by saying that I love music. You can definitely catch me singing my heart out in my car at a stoplight. It might be bad singing, but the intent is there. Another thing I want to say before I get into this post is that this strategy is what works for me. You might not even have the option to not listen to music because of the gym you workout at. Sometimes gyms just have music playing for everyone to hear. As a former college athlete, myself, I know that tingly feeling you get when you walk into that weight room and hear Metallica blasting through the loudspeakers. It’s awesome. It makes you want to not only lift heavy weights, but to also slam them down afterwards. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that lifting weights with music blaring isn’t always the most sensible choice. With this blog, I want to challenge you with 3 reasons why you should try exercising in silence.

So why do athletes lift with a “pump-up” playlist anyway? You can go to any music streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music and search for a workout mix and they will already have a playlist created that is meant to get you in the mood to workout. The songs are usually filled with fast-paced bangers with a solid, bassy beat going in the background. Some of the songs might even be written by the artist with the intent to be listened to while training like “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor and “Stronger” by Kanye West. Personally, I believe that music in a workout setting causes a reaction inside of ourselves that gets us excited to exercise. It might even be used as a sort of alarm clock to wake up the athletes that are working out if it is early in the morning. Could you imagine walking into a gym at 6 a.m. and hear classical music?

Some athletes refer to their sport as a war, a battle, a grind; I think that is an unfair comparison. But the act of listening to music before an actual battle has been around for centuries. You can even look in the history books and you will find instances of horns being blown before certain battles. Drums and horns were used to keep time and formations during marches. So, the use of music before a big event is not a new concept. The only thing that has changed is the type of music being listened to and the number of choices that people have nowadays.

I spoke with some current college athletes about why they choose to listen to music when they are working out. The common answer that I heard were as follows: it’s fun, it makes the workout go by faster, and it helps distract from some discomfort caused by the exercise. These are all valid reasons to want to listen to music while lifting or running. Some people even said that they make a specific playlist to be played as a sort of timing mechanism if they want to run a certain distance in particular amount of time. If they aren’t to a certain checkpoint in their run by the time a certain song comes on, then they know that they need to pick up the pace. There are valid reasons to supplement your workouts with music, but I challenge you, the next time you run or workout, to not listen to anything. I understand that public gyms have a lot going on, but don’t use headphones. Try exercising in complete silence. Let it be just you and your thoughts.

Here are three reasons why I think that working out in total silence could positively impact your future athletic performances:

1. It is much harder.

When you lift without music, you no longer have that extra motivation or pep in your step. In the 2017 documentary, “Born Strong”, Zydrunas Savickas, one of the strongest men to ever walk the earth said that he lifts alone simply because it is harder. He chooses to train in difficult environments, i.e. colder, darker, quieter, because during strongmen competitions, he is surrounded by thousands of people that give him energy that makes the weights feel lighter. Basically, he is making the training more difficult than the actual competition. I use this example because people use music as a sort of motivation-fire-starter. That type of motivation is fleeting. It’s fake. What are you going to do whenever you take the headphones off? What are you going to do when there is no music? It will be just you and your own thoughts; nothing else.

2. You can fill this silence with your own positive inner voice

Assuming you are doing some sort of training that is causing some sort of discomfort, you will have a choice of what you focus on. You can either focus on the pain you are feeling, or you can focus on your “why” and your goals. If you are able to do a plank wherever you are reading this blog, do it. Do a 30-second plank. During this time, I want you to focus on how uncomfortable you are feeling. Put all your attention on the struggle you are experiencing. Be aware of the pain you feel. You can do this for more than 30 seconds, but for the sake of this post, this will be our benchmark time. After the initial 30 seconds, take a break; not a long break, maybe 20 seconds. Get in the plank position again. But this time I want you to focus on your goals. Say them aloud. Be confident in your goals. Say them with conviction. Encourage yourself. Say things like, “I can do this,” “I am strong,” just say that over and over if you want “strong, strong, strong.” Do this and you’ll be surprised how much of a difference you notice. I’d bet that the second plank was not easier from a physical standpoint, but from a mindset point of view you will feel better.

