- Exercise & Fitness
How Lifting Weights Changed My Life
How Lifting Weights Changed My Life
Confident. Strong. Capable of great things. Happy. These are some of the qualities I feel are appropriate to describe me. I know, you’re probably thinking what a cocky little bi*&% I am. Believe me, confidence, strength, and happiness have been seemingly unattainable goals I have been relentlessly craving for most of my life. I used to walk into a room and think everyone there was judging me. I felt weak and hopeless as I tried to navigate through school and sports. I felt that I was worthless and not capable of doing anything special in the world. I had a hard time socializing with people due to crippling self consciousness, and I had few friends. Worst of all, I was so unhappy. I found joy in very few things, and was so unmotivated that I spent my free time napping or watching TV. Through the years, I learned that these are actually the behaviors of quite a few people these days. When someone is in a rut like I described above, it’s painful to even imagine wanting to be productive, fit, and put effort into doing things to better their lives. Personally, when I went through this phase of my life, going to the gym sounded like the worst idea ever. Little did I know, exercise would boost my happiness to what feels like one thousand percent, make me feel and look so much healthier, increase my motivation for success, and empower me to live my life to the fullest.
For many, the idea of going to the gym sounds miserable. And believe you me, I feel very miserable in the gym sometimes. But it is from the misery of pounding out that last grueling set or running through the last thirty seconds of sprints that provides me with the most happiness and pleasure. I carry an uncomparable feeling of accomplishment after I’ve pushed my body to the limit and made myself better. After an exercise session, the body is flushed with endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals released by the brain that help reduce stress and make people feel happy. So if you’re looking for a little pick me up, skip the vodka and do some squats! Beyond the rush of endorphins I feel after a workout, lifting makes me feel accomplished and satisfied with how I spend my time, which brings me a consistent feeling of contentment; this makes me happy. Personally, exercise is the most fulfilling activity I can fathom. I challenge you to try consistently exercising for two weeks. Note the changes you feel in your overall mood and stress levels!
Of course, I can’t forget arguably the most common reason people workout: to look better. There is just something about a physically fit human that makes them undeniably attractive. I do think there are more fulfilling reasons to exercise, but come on, looking amazing is a major added bonus. I feel that my physical appearance has never been as attractive as when I started exercising regularly and getting my diet in check. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the notion that when females start lifting they look “manly” or “too bulky”. Bullsh*&. I mean, obviously if a girl starts eating 5000 calories a day and pumping her body with steroids, she’s going to be pretty jacked and masculine. But it takes a hell of a lot of work to get into that state. I promise you won’t accidentally start looking like a dude. Honestly, if you’re a girl that starts lifting, you will probably just look stronger and healthier, with less body fat and a better butt. If you would rather do cardio than lift weights, your muscles may become more toned, but you will most likely notice a decrease in body fat, and your abs may pop more. In my opinion, however, the best way to sculpt your body into your dream physique is by weightlifting. You can make your muscles pop and focus extra time on muscles that you feel need extra help. While as shallow as this concept may seem, feeling more attractive may be a big contributor of happiness to all of us. In fact, that feeling really isn’t shallow at all; it’s a perfectly normal human desire to feel attractive.
Regular exercise and lifting has made me an overall more motivated individual. It used to take all the willpower in my body to get my ass out of bed to perform mundane tasks, such as going to school, or doing dishes. I would sleep in until mid afternoon and not even care. I had very few hobbies or interests outside of school (which I had to do) and horse riding. After I started lifting, and continued to commit to exercise week after week, being lazy was just not part of my repertoire anymore. It took motivation to continually exercise, and that translated into all aspects of my life. I proved to myself that I am capable of having immense dedication in the gym, so why not engage that dedication in all of my activities? I started working harder at everything I did, which resulted in better grades, a better diet, better performance in sports, and more productivity in day to day tasks. Hell, most things I did seemed easier after doing 185 pound squats to failure!
I can think of few activities more empowering than weightlifting. If you can manage to make it to the gym most days of the week and push through sets with weights most people can’t imagine using, you are strong enough to stop putting up with people’s sh*&. When I started feeling physically stronger, I started feeling emotionally stronger and more empowered through my new found strength. Around the time of this personal realization, I cut out negative people from my life, became more independent, and started facing life’s challenges head on without fear of failure. Not to be cliche, but life is so short. Don’t waste your time on negativity or being afraid to take risks! All it takes to be a badass, successful person is to feel like a badass, successful person. For me and I’m sure many others, being a beast in the gym makes me feel badass and successful.
Imagine your greatest imaginable goal. Whether it be to become a world champion bull rider, or get that promotion you’ve been wanting, or graduate college, you have to work for it! You can’t reach the most difficult goals without being exceptionally motivated, persistent, and confident. Even if you’re not the most naturally talented or smartest candidate out there, no one can beat someone who never stops working hard and has a strong sense of self worth. Weightlifting is an extremely valuable-- and often overlooked-- tool for success. As a weightlifter, one may have an advantage against others because of the grit, determination, self esteem, and ability to get up after falls that accompanies lifting. I can say without a doubt that weightlifting completely changed my life-- for the better. I no longer feel weak and worthless. I no longer struggle motivating myself to do things. I no longer hate the way I look. I no longer let depression rule my life. I am strong and capable of anything I set my mind to. I am always eager to get out and do things and I complete my tasks efficiently and effectively. I put effort into everything I do, and best of all, I am now a genuinely happy person.