Finding Focus

If you follow me on Twitter you already know that I spent a few days with the amazing Bob Harper! I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again…I can’t tell you how amazing both Bob & Jillian are. They continue to foster amazing friendships with both Hannah & me. We both couldn’t be more thankful & blessed.

It’s no secret that I’m slightly obsessed with Crossfit these days. I go 5-6 days a week to a Crossfit box here in NYC called 212Crossfit. Seriously, I’m so dialed into this sport…because let me tell you it is a sport!! Whew!! Anyway, I would have NEVER even tried Crossfit if it wasn’t for Bob. Many of you know that he is equally in love with Crossfit. I’ll be honest when I first thought of trying Crossfit it scared me to DEATH!! Those people look like they walked out of a scene from the movie Rocky! Well, thankfully Bob knows me so well he coaxed me into trying it. It took one class & I drank the Kool-Aid.

Bob was in town promoting the finale of The Biggest Loser season 13 & asked me to join him in a Crossfit workout. For the two days he was in town I had the pleasure of working out with him side by side. Besides the fact that he looks AMAZING & he is a beast in the gym I was blown away by his focus. I’m telling you when he was going through the daily WOD (Crossfit term for Workout of the Day) it was like no one else was in the room. His focus was truly inspiring to watch. I will tell you that was one of the most important lessons I learned from him while on the ranch. So many times in the past I would go to the gym and just “dial it in”. I would watch other people or watch the clock praying the time would go by faster. I was the TOTAL opposite of focus.

Bob used to always start our workouts on the ranch by centering our minds. He would remind us why we were there & what we were trying to accomplish that week. When we were in the throws of a tough workout there was no chatting or laughing…we were soldiers getting the work done. I’ll admit over the last year I had forgotten that a little. I’m so thankful I was reminded again how important focus is when your working out. It’s not about just going through the motions…it’s about pushing yourself to be better…otherwise, what’s the point?? Right??

I’m going to strive for better focus, because I deserve it. I want to be more focused because I want to be a better athlete. Lastly, I want to be focused because just “dialing it in” isn’t how I want to live my life!!!

Are there areas in your life where you want to be more focused?? Let’s chat about it in the comments!!


Olivia xxxooo

36 replies on “Finding Focus”

You hit the nail on the head with this post Olivia! I need to be more focused with my workouts as well as more dedicated if we are being honest. Being a runner I know the importance of cross training, weight training, and incorporating yoga and pilates into the mix yet I neglect those things. Thanks for the gentle reminder that I need to stay focused on what my goal is and set my mind to achieving that when I go to work out.

How is it possible that you always know exactly what is going on in my life?! Crazy business.

I was just talking with a friend about this today. Focus, what’s that?! Ha. I have a million things on my plate right now – all that I’m right in the middle of. It’s like I’m so overwhelmed and so stressed out with all of this that I don’t even care anymore. My focus is gone… I’m so exhausted that I’m literally doing everything I can do put one foot in front of the other to get this done.

Marathon training – going horribly. I’m so busy trying to stay focused on the rest of my life that I’ve pushed that off. And I don’t even understand how it’s possible to “give up” or lose focus on something that you want so bad. But apparently, it is. And when I do run, I hate it! I hate running alone, I hate that I’m not in shape anymore, and I hate that I can’t run as much as I used to, I hate that no one is really supporting me with this. You’d think that would make me want to work harder… No, it just makes me angry and frustrated, so I don’t do it.

How do I get this focus back? How do I overcome these obstacles to push through and achieve all of the goals I have set? Especially this marathon… No focus or motivation whatsoever. Help me get my focus back, please! Any words of wisdom would be fabulous! 🙂

FOCUS POCUS! This is the story (struggle) of my life. I was diagnosed with ADD as a child, and it still haunts me as an adult in many areas of my life. How to maintain focus is a daily struggle, however, when I’m working out, I can easily get ‘in the zone’ and focus, it’s like a miracle worker for both mind and body. I tell myself, “never stop, for the rest of your life.” Even if I take breaks from working out, I get right back on track because I know it helps me so much from mental attitude to staying physically fit.

