In the context of exercise, greater awareness means more choice. Traditional exercise tends to be cut and dried—you’re either strong enough to lift the weight or you’re not. The gauge of success is situated outside of self-awareness in the form of age-appropriate standards. If you meet the standard, that’s good; if you don’t, not so good. Choice is extremely limited in this model. But the sensation of moving a weight is only a fraction of the sensory experience offered by an exercise. When you begin to recognize how many choices are available outside the "standard," that’s often when you begin to experience exercise as fun.
The only standard valued by Mindful Personal Training is the present moment. Contained within each Mindful Personal Training moment is the guidance to recognize what’s going on inside you while you’re engaged with sensation. If you can't move the weight, what does that feel like? Are you even feeling at all, or has your sense of presence been completely consumed by thoughts of doubt or self-criticism? If you can move the weight easily, have you "checked out," thinking about your next appointment or what you have on your to-do list? And in each moment, what signals are being sent by your body? Sensitivity to these signals can help you protect yourself from strains or other injuries.
This is the type of self-awareness Mindful Personal Training cultivates. Yes, your heart, muscles, and bones will be strengthened. Your balance and your functional mobility will improve. But more significantly, your ability to be aware of the present moment will increase. The scope of your awareness will also grow. You may even begin to recognize patterns within your internal environment while in the gym that directly correlate to your life outside the gym.
Each Mindful Personal Training session is customized based on your level of awareness and how you happen to feel that particular day. A Mindful Personal Trainer’s job is to help you become aware of your internal environment and then guide you through exercises that challenge you appropriately. If you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed, training may include stretching and guided meditation. If you’re feeling unfocused or frazzled, yoga might be what you need. But if you feel great and really want to work your body, a Mindful Personal Trainer can safely guide you through a challenging workout worthy of any CrossFitter.
Over the years, Ben has trained close to 500 clients in individual or group-based sessions. Currently, he conducts two types of training sessions in Friendship Heights Maryland. Mindful Personal Training is one-on-one training out of the Wisconsin Place Community Center. Mindful Warrior Training, usually one-on-one, is more rigorous and is designed to mentally, physically, and spiritually prepare an individual for military service.