It’s NOT about a number on the scale.
It’s NOT about what your friends think.
It’s NOT about chasing an Instagram-worthy physique.
And it’s CERTAINLY NOT about how that girl in yoga pants (who you've never even talked to) looks at you.
Everything else is outside your sphere of control.
It took me a long time to figure this out.
Back when I was a young scallywag I begun my fitness journey with the sole hope of impressing others - dudes will respect my muscles and girls will fawn over my abs.
It didn’t work like that.
I got muscles and I carved out the abs but nothing in my world really changed.
Still, I kept lifting thinking that if I get a little big bigger and a teensy bit leaner I’ll be happy.
Years of this didn’t result in one ounce of happiness and left me and empty shell. No one was impressed. My life was all about the gym and my body.
Now, finally, at the ripe age of 26 after coaching clients for many years, I've learned something...
Training in the gym, lifting weights to improve your physique, is about much more than just your physique. Sure, the initial benefits of looking better are great, but you soon reach a stage where further improvements don't bring any extra happiness.
There is a hidden power of the gym not many realise.
Here are 3 ways the gym can change you (if you get out of your own way)
1. You CRUSH limiting beliefs
In my early days of training I remember watching the strong dudes in the gym lift weights twice as heavy as mine.
"I could never do that.".
Your physical ability sets the limits to what you believe you can accomplish. This thought pattern extended to other things in my life - public speaking, girls, business and the like.
Physical ability defines what you are capable of, and not capable of. By expanding your physical capability you expand your possibilities in all other areas of your life.
When you go to the gym, you are training yourself to be more capable. You are going beyond prior limits. You are facing the unknown, boldly, and realising you can handle what is there.
You prove that, with consistent effort, you can achieve things you once thought impossible.
The whole process of physical self-improvement unlocks a very powerful thought...
'There is no limit.'
You say yes to your own potential.
2. You gain confidence in your own skin
You develop a physique to be proud of, and in your mind, you set the standard.
It doesn’t have to be shredded to the bone or have muscles upon muscles. You're not comparing it to anyone else, you're only improving yourself to a point where you are confident in your appearance and ability.
Training in the gym reveals a body which you can throw a tight tee over and feel a sense of pride in how it fits. Only you know how hard you work, the effort which goes in behind the scenes and the discipline you show every night when the missus brings out the biscuits.
It may not be the best physique out there, but that's not the goal.
The goal is to have a physical shape which represents the person you believe you are.
That's where confidence is found.
3. You become addicted to the upward spiral
Have you ever heard someone say they felt terrible for getting in shape?
If you begin training at the gym you'll undergo a physical transformation. This simple change affects the world around you in ways you can't imagine.
- You strengthen your breathing, and suddenly your ability to speak and express yourself clearly has strengthened as well.
- You strengthen your hands, and now you feel you can handle more than you have before
- You strengthen your spine, and stress does not bear down on you the same.
- You strengthen your legs, and you stand differently. What once tired you out is now something you walk through without reservation.
- You stand a little taller, and move a bit more self assured.
This feels damn good, and the feeling is addictive. The upward spiral and physical ability and shape affecting your mood, beliefs, confidence and energy leads you to want to maintain this feeling.
How could you go back to what you once were?
The number on the scale and what others think of you are byproducts of you going to the gym. You place as much value in these as you want, but know they are out of your control.
What IS in your control is you and your own journey of self-belief and self-acceptance.
Chasing arbitrary numbers or a photoshopped magazine body can work wonders for short-term motivation. As a lifestyle change, though, there is a definite ceiling. You’ll always be chasing the next thing, wanting more, bigger, leaner, stronger.
The best thing you can do is focus on yourself.
Your personal journey is the only thing that matters.