The focus I need now is working towards my goal: I tend to ‘stop’ before I get there, every single time. It’s like I won’t let myself get fit and loose the extra weight on myself.

I’m so thrilled you and your sister do this blog, I just found it. You two were my inspiration on BL, I wish I knew you in person! Thanks for all that you do to inspire us. I love the Instagram photos as well!

This is one thing that I struggle with , but I didn’t realize it. I thought about what I think about during a workout. It’s usually how much longer until I’m done. My goal for tomorrow’s bootcamp class is to focus on doing everything the best that I can. I always love the filling of accomplishment and the energy I have after working out. I just hope this is the missing piece to me really enjoying working out from start to finish.

Dialing it in is what I tend to do a lot. But it’s gotten me this far so I can’t complain. I started at size 20 and am going into a size 12 finally after much frustration.

Maybe it’s time to rethink my workout system though and find a way to start focusing. I have no idea how to go about achieving this. Does plugging into a Nano count? Not sure if at 61 if I am limber enough for yoga?

Thanks for all your inspiring articles, I don’t run but I did enjoy your articles getting ready for the marathon. Any ideas anyone can throw my way would be appreciated.

Good luck to us all!

What a great reminder that there is a difference between “dialing it in / getting it done” and truly focusing!! Because we do want to rock it, kill it, do it well! Great post Olivia! Keep it up!!

You must be physic! Because this blog came at the perfect time!

I have new trainer (alas not the powerhouse of Bob or Jillian) and she is great. While we were just getting to know each other during a session, she did say something to me that absolutely stuck with me all week, It was such an innocent statement during our workout about how I am feeling like a failure when I live my life in constant comparison of others. (You know, she lost more weight than me, his diet was cleaner, she stuck to her mileage plan… wha wha wha!) The trainer said to me, “Who told you you’ve failed?” Cause you believe in you, and I believe in you and we’re gonna hit that goal together and that is all that matters. “Nothing is gained without effort.” The real question is Mariah, “How hard are you willing to work?”


I instantly ordered a Go Sport ID slim fit bracelet and had it engraved for me to wear as a daily reminder. It reads “Nothing is gained without effort. How hard are you willing to work?” Just looking at it on my wrist is incredibly motivating for me to stay on goal, my goals and no one else’s! Having it everyday keeps me dialed in.

The trainer ordered one for her goals. It reads “Do not be afraid.”

Olivia & Hannah – Thanks for always helping us push ourselves forward. You show us the way through the good and the bad. The positive examples you set lead me to believe I can do this! I can make my summer goal of 170! I can and I will!
Thank you from my entire body, even the sore parts, for all your support!

This is why I love the Fitspiration community! Not only do I get a reminder from Olivia to keep focus, But from the readers also. A reminder that everyone’s journey is not the same. To not be distracted by other people’s goals. And do not let yourself be discouraged. “You can’t be upset by the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do!”

I love the idea of inspiring yourself with your bracelet. I’m still trying to decide what I would want on mine. Loved the two examples you shared. Anyone else?

I’ve definitely been struggling w/ this lately. I am a month away from my first marathon, and while I am excited to do it, I am getting a little bored with the same training program and eating every single week. I’m really working to focus on the marathon and know that I can completely switch things up when I’m done.

Hi Olivia!

First of all, I want to say that I LOVE that you Crossfit! The Kool-aid tastes so good doesn’t it?For me, it was just what I needed to push me out of my plateau and it took me to a whole other level of fitness. I thought I was in great shape…until I tried Crossfit… Everyone says fitness/health is a lifestyle, but Crossfit is a fitness cult which I willingly joined, and never want to leave.

