I used to always crank up the music when I went berserk in the gym. I could feel my strength rising as the sounds pounded on my bones. It was madness and my performance benefited greatly from it.
A few months ago, however, I quit my habit of listening to music during my workouts and I don’t see myself going back any time soon. No more earphones. Just ambient sounds or whatever bullshit radio music is being played if I don’t train early in the morning. I don’t hear any of it anyway. I’m way too focused—focused on my breath.
That’s why I no longer listen to music while I lift weights: I need to hear my breath. This is so key for peak performance, especially when I squat, press, or deadlift. I listen to my breath to anchor my awareness in my body.
Do me a favor next time you hit the gym: Listen closely to your breath for an entire workout and then tell me that your form wasn’t noticeably better. Probably not going to happen. For hearing your breath while you do heavy lifting enhances your focus, performance, and motor learning.
That’s it. There’s no more to it. I’m not going to cite any studies. Your own experience is all that matters here. Try it out. Stop listening to stimulating music and start listening to your breathing body. You’ll find that it has the potential to stimulate you even better (although it might initially require some practice in bodily self-awareness). Work out harder with a cooler mind.
The one habit I have kept and will keep dearly, though, is blasting music on my way to the gym. I still appreciate the pump and motivation it gives me.
In case you’re interested, this is my #1 pre-workout song, which has been my favorite for years. Better than any fucking supplement. Here comes the pain…
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