Life Lessons I Have Learned In the Weight Room and From My Commitment to Living a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle
Feb 22nd, 2012
The parallels between strength training and other disciplines in life are not obvious to the outside observer and are often missed by the casual gym member as well.
When people take up weight lifting and/or following a structured nutrition plan to burn fat, build muscle, get ripped, or achieve any other fitness goal, they often do so for the obvious cosmetic benefits of looking sexier and feeling more confident with their physical appearance.
I can honestly say that these are the exact reasons that I started lifting weights way back in junior high school.
As I have grown older and continued to remain committed to my strength and fitness, I have noticed many other benefits that have grown out of my successes (and failures) in the weight room and from continually improving my physique:
• I have a high level of self confidence
• I see failures as opportunities for improvement, not excuses to quit
• I understand what it takes to succeed
• I realize the true power of being disciplined
These are just a few examples, but you can see how these are all applicable to many aspects of life.
I want to share with you some of the most profound examples of lessons that weight training has taught me and provide you with some insights that will hopefully help you apply them to your own life as well.
Here we go…
Lesson #1: Everything Worth Pursuing in Life Requires a Certain Amount of Discipline
In my 30 years on this earth I have learned that the most rewarding experiences in life never come quickly and easily. This is a concept that seems to make sense in theory, but is not so easy to remember when it comes to applying it to my daily life.
We all want fast results without having to work very hard to get them. This is especially true when it comes to improving our physical appearance!
Even worse, as soon as the reality sets in that achieving a specific goal (fitness or otherwise) will require a significant amount of work, the average person calls it quits and moves on, never even realizing how profoundly their life would have been impacted if they only would have stuck it out and continued pursuing their goal – regardless of what it would take to reach it – or if they ever even reached it at all.
I struggled with the aspects of training and nutrition for years before finally figuring out what it would take to consistently improve my physique.
Because my return on investment for all of the time I spent weight training was pretty much negligible, I honestly would have felt completely justified if I would have given up on my dream of getting a lean and muscular body back in high school.
The truth is that without all of the mistakes and hardships that went along with my years of continually failing, it wouldn’t have been possible to get the kind of body I had always wanted. Not giving up allowed me to learn something from every one of my mistakes and eventually gave me the knowledge I needed to finally get the kinds of results I was looking for.
The discipline that I exuded day after day was not easy at times, but looking back I can now see that it was all part of the learning process, and it was all worth it. In fact, I would do it again without a second thought!
What I learned has given me a new passion in life and the joy of being able to share what I have learned with others to help them avoid all of the mistakes and failures that I endured during my first several years learning about the principles of training and nutrition.
I am now able to do something with my life that not only inspires others, but is also one of the most personally satisfying experiences I can think of – showing others how to burn fat, build muscle and get a body that they can be proud of.
Lesson #2: Personal Growth and Improvement Is Not Possible Without Pain
There used to be a banner in my high school weight room that said, “Without Pain, Change is Impossible”. The point of the banner was to remind those in the weight room that muscles must be pushed past their limits to grow – and that it wouldn’t be pleasant while it was happening!
Just like our muscles need to be taken out of their sphere of comfort before significant growth can occur, so we also must become uncomfortable with our situations in life before we can truly grow.
A problematic line of reasoning that will always prohibit growth and improvement (in the weight room or in life) is that when people feel like they can’t achieve something, they will naturally migrate towards minimizing the severity of their situation and become satisfied with mediocrity – or even worse – blame others for their situation in life.
All this does is keep you just comfortable enough that you won’t be willing to do what it takes to change your situation and will guarantee that you will be stuck in the same position tomorrow as you are in today. There is only one person with the power to do what it takes to improve your status in the gym or in life and that is you!
To help drive home the point of how powerful being uncomfortable with your situation can be…
I spent years going to the weight room and feeling satisfied with the fact that I was working out a few days each week. I never even paid attention to the fact that I was getting almost zero results for all of my efforts because I was getting the same results as just about everyone else and that was enough to keep me from going the extra mile to learn what I needed to know to induce serious improvements to my physique.
It wasn’t until I ballooned up to an unattractive and unhealthy 240lbs that I finally decided that enough was enough and it was time to improve my situation. I looked in the mirror and hated the body I had developed and wanted more than anything to change it. I decided right then and there that I would do whatever it took to get a body that I would be happy with.
It wasn’t an easy road, but my desperation gave me the motivation I needed to overcome every obstacle on my way to developing a body that I am now completely satisfied with.
