Strength Training Lessons That Have Changed My Life and Fitness.
Strength training has taught me many valuable lessons that have changed my life and fitness. Here are a few of the many gifts Ive gained from years of weight training.
I don’t know about you, but strength training helps keep me sane. Nowadays much of my time is spent working on my online programs or within my wellness business and while I love it, there are days I want to throw in the towel, get in my car and drive to the beach, surround myself with seashells and sunshine, and live off the grid for the remainder of my life. I battle anxiety from time to time, and strength training is an effective remedy. Any anxiety I have can be transferred out of my body and into the weight training floor. When I have a oh my gosh I’m going to explode moment, I step into the gym for some weight training-therapy.
You can likely add to this list, but here are some observations and lessons I’ve learned over the years from strength training. It’s a wonderful teacher indeed, and it’s many gifts have changed my life and fitness.
Strength training teaches honesty. You can’t fake a deadlift: you either pull it, or you don’t. A push-up is a push-up, and a pull-up is a pull-up. In today’s world where people are oftentimes wearing a facade and showing you what they want you to see, honesty is needed more than ever. A barbell or dumbbell doesn’t lie; it doesn’t tell you what you want to hear or lead you into believing it’s something it’s not.
Strength training allows you to highlight your strengths. We constantly compare ourselves to others. We compare our physical appearance. Our success with our career. Our relationships. Our children. Our bank account. Our home. But strength training shows us what we’re naturally good at; where we excel. And it helps us to make the most of our unique talents and skills.
Strength training builds your body, of course, but it also builds your mind. Few things can increase your mental fortitude than a brutal set of heavy squats when your lungs are screaming Stop! but your body and mind know it can handle more, or a total body circuit workout with minimal rest. There are times when you want to test your physical and mental strength, and a good resistance training workout will deliver that.
Like ice cream, strength training comes in a variety of delicious flavors. Whether you train at a commercial gym loaded with toys, in a crossfit box, outside, or have nothing but your bodyweight, the options are endless. I teach you how to safely sample a variety of strength training tools within the Strong Body Program workouts.
This is also great for variety when boredom settles in. Tired of lifting heavy barbells? Do some kettlebells. Tired of kettlebells? Start performing dumbbell exercises. Tired of all that? You can do bodyweight exercises or train with the TRX. The options are endless. I’ll give you all the options when you join the Strong Body Program.
Strength training is beautifully simple. Practice skills, use proper form, improve your mechanics. Perform a balanced routine that hits all of your muscles and trains the major movements. Improve your performance, gradually, when possible.
One of my favorite quotes is “You don’t go to the gym to get good at going to the gym. You go to the gym to get good at the things OUTSIDE of the gym.” Strength training teaches functional human movement patterns. You need to be able to squat (you do it every day in your life!). You need to be able to press things over your head. You need to be able to transfer force and lift things without getting hurt. Strength training teaches all that (and THEN some). It helps you get good at life.
Strength training allows you to discover the incredible things your body can do. Oftentimes Strong Body members tell me, “I can’t do push-ups” or “I can’t do pull-ups” or “There’s no way I can deadlift my bodyweight.” I gently correct them, “You mean you can’t do those things yet, but you will.” In a world that encourages us to value ourselves solely on how we look, strength training, can shine a blinding light on the powerful things we can do. As a result, you’ll have the opportunity to see yourself in a new, wonderful, empowering way.
You sleep better. Consistent strength training aids in falling to sleep faster and sleeping better. The best sleeps of my life are after solid deadlifts or back squats! The “Front Squat Fabulous” workout in my Strong Body program is one of my favorite ways to ensure a quality night’s rest.
Humility. Try to do too much too quickly, and the barbell or dumbbell will humble you. When you feel over confident, throw too much weight on the bar, it will gladly humble you and crush your ego in the process. This isn’t always a bad thing; sometimes we need a firm reality-slap square in the ego.
Patience. There is no such thing as a quick fix, results doesnt happen overnight. You’ll never lose weight fast enough or increase the weight you lift quick enough. But regardless of how impatient you are, the barbell and dumbbell will teach you to practice patience. You’ll begin to be grateful for the small improvements: that extra rep or extra five pounds you added to your lift.
Strength training teaches you the importance of consistency. You can’t do one workout and get stronger. You can’t eat great for one week and expect to feel great in that short time frame. But workout by workout, month by month, the small changes add up to noticeable improvements. All those small wins are addicting, you get hooked on seeing yourself make progress. Each time you return to the strength floor, it will reward you, but it may take many workouts before you see the effects.
Empowerment. You may not realize your true potential. You may not yet be aware of the strength within you. The barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell or other tools will show this to you. You are stronger than you realize. And unlike the physical changes which can take weeks or months to notice, you can feel empowered in the process of completing each workout and seeing yourself progress.
Respect. Strength training will keep you in check. It will show you what you can do, what you can strive to do, and make you appreciate any limitations you may have.
Strength training shows you there are no excuses. You can get better or you can complain, but you can’t do both. Regardless of any physical limitation or injury you have, you can always do something. And even if you don’t have a lot of time to work out, you can still strength train and achieve results.
Creativity. You may want to deadlift super heavy, but your body may not allow it right now. You may experience an injury and be forced to alter your training routine. You may want to work out four times per week but only have time to work out twice. Regardless, you will experience events that force you to be creative. You may no longer be able to do specific exercises or activities for a while, but there is always something you CAN do and a creative way to move. Strength training offers the opportunity to get creative with tools and challenge your body in new ways.
Strength training doesn’t discriminate. Age, race, size, gender, time, location, religion, equipment, shape, limitations, preferences. It doesn’t matter. Anyone can participate, one way or another.
Strength training touches every part of your life. Many of the lessons above have given me wisdom that I’ve applied to other areas of my life, and it’s certainly made me a stronger, better version of myself.
Ready to discover the power of strength in your life? Join my Strong Body program and learn how to build a balanced fitness program that will help you gain these results.
What are the gifts that strength training has given you? Id love to hear the lessons youve gained from strength training in the comments below.
Heres to living a long and strong life together,
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Originally published at carolinejordanfitness.com on July 20, 2018.