Resistance training, for me, is bigger than something I do to stay fit as I age.
It’s taught me more about life than any other experience and, paradoxically, helps me remain laser-focused on whats important to me outside fitness.
I advocate resistance training for health—but am a resistance training evangelist because of what Ive learned from it about living fully.
1. If you wait for the perfect
facility opportunity you’ll always find an excuse not to start.
Ive trained in less than ideal conditions. Central American gyms stocked with rusty dumbbells. Dilapidated college weight rooms. Outdoors in Oakland with homeless on one side & muscle-bound men on the other. These experiences taught me to expand my definition of “perfect gym.” They also sparked me to realize when I claimed to be waiting for “perfect timing” in life it was really paralysis by analysis. It was merely an excuse.
2. Change is how we grow.
Initially I did the same weights routine day after day & plateaued quickly. I knew what I was doing wasnt working—but the pain I “knew” felt better than the painful risk of change. Eventually I realized I required a new routine to grow & Ive applied this notion to my life. Change in routine. Change in perspective. Change–in fitness and life—is the only way we wont stagnate.
3. To succeed you need mind/body connection.
If you’d asked me to flex my biceps 20 years ago–Id not have been capable of making the muscle contract. After months of lifting Id have struggled to flex on command. It took time, patience and focus to formulate the mind/muscle connection crucial to successful resistance training. Only after acquiring that skill did I began to live *in* my body in all aspects of life. I started to eat intuitively. I learned to exercise intuitively. And, very very slowly, I tapped into my ‘gut’ and lived intuitively.
4. We create ourselves and our lives.
I dont have good physical genetics. My body prefers to be soft/not muscular. I watched women with better genetics gain muscle swiftly and easily. I came to a crossroads where I could either grow jealous or grow focused. I chose the latter. Resistance training taught me I am the sculptor of my body and my life. I may not achieve goals as rapidly as some— but if I work tenaciously & tirelessly I’m ensured of progress.
- What surprising life-lessons have you learned from fitness pursuits?
- Did you, too, discover your voice in the weight room?