Strength training provides the obvious physical benefits, but it also can provide us with some knowledge that can be translated into everyday life. The lessons that you learn in the gym parallel the lessons you learn in life.
What sort of lessons you ask?
1. Multitasking doesn't work.
The next time someone tells you they are great at multi-tasking, resist the urge to nod and agree. Instead, ask them to prove it somehow. Nobody ever gets anything decent done by focusing on a lot of different things at the same time. The truth is, if you are trying to get a workout in while chatting up the barbell Barbie dolls, texting, changing your music on your iPod and constantly looking around to see if anyone is watching you squat, you are losing the game.
Multi-tasking, a.k.a, having no discipline, is a loser’s mindset. Instead of freaking out about everything, now I just hit my gym with one thought on my mind - getting in the best workout I can. I leave my phone and my life at the door. That way I can record on a piece of paper my workout, and it is black and white whether I improve or not. Sure, you can use apps, but I like to keep my focus 100% on the task at hand with no distraction. I find it kinda hard to operate my cell when I’m covered in sweat and shaking after just about killing myself on the pull up bar anyway. I have found that conventional gyms are just too distracting, so I have set up my own personal gym at home which gives me ultimate control (and a million other benefits).
2. Strength training builds confidence.
Just like in Star Wars when Darth Vader picks up one of his minions in a choke grip and throws him into a wall, when you are strong, you feel like a boss. Instead of reading books about how to get confidence, how about simply becoming a confident person? No more “fake it till you make it”, just make it by becoming a better person.
When you are leaner, stronger, fitter, faster and more agile, your confidence naturally goes up because you are a better person. I have found that when I improve a new personal best, my confidence goes through the roof. Not in a egotistical way, but I know that I am now officially stronger than I was last month. I am now stronger than x% of the population. If all other things are equal, I can now beat more people in a fist fight if it ever comes down to that.
3. Persistence is key.
Even if I was to use nothing but the cheapest, nastiest machines in my home gym, I would still get far better results than if I never worked out. At times I have been guilty of creating a complex plan to achieve a goal, and the plan never got worked because it involved too many variables that I couldn’t control.
Instead of setting ridiculously complex plans that I never follow, I have a mantra that action is the most important quality. I create easy to follow plans that are simplistic, and effective. I reassure myself daily that I am an action man.
4. My problems are minuscule.
When you’ve got a fully loaded barbell on your back, all you are concerned about is getting back upright without letting anything go. When you are pushing beyond your capabilities, your other problems in life just vanish. Someone bitching about you in the office? Who gives a damn - their life is obviously extremely unfulfilling. Just lost a days work because your computer crashed? No worries, you’ll get it back - problems just happen, and working out hard makes those problems far less daunting.
Your workouts are a chance to escape from life and get a new perspective when you return to work, study, your kids, whatever it is you do daily. Often my problems seem to be very easy to solve and a lot less important after a workout. Kind of like in Fight Club when Brad Pitt says: “After fighting, everything else in your life has the volume turned down. You could deal with anything”.
5. Physical strength leads to mental and emotional strength.
The very nature of having to workout every day or every second day makes you mentally stronger. Creating a powerful new habit is something that most people don’t have the discipline to do. Sure, they might start a new job or buy a new car, but when you make a conscious decision to become stronger and leaner, you are forging a new path for your life.
The more often I workout, the tougher my mind becomes. I am a more powerful negotiator, I am more fun and exciting to be around and making other changes to my life is easier. If I want to learn how to play the trumpet or become fluent in Korean, it’ll be relatively easy after spending years training myself to life hundreds of pounds of weight.
The benefits of strength training have been incredible for me, however it is only after I have done it for a while that I see these benefits coming to fruition. What sort of benefits have you found? Except for the superhuman strength and a jaw dropping body?