I’m going to say it straightforward and simple: you’re supposed to lift weights, but for the reasons, you might think, not necessarily.
I don’t feel, for example, that endurance is the main advantage in weight training.
Now, don’t blame me. I want to be as big as the next person, but weight training has more meaning than just gaining muscle and losing fat.
Someone explained what I couldn’t put my finger on: there’s an incredible amount to learn from both learning and playing sports, but when you push yourself mentally, you’ll learn more about yourself physically.
This was reflected in my observations. While I’ve learned a lot about myself from mental pursuits such as writing and photography, I’ve found much more about my mental strength and my ability to overcome failure by playing baseball for 17 years, competing in Olympic weightlifting, and struggling to achieve certain strength goals.
The best way to discover the power of your mind is to question your own body. This is much moreaccurate nowhere than with the force training. There will be days when you don’t want to visit the gym. There are going to be sets you don’t want to finish. There are moments when everyone else will see you struggle in the gym, if you’re still showing up anyway, you’re going to develop the mental strength to get past failure, work when you don’t feel like it, and find out what you’re actually made of mentally and physically.
Nothing is more intimate than your own body. Trusting that you can transfer yourself with power and competence across physical space is a deeply satisfying feeling that extends into every other area of life. This morning, if you set a new personal record in the gym, you can be sure that this afternoon you will feel more confident at work.
But lifting weight goes deeper than that. Weight training gives you something you can stand on, something you can define by. This clarifies in your own mind who you are.
“I am able to lift X pounds. I’m willing to do X sets. That’s what I can do. This is who I am.” There is no lying to yourself about what you can and cannot do with weightlifting. The weight encourages you to be frank and conscious of yourself.
Oddly enough, even if you’re weaker than you thought, there’s a comfort that comes from knowing where you might be. Life seems to be living in the contradictions for most days. Whether you are making progress as a parent, a friend, an employee, or a person is hard to know. Weightlifting is more kind of whiter and blacker. It helps you get through the foolishness and get back to self-understanding.
Combine this kind of insight with gradual improvement and you will skyrocket your sense of self-worth. You know who you are, and you prove you can be more than you used to be.
“Today I picked up 10 pounds more than I did last week. I could get stronger. This is proof.”
What could be more confidence-building than clear, undeniable evidence that you’re becoming a better human being?
This concrete proof of your progress can sometimes do more for your trust than all the world’s positive thoughts.