One of the things that I do to maintain focus is break down the reps into smaller sets and then listen to my body and take a certain number of breaths, then get right back into the next set. Trust me, it made those 150 wall balls in 12.4 sooo much easier. Slow and steady, but consistent, and then a push right at the end because I know I can collapse on the floor after. Best feeling ever! (I also get a bit of my focus and motivation through trying to impress my hot coach 😉

One question I have for you, I know you also do spin classes, and other fitness classes and running. If you are training 5-6 times at Crossfit as well, how does your body handle it? Do you ever get sore? Do you use any type of recovery shake/supplements? Do you take recovery days? What does your weekly workout schedule look like? I am having difficulty balancing my love of working out with the right amount of recovery to allow me to perform the way I want to. Any suggestions?


I have just recently re-focused my training and my mind. I am 6 weeks today away from having ACL replacement surgery so I decided to really concentrate on strengthening my legs so that my recovery will go that much smoother. I have a written list of exercises that I do 3 days a week plus I do spin class 3 days and a pilates class once a week. On days that I don’t go to the gym I do incline training on my treadmill at home. Before I start any of the exercises/classes I will sit with my Nano on and do a quick 3-5 minute “meditation” just to clear my brain of any issues that I may have and this tends to really help me focus on the next 45-60 minutes of what I need to do to get stronger.
Sometimes losing focus is not always a bad thing because when you realize you have lost it, regaining it can be so much better for you.
Keep up the awesome work, both you & Hannah are inspirations for so many that its good to know that you are human just like the rest of us!!!

Stacee, did you something for your Nano that helps you during this meditation? Could you direct as to where you bought it from, thanks for your help.

Jan, the only thing that I do with the Nano is play some soothing music that helps to get me calm. I like to listen to classical guitar music but use whatever you like that is calming. Some people like to do the meditation without any music but the gym I go to is a bit too loud to allow me the quiet so that is why I use the music. When I am at home I dont need the music but I have become so accustom to using it that it is part of my routine.
Hope this helps.

Thanks for the help, Stacee, I know so little about yoga and meditation. I thought this was guidance on how to meditate! LOL. Music I know, this helps me get started 🙂 Thanks so much for the help!

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve had three ACL reconstructive surgeries (with MCL and meniscus repair too) and it wasn’t too bad. If you have any questions or want to know what it’s like let me know. I will share two important tips: stick to your physical therapy and work hard there ongoing, relentlessly, and regularly. Physical therapy helped me more than anything else and was worth it’s weight in gold! Second, related to that, move your knee as much as you can right away. For the first surgery, I rested it and developed too much scar tissue that severely limited my range of motion. I couldn’t get my knee straight even when someone sat on it! So I had to have another arthroscopic surgery to remove scar tissue. Subsequent surgeries had my knee moving immediately – I even woke up from the anesthesia in one with my knee rocking in a motion machine and it helped so much!

Good luck to you and you’re being so smart to get as strong as you can before going in…best wishes!

JJ, thanks for the words of encouragement. The only thing I am wondering about is how soon I can get back to doing some of the things I did before the surgery. My injury stems from soccer and I know that I won’t be playing again in 2012. But I certainly would like to be on the golf course by July (riding a cart, not walking the full 18) but not sure if that is reasonable to strive for. If you have any suggestions as to how you progressed that would be great – guidelines are always something I look at.

YOU and your sister keep me focused 🙂 I would love to look as awesome as you do!!!
I don’t know if you guys read the comments or not, but it would literally mean the WORLD to me if you could check out my blog, because I wrote about you and Hannah and how you changed me! I love you guys so much! Thanks for inspiring me!! I’m sorry for asking though, I do feel bad xxx

This is a great post. I agree that sometimes I get to the gym and am not 100% focused on my workout. And on those day I leave the gym feeling like I barely did anything. For me, it helps to come to the gym with a plan on what I’m suppose to accomplish. When I come without direction I never work out as well.

