I can vividly recall the first day I stepped into a gym. I was a 12 year old boy with big dreams of playing in the NFL.
I was excited but unsure what to do. So, I walk up to a trainer and say “hey, I just signed up and need some help. Could you show me the best exercises to develop my triceps” (I was convinced at the time that strong triceps would help me throw a football farther). He gave me a strange look then showed me the basic movements for tricep isolation. I started practicing and spent the next 6 hours maxing out on triceps push-downs… the iron bug bit me hard that day. I am 24 now and haven’t slowed down since. I joined the gym with the intention of getting stronger for football. Little did I perceive the impact it would have on life. Over the years, I have noticed many improvements that correlated nicely with how consistent I was in working out. And so I decided to write this short article to list just two of these benefits. Hope you enjoy and get motivated.
Increases self confidence: I didn’t even know what confidence felt like until I started lifting weights. Having a lack of confidence in oneself produces an apathetic outlook on life. You don’t set goals, take on hard challenges, or do anything risky. But why exactly does exercising produce so much confidence? Well, for starters it makes you look better. And when you look better, you feel better. If you aren’t happy with the condition of your body you will never feel comfortable with the person your are. Exercise also gives you physical strength which translates to mental strength. Nothing is more rewarding then setting a seemingly impossible goal on the bench press and finally crushing it one day. It’s a long road but the idea is to break that big goal into smaller and more manageable ones. Seeing yourself smash these small goals will instill a sense of accomplishment that will radiate to all parts of your life. Your body will also produce a surge of “feel good” neurochemicals such as dopamine and endorphins which will greatly reduce your level of stress and furthermore increase your confidence.
Creates discipline: My favorite. Strong discipline is the most important trait a person needs to be successful in life. The discipline you develop from working out stems from a skill that all gym goers need: goal setting and planning. If you don’t plan a goal you will never achieve it simply because you have no structured way of getting there. You also need to prioritize what you do. If you don’t prioritize anything in your day, are you really doing anything? No. You are just wasting time doing things that don’t contribute to a bigger picture. Prioritization is so important in exercise because without it you can actually be doing more harm than good (more on this later). For instance, if you hit a muscle group before it has fully recovered you will end up breaking down more muscle fibers. Then you need to figure out a way to hit nearby muscles without hitting the ones that are recovering. Then you need to figure out the optimal rotation (for example- hitting chest on Mondays, back on Tuesdays and so on) for your body. Poor planning in this department can be very damaging. For example, if your plan is to hit chest tomorrow, then hitting shoulders today would not be a good idea as most chest exercises activate the deltoids. Having sore deltoids will greatly reduce the amount of weight you can press for chest. You may instead plan to do chest the day after and to focus on exercises that do not activate the delts (such as flat bench dumbbell flys).
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