3. The music won’t be there during competition or practice

Sure, some sports allow music to be played during the action, but you won’t be able to choose the playlist. Some venues do not even have loudspeakers. Of course, you can be singing or humming a song in your head, but in the end, it will just be you and your thoughts; nothing else. That song that got you through that tough workout won’t be pumping through your veins whenever you get popped in the mouth by an opponent. The playlist “Club Hits of Today” won’t be there for you whenever you walk the bases loaded with nobody out in the 7th inning of a conference game. It will be just you and your mindset. David Goggins, former Navy Seal, ultramarathoner, and author of one of my favorite books Can’t Hurt Me describes listening to music while exercising as cheating. “What the f*** do you do when the headphones come off? It’s just you and your own mind,” says Goggins. 

In closing, I did not always practice this strategy. It took me a long time to be able to feel comfortable enough with silence. I was alone with my own thoughts. Nothing and no one else was motivating me to work out, to push myself, to do one more rep but me. But once I made the choice to change my mindset about working out, my confidence went up, my positive self-talk improved, and I got stronger both mentally and physically. I have adopted the mindset of “I can do anything because I did it myself.”

Ready to adopt a new mindset? Schedule a free mini session!

365 Days of Meditation

Heck yeah! Goal achieved. That’s right. 365 consecutive days of meditation practice.

Are you supposed to celebrate meditation? Or am I supposed to be chill about it? This woman is going to celebrate. Although I would say I am considerably more chill now too.

A whole year! Every d*mn day. Meditations ranged from 3 minutes (some days are hard) to 2 hours. I know!

Some days I felt these big epiphanies. Aha moments. Game changer enlightenment.

Some days I just watched my to-do list roll by over and over. Trying to just observe and not add to it.

Some days I tried to solve life’s biggest mysteries. Getting frustrated the answers didn’t appear.

Some days I felt super anxious. Tightness in my chest. A little panic even.

Some days I felt tears rolling down my face. Like I was letting go of something I had carried for a while.

Some days I just needed a break and a minute (or 3) to regain some peace after a frustrating situation.

Some days I needed to “just calm down.” For the record, I am the only one who can say that to me. 🙂

Some days (many days really) I got up early, sat on the meditation couch with my dogs, and it was the best part of my day. They seriously love meditation time.

Some days I did not want to meditate. At all.

Sometimes it was because I was in a really good place and didn’t want to take time away to “just sit.”

Sometimes it was because I was not in a good place and kind of wanted to stay upset about it.

Some days I forgot until the very last minute and almost accidentally ended my streak. I was probably unreasonably attached to the goal and the little reward you get on the Headspace app, but hey, I’m achievement oriented!

Why is this so important? What changed? Why am I on day 375 (even when there are no more app awards)?

I feel like I have an underlying peace that I didn’t have before. I don’t get quite as swept up in my thoughts or situations. I notice my thoughts more. I can act from a more reflective place (not that I always do, I’m human).

I know that I’m more than my thoughts. I can identify when I’m having irrational thoughts. I know that I choose the thoughts to believe and that I create results in life through the thoughts I choose. I know that others are experiencing the same thing.

I have a clarity that I didn’t have before. I can sit with feelings and really feel them instead of trying to dismiss them or move past them. Which is good, because that never turns out well.

And I can help clients do the same.

Meditation is sometimes resisted by clients. I get it. Athletes are often doers. Meditation doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything. But developing a meditation practice is some of the best mental work you can do.

When clients have a mindfulness practice, they’re able to more easily identify thoughts and make changes. It always comes down to the thoughts. They’re able to relax faster…which I know sounds like an oxymoron, but it can be a game changer.

Meditation paired with some breathing work and you’re in a good place when it comes to managing your intensity and being composed in an intense situation.

Two outs, down a run, with a 3 & 2 count in the bottom of the 9th? Stepping up to the free throw line and needing to sink two shots? Taking a breath before serving match point? Meditation helps in all of those situations.

My mental game is better with meditation and yours will be too. Here’s to another year!

Ready to get started? Happy to share my thoughts and tips. Send me a message or schedule a free mini session!

Don’t Hate the Hustle

Seems like hustle has gotten a bad name lately. “Escape the hustle.” “Quit the hustle.” “Stop the hustle.”

I hear it all the time. The message is intended as “Stop being so busy.” “Relax.” “Don’t overwork.” “Take care of yourself.”

I get what they’re saying, but as an athlete (and really just as a person with goals), you can’t hate the hustle.

Hustle in sport is never bad. It’s never wrong. You’ll never hear a coach in a post-game interview say “We just had too much hustle out there today.” “If we could just tone down the hustle, we’d be okay.” “Too many hustle errors.” Nope. That’s just not a thing.

Hustle is good.

Let’s clarify what hustle is. Hustle is working hard. Hustle is being focused and intentional with your actions. Hustle is going all out toward your goal.

Hustle is getting every loose ball. Hustle is running through first base. Hustle is full court press. Hustle is being in your position every play. Hustle is diving when the ball is out of reach. Hustle is running past the line on every sprint.

Hustle is doing all you can in the moment.

Sound exhausting? It’s supposed to be. That discomfort is the currency of your dreams. You don’t look back on a playing career and say “I wished I hadn’t hustled so hard.” That’s what you look back on as most proud of. That’s why there’s a Hustle Award!

The great thing about hustle is that it’s under your control. Your shot might not be falling, but you can always hustle. You might not be picking up the ball well, but you can always hustle. You might not make the starting line-up, but you can always hustle. Your team may not be winning, but you can always hustle.

This goes for life outside of sport too.

Now, I’m not saying don’t rest. That’s where the “Stop the Hustle” movement gets it wrong, by implying that hustle means to never rest. If you’ve done it right, you HAVE TO REST. We’re not meant to hustle 24/7. Take a breather between sprints. Get a water break. Clear your mind. Cool down. Stretch & recover. Do your thought work.

Then hustle again.

While you should definitely hustle for your goals, there’s one thing that you don’t hustle for…your worthiness. You do not hustle for your worthiness. You don’t hustle to show a coach, parent, teammate, or even yourself that you’re worth it. You hustle because you are already worthy. Regardless of where you place or if you even get to play, you’re worthy.

We’re all worthy. We’re all enough. That’s not up for negotiation.

Hustle (like goals) won’t make you worthy or happy, but it will help you see what you can do. It’ll help you see what you can accomplish. What goals you can achieve. What extra action and results you can provide.

But hustle doesn’t dictate who you are.

If you’re trying to find your hustle and you’re just not feeling it, look at your thoughts. Remember the process. Thoughts – feelings – actions – results.

If hustle is the action required for the results you want (and trust me, it is), you’ve gotta choose the thoughts that get you there.

And that’s what we help athletes and achievers do. So let’s make it happen. Schedule your free mini-session today!

P.S. Mini-sessions are available in person and via Zoom!

Misplaced Motivation

Help! I’ve lost my motivation and I can’t seem to find it anywhere! If you or a loved one are suffering from misplaced motivation and can’t seem to find it back, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! For more information on common motivation hiding places, call 1-800….. Haha totally kidding!

Well, somewhat. Although this is not a spin-off Life Alert commercial, misplaced motivation is a very real issue that affects every single one of us! I know it’s been affecting me somethin’ terrible these past couple weeks (I blame Mother Nature).

When faced with the choice to either get up early and trek through the snow and ice and freezing cold temperatures to get to the gym or stay in my warm bed and grab a couple more zzz’s, it is almost always a no-brainer for me.

But, wait! I gotta go! If I don’t go today, I will talk myself out of it tomorrow and before I know it, it will be a week since I last put on my running shoes. I just can’t let that happen. I have worked so hard to get where I’m at and I can’t fall off the wagon now!

There’s just one problem with all of this. I know what I need to do, where I need to go, how long I need to be there, but I simply have zero motivation to do so. And that, folks, is our problem.

I have hit that point in my new “lifestyle” where I am bored, tired, and just plain cold. So, naturally, I start to lose the motivation I once had to keep all of my clean eating and gym-going habits up.

So, the next question is, what in the world am I gonna do about it? I can’t just sit back and watch myself undo everything I worked so hard for. But, I’m also having trouble pushing through this rut and moving forward.

I think it is time for me to go back to the basics! It is time to get a little uncomfortable again, my friends.

To start, I have to go all the way back to the very beginning and remember why I opted for a healthier lifestyle change in the first place.