Thanks for writing this Olivia. I admit I hadn’t thought about ‘focus’ in this way before. What I love about Bob is that he talks about your form in your workout and that he always says I don’t care how many reps you do, or what weight you use just get your form right and commit to this process! That has been huge for me.
I am scared of Crossfit. I would LOVE to be that strong. Perhaps I can work towards one day being able to do it 🙂 I am guessing you need to have a pretty good level of fitness as a starting off point? If fitness is a scale, and crossfit is a 10, and not working out at all as a 0, then I’m a 6, lets just say that. 🙂 Haha.

Thanks again for the article!

Seriously, girl, this was just what I needed today! All too often I head to the gym after work and just “dial it in.” Just hit the elliptical, burn the calories and get home, done and done. I’ve been striving to remind myself that my time is VALUABLE and I owe it to myself to kick some ass and constantly strive for my better best. Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and worth giving full effort to.

Oh, and ps, as a fellow opera singer (no, I’m not THAT renee…lol), thanks for being inspiring. I really respect and draw inspiration from you. 🙂 Love you, woman!

Thank you Olivia for sharing and naming the problem of “dialing it in.” I don’t think I had realized or even thought about it as a focus issue. But I have definitely reflected multiple times after a workout that I wasn’t giving it my all and was almost just marking my moves (marking is an old dance term we used that basically means dialing it in). I have found that when I work out by myself, I ALWAYS lack and don’t push myself but when I have the social desirability of others around me, I work very much harder! So, I do a lot of small group training at my gym. I wish I didn’t have to spend the money on small group training because I could do it myself but I just really feel like that’s what I need right now. But on the other hand, I also feel bad about myself that I can’t do anything on my own – it’s almost like a circle of despair. I wonder if understanding more that it’s about focus will help me with this…

Hi Olivia. I LOVE this post, as I too am ALL ABOUT FOCUS! It’s not that you cant have fun at the gym, but you are there to do a job and to do it with 100% of what you’ve “got to give”. I am not a water cooler type chatty person to begin with but even more so when there is a task at hand. My Word of the Week is BALANCE…I wrote about it on my blog this week and got great feedback from friends and strangers alike.

I would love to try Crossfit one day…I still have a ways to go on “My Journey” before I am ready for that. I did start Cage Fitness this Jan. and I love it, totally addicted…great 30 min of extense cardio/core workout – Focus required :-). I was cruising along with my training for my first Tough Mudder (you KNOW what this is Mrs BL!) and then had some emergency health issues arise. Feb 26th my husband rushed me to the ER – had emergency gall bladder surgery and while they were doing the ultra sound for that procedure, they found a huge tumor on my uterus…which I had major surgery for just 31 days later. The tumor was 15X14X11 and weighted in at 720 grams..yikes..I am in the process of recovery but started walking this week..its a slow go (literally) but I am just happy to be moving again. I hope to start running next week and back to Cage in a few weeks. I only have 7 lbs til 1-derland…but I am not a slave to the scale anymore. I’ve lost 73 lbs over the last 18 months and I know that an active life is the ONLY life for me.
Thanks for being a HUGE part of my Journey (and Hannah too!!)…I was pulling for the 2 of you since episode 1 of your season.
I wish you all the best (congrats on the 1/2 by the way…You Go Girl!)…hope you’ll check out my blog sometime..some funny, yet hopefully inspirational stuff! Take Care

Being overweight and depressed is hard. Losing the weight and getting healthy is hard. Choose your hard. Keep inspiring Olivia! You have found your calling!! Much love and respect.

You are so right, I have found myself incessantly watching how much time is left on the treadmill or bike. This morning a girl came around behind me at the free weights and started pounding these 35-40lb weights and I thought “wow she can really pump some weights” and found myself wanting to up my weights…yeah good idea, maybe. I think it helps to head to the gym with a plan and a great playlist (thank you for some great tunes) as I find it helps keep me focused.

