Jeff turned 29 a few months ago, but he feels like he’s just taking his first real steps into the world.
He spent the last decade of his life drunk and on drugs. He barely remembers any of it. Though, he does remember feeling depressed, angry, and suicidal.
That’s the thing about addiction- it’s not the root of the problem. Sure, it becomes a problem. But it starts out as a solution to something else. Not a great one, but the best many can come up with at the time.
After losing some important people in his life, Jeff reached a point where he had no choice but to pull his shit together.
He quit drugs and alcohol cold-turkey, moved back home, and signed up for AA.
Then he signed up for a gym, which is where he and I met.
We met up at 7:30 each morning, and he struggled under heavy weights for 30 minutes before starting his day.
We also laughed a lot. We talked about life, relationships, who or what God is to us, and even shed a couple tears when necessary.
I watched Jeff transform in that gym.
He walked in a frail, broken kid.
Over the next 6 months, he turned into a strong, and capable man.
He went from staring at the ground to standing tall, with his chest up and shoulders back. He walks into a room with confidence, and immediately makes someone’s day with a huge smile and greeting.
His new body is a reflection of who he is on the inside- lean, strong, and resilient.
And then things started clicking. