I used to listen to Bebel Gilberto in the gym until everybody complained. Apparently I’m the only one who wants to listen to bossa nova while working out. Nowadays the speakers blare a reliable cacaphony of popular music by long-haired degenerates and big-bootied minxes. Groan.
Aside from the obvious, the difference between Bebel Gilberto and say, Nicki Minaj, is that Gilberto’s beats are usually notated in 2/4 time which is characteristic of a relaxing, side-to-side, “swaying” beat. Minaj’s music is primarily 4/4 which is a straight-ahead, charging beat that you can bob your head to.
Most people prefer working out to a 4/4 beat because it increases arousal state which is a fancy way of saying it psychs you up. In the world of sports psychology there are numerous divergent theories about how arousal affects performance, ranging from the plausible to the absurd.
I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole but I will point out that most research in the area is based on the assumption that athletes’ arousal states are low in training and high in competition.
This is a very problematic idea for CrossFitters for whom the line between training and competition is blurred. I would make the case that in a completely randomized programming environment you can’t train, because training presupposes deliberation and planning. If every workout is a random beat-down then you basically have to psych yourself up, as a matter of survival. At TwinTown we don’t like random. The foundation of our programming is progression and repetition. Whereas civilians exercise…athletes train, and we see an athlete in everybody.
So how do you meet us in the middle? You can’t do much about the music in the gym, but you are in control of your own mindset. The biggest thing you can do to affect mindset is to think beyond the workout that’s in front of you. If you have a clearly established goal you can treat your time in the gym as focused training, rather than mere exercise. When you set foot in the gym, remind yourself of your goal. Ask yourself, what am I training for?
When you find a strong, goal-directed motivation, you won’t need to psych yourself up anymore. You will be able to manage your arousal state and train from a place of calm and focus, rather than desperation and anxiety.
If you haven’t yet emailed your 2015 goals to Coach Brock it’s not too late. Email email@example.com with your top three fitness goals for 2015. Let’s train!