I want to be more focused in my writing, both academic and creative. I’ve felt myself drifting and “dialing it in”, as you say, so very much lately. I’m inspired by your willingness to commit and focus. Keep it up!

You always the right things to say at the right time! (:

I slacked off so much in working out trying to get a healthier life. After I read this I told myself, I need to join a gym and start going daily. So, that’s what I did. (:

You are truly an inspiration, never forget that!


lately I’ve been in this very dark place and haven’t been myself in months because my weight has literally taken over ME. I have failed at yet another diet…I don’t know what else to do…I went into NYC Thursday to see a show and I got to meet one of my favorite I was walking through penn station to head home some guy walked towards me and screamed “lose some weight” and walked away….I didn’t say/or do anything bc I was too busy processing it through my did that really just happen? are people seriously that rude? I know its sad but it truly did ruin my night. Being in such a low place and now this?! It just really got to me and being nineteen years old I should want to go out and now I don’t want to do anything 🙁 I need to get FOCUSED. Thanks for another amazing blog Olivia <3 ugh I just wish I could have the BL experience. I want to go to the casting call..hopefully there will be one in NYC for season 14. xx

I’m sure you’re too busy to respond. But I also have been diagnosed with PCOS and was wondering if and how much the weight loss helped. I need to lose the weight anyway–and will–but I was just curious if it will help alleviate the issues I’m having. Thanks for your time.

I have PCOS as well. I am forever amazed at how common it truly is! I have recently dropped 40+ pounds and I have found a passion and focus in running that I truly had no idea was there.
I can tell you that many of my symptoms have been deminshed or even eliminated as I have pursued fitness and Health.
There is alot of depression associated with PCOS, as well as insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes. I have found that my blood sugar remains regulated and that my depressin is much more managable right now. Infact, insulin resistance actually hinders in weightloss, making much of our efforts futile. So regulating your body’s blood sugar and freeing your cells up so that they can process and burn fat instead of procesing just sugar and insulin, makes you into a well oiled machine of sorts:-)
I am no expert, but I hope my comment helps.

I need to focus on my upcoming finals and stop perusing the internet world!!! But seriously, I always have trouble focusing during workouts. I’m a college student, super Type A personality, and during my workouts I can’t seem to stop thinking about all the other things I have to do that day. Sometimes I stress myself out so much during my long runs that I actually leave right after I’m finished even if I was planning on staying longer because I’m scared of not completing my daily “to do” list. I waste so much time in other areas of my life, though, so I don’t know why all my responsibilities hit me at once at the gym! I need to better figure out how to use my time at the gym to refocus my mind and shut the outside world out, rather than continuing to worry and stress out about every little thing.

So true! I would always do the same thing, Olivia! Just dial it in at the gym and keep moving but never really focus on me. Now that I am taking it seriously, I focus on ME while I am working out, whatever I am doing! keep up the good work! You are seriously the biggest inspiration to me and biggest loser is something that is constantly on our tv, whether current or old seasons! It keeps me going!

My biggest need-for-focus place right now is searching for a job. I like the imagery of being a little soldier, sitting at Starbucks, ready to get. work. done. It’s hard to use my computer time wisely if I’m at home (I’d rather watch campy TV shows on Netflix than devote my attention to job websites), so I am learning to be intentional about my venue choice: what helps me focus?

(Also … amazing things can happen in coffee shops. Last night, I saw a friend of a friend arrive for a blind date and they sat so close to me that I couldn’t avoid overhearing their conversation. It was hilarious and it never would have happened if I’d been holed up in my parents’ basement, watching old episodes of Saturday Night Live on my computer.)

I’m also going to the gym right now and I have a goal (that still seems lofty): I want to get my 5km speed down to 30 minutes, from a current (terrible) 42 minutes. Having a clear goal is helpful when I’m trying to focus; so is reminding myself, when I want to stop, what it is that I want: my end goal, not just my finishing-today’s-workout goal.

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