October 7, 2023

The Pros & Cons Of Zoning Out While Exercising


While Mojo aims for a party-like energy, the truth is – it’s a pretty challenging party. It’s a unique person who can repeatedly subject themself to a one-sided, high endurance game of “Simon Says” for 30 to 55 minutes. The benefits are undeniable, but Mojo is not for sissies! 

According to Robert Thayer, Ph.D., a psychology professor at California State, exercise can create either a tense or calm energy:

Tense Energy Tense energy is a state of high physical and mental energy, but also high physical tension. This state can be effective for getting work done, but it can quickly lead to tense tiredness, a negative state often associated with depression.
Examples of tense energy in a gym setting might include:

  • Overly aggressive or competitive feelings from the energy in the gym
  • Nervous or anxious energy over the difficulty of the regimen
Calm Energy Is a combination of a high physical and mental energy level, paired with low physical tension. The “calm state” offers more long-lasting energy and can be achieved with the right type of exercise”
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Endorphin boost
  • Increased focus and clarity
  • Deeper connection to your body.

It’s a delicate dance to find a challenging regimen that provides results-driven intensity without tense energy to muddle the experience. Thanks to our welcoming, non-competitive community, Mojo is one of the most calming, high-intensity classes out there! 

The science of zoning out during Mojo…Aka. The Shower Effect.
The shower effect is a phenomenon that explores the sweet spot on creativity, where your thoughts are anywhere but on the task at hand – which allows you to be more creative.

One of the side effects of a high-intensity class, or anything challenging, is the tendency to drift off to a calmer brain space now and then – otherwise known as “zoning out” (or showering. lol). While it may not sound like a good thing, it IS a good thing now and then. Focusing on one challenge for too long, can be overwhelming and lead to negative tension, which can lead to quitting. Drifting out now and then reduces stress levels and keeps us in a calmer state of mind, which keeps us moving. 

Do you feel more creative during class? Believe it or not, most of my blog ideas come to me while I am teaching. There is a science-based reason for it:

  • Exercise increases blood flow to the brain. This increased blood flow provides the brain with more oxygen and nutrients, which can boost cognitive function, including creativity.
  • Dance is a form of creative expression. When you dance, you are moving your body in new and interesting ways. This can help to stimulate your imagination and creativity.
  • HIIT is a challenging workout. When you’re challenged, your brain has to work harder. This leads to increased alertness and focus, which  boosts creativity.
  • The music and camaraderie of a Mojo class is inspiring. The upbeat music and energy help get us in a creative mood. 
  • When you’re focused on your workout, you’re less likely to be distracted by other thoughts or worries. This frees up your mind to be more creative.

Another reason I started Mojo is that the mundane repetition of jogging or lifting weights was mind-numbingly boring to me. Dancing my way to fitness has been a dream come true.

One of the best things about Mojo is that each playlist is a combination of new and old routines. The new ones keep us on our toes, and the old ones allow us the ability to add more power, intensity, and color to the moves. 

The drawbacks of zoning out…The combination of class familiarity and fatigue can send our innately lazy brains into autopilot. When our brain is not fully engaged, our body is forced to conserve energy as well. This can lead to a weak core and empty movements, aka. flapping and flailing. It can also lead to injuries stemming from poor form.

The solution? Try being more aware of your thoughts and living in the mojo-ment. After 10 years of being a Mojo regular, Lizzy says her #1 trick to her success with Mojo is that she listens and watches intently to all my cues throughout class. With so much focus on getting the most out of the moves, she is more apt to soak in the energizing beat of the music, the amazing energy of the women around her… and the gratitude she feels. 

Tips to help zone IN and get more out of your Mojo experience – LIVE and virtually:
  • Focus on being present, in the NOW. This also happens to be the #1 key to being happy overall.
  • Sing along! Studies show that singing is not only more fun but it also provides higher V02 benefits because it requires additional oxygen consumption, which can help to improve cardiovascular fitness.
  • Focusing on my cues helps you to stay centered and able to put more intensity and color into your movements.
  • Listen to the music. Let the music move you and inspire you. Close your eyes and really feel the music. 
  • Have FUN…Only two years ago, we were all aching to dance together as a community. Whether you are a virtual friend or LIVE friend, remember how LUCKY we are to dance and sweat together as a team.
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