Three things you should do for yourself in every training session, no matter what kind.

Here are three things I do with every client, every session, that are simple and have a firm scientific basis for implementation.

That means you can do them right away, and improve training immediately. These aren’t contestable facts, so no research links are included, but if you would like to learn more for yourself, you can follow your curiosity. I encourage you too.

1.) Breathe.

I use different breathing techniques (techniques is a fancy way for saying “ways”) to get what I am looking for. Breathing can happen pre-training, intra-exercise, or post-training. It depends on what someone needs, and what I need them to do or learn. But breathing practice is never optional. It is a window into stress response, stress management, and stress load. For some clients I call it “mandatory meditation”. For others it is about learning ab tension, and reducing neck/trap breathing. For others it is about improving breathing patterns. For others it is to relax mental tension and move more gracefully (sing or hum gently while doing an exercise). There is much in all strength and conditioning and fitness literature about breathing, so I won’t open the floodgates here. But it is a simple concept that must be applied individually and consistently, once intent and purpose is established.

2.) Sip water constantly.

Hydration can limit muscle contraction. I don’t bother expecting clients to remember to sip water, I tell them to during rest periods, or I stop periodically and tell them to get a drink. Hydration limits force production. It’s a no-brainer.

3.) Direct eye focus or gaze.

This is another thing picked up from neuroscience and teaching science. I don’t let a client’s gaze wander in movement. I direct it. In exercises where they are not moving through space (squat), I tell them where to look. In exercises that require movement through space (walking lunge) I direct their gaze where I choose to get the best movement pattern. I direct gaze up or down, near or far, or ask them to look with a movement. It all depends on what I am trying to get them to do.

A wandering gaze is a wandering mind. And a wandering, unfocused mind learns movement and technique slower.


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  1. Rebecca says:

    To echo point #3 – a wandering gaze often leads to distracted thoughts which can lead to injuries. Most of the times I’ve hurt myself performing a weighted movement was because I was momentarily distracted and lost my form. Having a purposeful gaze is so important!