  1. I wanted to get in shape, lose weight, and tone my body.
  2. I wanted to develop healthy eating habits that will not only benefit me in the present but will also benefit me in the future.
  3. I wanted to be happier in my own skin: less stress and less negativity.
    Alright, yeah. I’m starting to remember now! Now what? Oh yeah, let’s take a look at that beautiful progress we’ve made so far!
  4. I can run 6 miles in an hour without stopping, I’ve lost almost 40 pounds since September, and the inches are fallin’ off one by one!
  5. I don’t need a list anymore to keep myself from buying junk food, I am constantly looking at all nutrition labels and actually understanding all the numbers and strange words, and it has become almost second nature for me to reach for a handful of blueberries instead of a bag of Doritos.
  6. I am sleeping a lot better at night, I have a clearer mind (most days), and I no longer talk bad about myself when I look in the mirror.
    Y’all, that is PROGRESS right there! Gosh, that motivated me just typing it out. I feel good! Sometimes my mind is clouded by thoughts of being stuck or how far left I still have to go, that I often forget about
    how far I have come and how much I have accomplished so far. And y’all, let me tell you… That. Is. So. Important. So the last puzzle piece needed to bring back that misplaced motivation is a slightly modified new plan that will push me to keep moving forward, and you know what that means: GOALS!
  7. Be able to run 6 miles in 55 minutes without stopping (using faster speeds in different intervals).
  8. Lose the next 5 pounds by getting back to my clean-eating and sticking to it!
  9. Find new healthy snacks at the store so I can change it up and not be as bored with the same ol’ same ol’.
  10. Start a bullet journal to keep track of my lifestyle habits and to declutter my mind.

Alright, I think I’m ready to take on this newfound motivation! I will admit, it was very lost there for a little bit, but as long as I have the right tools, a steady mindset, and some good ol’ goals, I’m confident that I will ALWAYS find my motivation back, just in time for the next go round! Let’s do this!

If you want to find your motivation, schedule a free mini-session!

The Motivation to Write about Motivation

motivation to write about motivation

I didn’t want to write this blog. But it’s Tuesday. And Tuesday is blog day.

We haven’t missed a Tuesday since we committed to it. And we won’t miss today. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it. 🙂

I had a GREAT morning. So good. We’ve got a big partnership in the works and it’s super exciting.

You know when you’re so pumped about something that it’s hard to refocus on the other things you have to do? That was me today.

I spent some time enjoying the exciting news. Some time talking about writing this blog. Some time doing other stuff that needed to be done at some point…but really wasn’t urgent. And then some time justifying not writing this blog. Convincing myself that it’s totally okay if I don’t write this blog today.

And now here we are. After 7PM. At 6:45, I had decided that it wasn’t happening and that it was fine. I could write it on Wednesday. There’s no rule that says I have to post this on a Tuesday.

I had no motivation, but I had made a commitment.

And it’s written down. “Ink it, don’t think it” works!

And I told the team. “Sharing with supportive friends” works too!

And I’m firing & re-wiring. Creating new neural pathways. Making intentions stronger than habits.

February is about motivation. Motivation is the driving force that pushes you to do the things. It can be a little tricky sometimes.

It’s probably the most asked about sport and exercise psych technique. How do I get motivated? How do I stay motivated? How do I motivate my team?

Motivation generally comes from two places: intrinsic & extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation comes from within. Like when you go for a run or lift weights just because it feels good.

Extrinsic motivation is derived from factors outside of you. Maybe you play a sport only for the scholarship.

What people are really looking for in motivation is achievement motivation. Motivation that stems from a strong desire to be successful. The pursuit of excellence. The persistence when times get tough. The resilience to keep going. It’s the type of motivation that drives you to achieve very difficult goals with repetitive and consistent efforts.

It’s writing a blog when you don’t feel like it. When there is no immediate reward. It’s working out when it’s not your fav and you don’t get a medal for it. It’s showing up for practice ready to go even when you feel defeated and know you’re not going to see playing time this season.

Achievement motivation is where it’s at. Achievement motivation is working toward your goals even when you know they won’t make you happy.

More next time about making achievement motivation happen!

Already motivated or wish you were? Let’s chat! A free mini session is a great place to start.

P.S. Feeling pretty proud that I knocked out this blog. Achievement motivation is the best!