What Typical Mindfulness Is Missing

What Typical Mindfulness Is Missing

Having a meaningful mindfulness practice has huge benefits on your physical fitness and well-being if done properly.

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · Jan 25th, 2022

Mindset Beginner
16 Mins


    There is no arguing the benefits of having a meaningful and uplifting mindfulness practice. When we are drowning in stress and feeling overwhelmed, having simple tools to help you stay afloat can be a life saver, literally! 

    Today there are many celebrities and motivational speakers who are very vocal proponents of various mindfulness practices like journaling, mediation, unplugged walks, to name a few. These practices are as old as time but have only recently become more popular and in some cases have even become a kind of ‘fad’. This is why there are many apps that are built solely to help us find this moment of calm in our hectic days. It is a sobering thought to think that our world is so busy and our lives are so chaotic that we need to make mindfulness practices fashionable for us to stay grounded.

    On Episode 190 on RNT Fitness Radio - Ivan, Akash and Ed talk about a few of the popular mindfulness practices and how they incorporate mindfulness into their day.

    Different Approaches To Mindfulness 

    Akash - “Journaling, is an anchor in my day, but the bottom line is: use it only if it works for you. Just because it works for me it doesn’t mean it will work for everybody. When I journal - I always spot the mistakes I happen to be making in my daily routine at the time of journaling. When I was reviewing the journal at the end of the year and reviewing my mood through the journal when I looked back a bit further in the entries I realised I could have known that certain things were going to happen if I had just acted on what I was observing in the journal. I realise now that it’s not enough to just journal. I need to review what I’ve written and act on my observations as well!
    I find that when I journal It’s my gut instinct, it captures the purest of my thoughts or my thinking.”

    Ivan - “The key with any practice geared to improve mindset or performance is to be really present with the activity. This then has the same effect on other pursuits. I never found any additional benefits from journaling or conscious meditation because I feel I enter meditative states throughout the day through various activities. For me it takes on a different structure like active meditation because even when you are moving, you are present and mindful. 

    Today a lot of people approach it like they would their to-do list and feel like they need to  tick off the boxes as they start their day. They wake-up, they meditate and they think, what should I do next? Oh now I need to journal and then now I need to go for a 10 min walk! They try to “optimise” this amazing morning routine thereby completely missing the point of all these routines. They jump from one thing to another without really engaging with the practice. You need to determine what actually works for you - not just because you know of some celebrity who follows a set morning routine.”

    Akash - “Weight training is big for Ed and myself, and while training I do enter a meditative state where nothing really exists except myself and the weight, I call this “Entering The Void” but of course this isn’t the case for everyone. It could be gymnastics or it could even be Zumba! 

    Having a period in the day that you can enter that state is where you can get all those benefits because that’s where you are really speaking to your core, that’s where you are at your truest self and you can really think according to your gut instinct. I get it from weight training from the dedicated time in the morning when I journal and on my unplugged walks - I can really get into that sort of flow, you really can get detached from your body and your body is just moving - and your soul is above.”

    Mindfulness Is Very Individualistic 

    Mindfulness practices are so personal and when you choose to start a practice you really need to think about what will work for you, what resonates with you. Not just blindly follow the current trend. 

    Ed - “This state of being in flow is the feeling that people chase with these sorts of practices, whatever action you need to do that allows you to get there, without drugs of course! Is a practice you should foster. It is very individualistic. 

    I’ve heard that some people find washing dishes can be a religious experience. It's all about the perception of the activity and how that action alters your own state. 

    People get too caught up in thinking - “Oh my friend meditates, so yeah I’ll do that!” You need to find what allows you to get into that state for your own lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be everything from the self-help checklist. When rattling through that checklist, you become so overwhelmed you end up doing nothing or you do it just to get it done. To get into that state you need the space to couple that with action. Introspection without action is literally like treading water, you make no progress.”

    Akash - “Yes, that is so true with respect to my health and my skin. Journaling helps me identify when I am going off track and I notice it most when my performance in the gym is not great or if my health isn’t optimal. Now that I am actually reviewing what I journal means that I am acting with intention on the practice instead of just being mechanical about it. And I am able to course correct before things go totally out of sync. 

    Ivan - “If you stay in your head all day long but not dealing with the issue at hand,  you are defeating the whole purpose of it. You need to face whatever the stress is head on, learn to lean in, and deal with what needs to be dealt with. If you let it fester and you just bury your head in the sand and expect it to go away on its own, that’s when you start encountering problems that manifest in other areas like binge eating, online shopping, gambling as all these things that give your brain a quick dopamine fix that feel good in the moment, but is usually something you regret later on. 

    It is also true that exercise can  be a crutch. If you’re trying to run away, or cycle away, or lift away your problems it's not going to help. Your problems are still going to be there once you come out of the session and all your endorphins have come down or if you’ve removed that high, you still have to deal with that stress.”

    Mindfulness and Physical Fitness 

    Combining introspection with action has been the winning formula with a lot of our members who have achieved remarkable transformations. 

    Ed - “If you have looked at the people who have had the best results. You will find that if they haven’t been able to get their steps in or get to their training sessions - they will reflect on it and the following week they will have done something about it and put something in place to achieve their goals. 

    For others who don’t get such amazing results - there is introspection but without action. They could have written in their journals every single morning saying they have the same issue, but they don’t take action!  

