Johnnie O. Jackson shares the hardcore truth on the importance of focus – calling it the single most determining factor in bodybuilding success.

What separates a pro bodybuilder from everyone else? Genetics? Certainly to some degree. Drugs like steroids? This is a misleading factor in the true success of a bodybuilding athlete. The true difference between a bodybuilding legend and the many aspiring who miss the mark comes down to focus. A bodybuilder like Phil Heath or Ronnie Coleman combine all of their strengths into one singular focus beyond what any normal person perceives possible. That’s how they became Olympia legends. In our latest episode of Hardcore Truth, Johnnie O. Jackson breaks down the importance of focus and tips on how to improve your mental sharpness while training.

Whether you are a pro bodybuilder, aspiring novice bodybuilder, or just someone looking to get healthier with daily exercise – focus is the biggest factor that holds us back from success. A large majority of Americans are overweight and unhealthy. This isn’t because exercise is extremely challenging. It’s because in today’s day and age – it’s hard to focus on something. Especially if it’s something that you don’t particularly want to do.

Of course, aspiring bodybuilders should, at the core, love training. But bodybuilders need to not simply train. They need to rearrange their entire lifestyle to sculpt their physique. This requires such an incredible amount of focus that only a rare few can do it. This is true for all successful pro athletes in all sports. Johnnie O. Jackson understands this – and it’s part of how he was able to build a reputation as one of the strongest bodybuilders currently living.

While the concept of focus might seem like an abstract innate ability – it’s also a tactic that we can work on and train just like a muscle. The more we train our ability to focus, the more we can find success in what we aspire to do. That’s why Johnnie O. Jackson is sharing his key tips on how to focus in bodybuilding – especially for those who struggle to stay in the right mindset.

The biggest key piece of advice Johnnie O. Jackson shares is to focus on yourself first and foremost. This may be extra challenging if you have a partner, spouse, or children. But despite this – an aspiring bodybuilder needs basically learn how to balance being selfish with the rest of what life throws at you. For example, Jackson believes that far too many weightlifters focus on what other people are doing in the gym. They may be judging their form, or perhaps in awe of how much another person can lift. This is all wasted energy and takes focus away from your main goal – to train in the gym.

Johnnie O. Jackson recommends putting away the phone and learning how to completely ignore other members in the gym. Sure, it’s okay to be inspired if the guy next to you is Ronnie Coleman throwing up massive lifts with a massive physique. But watching that will only take you so far. It’s through consistent training, adapting, and learning that you can reach those same levels. That all requires singular focus to achieve.

Johnnie O. Jackson also emphasizes learning to focus on your diet. Yes, this is a major factor in building your ideal physique. But once you start to nail your diet, your physique will start to show huge changes. This will encourage you to train harder and improve even more. It helps you more easily focus when your diet is correctly matching your training. It creates a cyclical effect. What was once hard to focus on becomes easier the more each part of your bodybuilding lifestyle builds on the other.

Lastly, Johnnie O. Jackson also cannot stress how important it is to focus on the mirror. Where in other walks of life this would be seen as vanity, for bodybuilding this is a necessity. Practice posing and really focus on how you look in the mirror. This helps identify weak points, which can then help you direct your focus to more specific areas for further improvement. Not enough bodybuilders put focus on posing – and it shows when they step onto stage.

You can watch Johnnie O. Jackson go into full detail about how to improve focus in bodybuilding by watching the latest episode of Hardcore Truth above. And don’t forget to swing by every Thursday for new episodes!

Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.