One of the benefits of going to the gym is the social aspect. It is a good place to find like-minded fitness enthusiasts for a little friendly competition or accountability checks. When you aren’t there, your fitness buddies know it and call you on it, too. Unfortunately, the social aspect of the gym can also be a distraction. Without proper focus it is easy to spend so much time being social that little time is left for working up a sweat. Here are some tips for staying focused.

Time for a selfie after a long trainingMake a no phone zone

In his book, Passage Meditation, Eknath Easwaran discusses the value of one pointed attention. That is giving your entire focus to the task at hand. At the gym let your focus be on your workout. Try leaving your phone in your locker or car so you are not distracted by calls, texts or tweets during exercise. Not only will you improve your workout you will also up your courtesy quotient. Talking on the phone or snapping selfies at the gym is a definite don’t. If you have to bring in your phone because you are using music or a fitness app set clear limits with yourself and honor them.

Set a daily goal

One way to remain focused at the gym is to have a clear plan for what you want to accomplish when you are there. Just getting to the gym deserves a pat on the back but you can earn hearty applause if you come armed with a goal. For example, decide in advance how many reps and sets or how many miles you want to complete. It is easier to stay focused on what you came to do at the gym when you arrive with an actual plan.

Take a break

We live in a rush and hurry world. Take your gym time as a chance to unplug from the demands of social media. Instead, focus on being in the moment as a strategy for slowing down and restoring your emotional energy while you exercise.

Sign up

If you still find it tough to stay on task sign up for a class or get help from a trainer. The periods between sets are often where most of tend us to talk a little longer than we planned. Eliminating those periods or using a trainer to make the time more structured can help you stay focused. You can always ask gym friends to join you for coffee or a smoothie after class.