Until that day standing in front of the mirror I had made excuse after excuse about my weight not being a big deal, usually after looking at a few people that were more overweight than me to make myself feel better.
It wasn’t until I became utterly angry with what I had done to my body that I was able to make strength and fitness a permanent part of my life that will never again be compromised.
If you are unhappy with an aspect of your life, stop minimizing the negative impact it is having on you and stop blaming others for your situation. Instead, be honest about the pain it is causing you and do what you need to do to change it!
The day that you realize how uncomfortable you are with any allotment in life is the day that real and lasting progress can begin.
Lesson #3: Consistency is the Key to Success
No successful person will tell you that they reached their level of success by working towards their goals a few days per week or only when it was convenient for them. No, they will tell you that they worked at reaching their goals day in and day out, even when they couldn’t see much progress being made.
Success stories in the weight room are no different!
The individuals who end up building an impressive physique are the ones who are fully committed to their strength and physical fitness and are at the gym doing something positive for their bodies 5, 6 or 7 days each week. They don’t skip workouts once or twice a week – they are consistent and steadfast – and their results eventually show it.
This kind of consistency doesn’t come about by accident. It takes an intentional restructuring of your schedule and priorities.
Whether you are chasing your dream of building a successful small business, or a ripped and muscular body, the fact remains that all areas of your life need to be structured in such a way that they are in alignment with the things you hope to achieve.
For example, building a lean and well-defined body does not happen by accident. It comes from a consistent dedication to building muscle and shedding fat by training with a purpose and feeding your body for success. If both aspects of training and nutrition are not working in tandem, I can tell you from personal experience that your results will be less than impressive.
Sure it takes work to follow a disciplined nutrition plan, along with many personal sacrifices to take the time to train every day. But, if you are truly serious about improving your health and physical appearance, you will make these things a priority by eliminating the less important minutia of your day and replacing them with the things that really matter to you.
Be intentional about consistently chipping away at your goals and the results will follow. Consistency breeds results – plain and simple.
Lesson #4: Knowledge is Power
As I spent some time explaining already, having the intense desire to improve your situation is a prerequisite for inducing dramatic and lasting changes in one’s life. Having the intense desire to do something and attaining the knowledge to make it happen might be very different by definition, but they are actually very much related to one another.
You see, with my desire to transform my body came the intense drive to attain as much knowledge as I possibly could in order to understand the best ways to build muscle and rid myself of unwanted body fat. As I explain in my book, Ripped Out, I started off my transformation process doing nothing more than counting calories.
This worked for a while, but wasn’t really a viable solution for the kinds of dramatic changes I ultimately desired for my body.
I continued to research and experiment with various methods of training and nutrition, and after years of struggling, everything started to make sense, and I was finally able to put together a program that would enable me to simultaneously build muscle and shed fat – ultimately giving me the ripped physique I have today.
While my hardships and struggles have certainly given me a great appreciation for everything I have learned, having this kind of knowledge at my fingertips from day one would have saved me years of time that were wasted on piddling around with ineffective programs and advice from the so-called experts spreading their trash all over the internet.
If you are someone who is unhappy with your situation and truly wants to change, Ripped Out details every last piece of instruction and information that you will need to induce dramatic change on your body. I won’t say it is easy, as I know as well as anyone that it will certainly take work on your part.
I mean, if getting a head-turning body was easy, everybody would have one!
What my book provides is an exact blueprint for those that truly want to change, and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. I break the aspects of training and nutrition down into a simple to follow and easy to understand format, but it is up to you to apply what you learn – and apply it consistently.
If you do, I can promise you incredible results. In fact, I have a 60 day money back guarantee that backs that up…
Anyway, my goal of writing this article is not necessarily to sell you on my book, but the fact remains that wanting to change is only half the battle…
The other half involves learning what you need to know to most effectively reach your goals. If you want to improve your body bad enough, you can probably spend a few years figuring everything out like I did, but trust me when I tell you that you are far better off learning from someone who has already put in the work for you.
Is there an area of your life that you desperately want to improve? Learn what others have done to get the results that you desire, be consistent in applying what you learn, and don’t give up – no matter what life may throw your way!
These are the lessons that I have learned “in the weight room” and I hope that you can take something away from what I have shared and use it to improve your own situation in life – without having to endure the hopeless feeling of desperately wanting to change, but not knowing where to start, like I did.
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