    Some people like adopting the ‘I’m a victim’ identity; they find a strange comfort in that. But if they can identify that and then realise that it is actually holding them back they can open themselves up to being in control and taking responsibility for their own progress. It can be scary at first but at the same time it can be empowering. 

    Taking ownership of the journey is what really differentiates people who really transform from the people who just get a bit of weight loss.” 

    Ivan - “This is probably why a lot of mindfulness people never get in shape, nothing is going to improve your mindset more than getting into the shape of your life. Of course we are fitness professionals so it could be that we are approaching this from a rather biased point of view. But it is amazing to see someone come in feeling timid and thinking they can never achieve anything. They start working with us and all of a sudden, they achieve things that are far beyond their expectations or imaginations. They then take those same principles of training and apply them in all other areas of their life. 

    We have seen that people have the capacity to not just go there but also control themselves on their way out. They can orchestrate themselves out of that suffering and use those principles everywhere else.” 

    Akash - “You have to change your whole way of being to be in the shape of your life. If you do it properly with the right principles in the right trajectory you will fundamentally change who you are - in the long term you can’t keep bingeing on biscuits, you can’t keep gambling your money away, you can’t keep relying on drugs when you are stressed out. You have to change the way you are and that will then change the way you deal with anything in your life.” 

    The Physical Is The Vehicle 

    Akash - “The physical is the vehicle for the highest self. In order to activate all these amazing things you have to have a strong foundation. Your body carries your organs, your brain, your soul, everything. If that’s not functioning optimally, trying to access all these higher states is always going to be a little bit harder.” 

    Ivan - “You want your vehicle to be like a Mcclaren! Then you can transcend into those states much more effectively. If you fall ill (this can happen to very healthy people too) being fit, healthy and resilient stacks the odds in your favour meaning you can bounce back far more quickly.,  

    If being the most ripped person in the world isn’t your goal, it doesn’t matter. You have to find your priority. If you are the best version of you, you can be the best version for all those around you. Even if you don’t want to do it for yourself (which you absolutely should) you should do it for the ones you love.”

    Balancing The Systems 

    There are over 40 neurotransmitters throughout the human body but to keep things very simple, we are going to discuss the interrelationship between dopamine and serotonin.

    Dopamine is responsible for creating that motivation, drive or “wanting” behaviour and is the rocket fuel for high performers. It’s what allows them to get so much done but if not countered by enough serotonin, leads to burn out, unhappiness and emptiness.

    Serotonin is what allows us to relax, express emotions, be grateful and just enjoy the moment. Too much serotonin without enough dopamine and you run into a lot of procrastination, minimal drive and a huge struggle to get things done.

    This is why engaging in a serotonin enhancing activity at the end of a hard work day is very helpful. It allows us to reflect, unwind, enjoy our time with loved ones while enabling us to sleep. Having both systems optimised is the key for high performance 

    Ivan - “If you always run on dopamine you will burn out - if you don't have anything to counter that.”

    Ed - “If you are struggling it is so useful to  go back to the basics, are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water? Are you exercising hard in some form that is enjoyable to you? 

    If you have your basics nailed you don’t need the extra bits.

    It’s so simple but that’s what makes it so hard.”

    The Link Between Sleep And Screen Time 

    If you have a good routine and all your basics are in place but you are still unable to sleep, then taking a look at how you use your screens will be the next thing you should be considering.  

    Ivan - “If your whole day is not great. You aren’t getting sunlight, you are eating garbage, you’ve woken up at 11am then you are going to struggle to sleep not because of the screens but because of what you have been doing throughout the day.

    Engaging with your phone before going to bed can be disruptive to your sleep, not only because of all the notifications and the messages, but also due to the blue light that it emits. Whenever blue light enters our eyes, melatonin (the hormone responsible for allowing us to fall asleep) production also decreases making it that much harder to fall asleep.”. 

    Making Health A Priority 

    This is why it all comes back to your priorities. As Fredrickk Nietzche says:

    “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” 

    If you have a clear and solid ‘why’ you will find a way to make health a priority. This is the reason so many RNTers who are extremely busy and time strapped - working long hours with busy young families still find a way to get their steps and make their training sessions because they have made it their priority.  

    This is because they have a really deep ‘why’ that keeps them focused. 

    Ed - “Even if you feel you don’t have the money or the energy to train, try linking those behaviours to something that is your priority. You will manipulate things in your life to support something that is a priority. For example - if you want to be the best parent and be there for your children for as long as you possibly can you will make it your priority and start making the changes necessary. 

    Be brutal about what your priorities are, don’t just think about what your priorities should be, instead really look at what they are and what you spend your money on. They will show what they actually are not what you want them to look like.”

    This is why having a mindfulness practice like meditation or journaling is extremely beneficial as long as you actively engage with it and take action on the introspection. A deep and meaningful practice will throw up a red flag if you are veering off course and will guide you back to focusing on the basics before your health and wellness becomes severely compromised.
    Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

    Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-selling book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

    Read Story

    Are you ready to transform your body in 2024?

    Take our scorecard to find out if RNT is a fit in under 10 minutes.

    Take The Free Quiz

    Read Chapter One For Free

    Start reading our Amazon best-selling book today and apply our five-phase methodology to feel, look and perform at your best.

    Start Reading Now

    Are you ready to start your transformation journey in 2024?

    Enquire Now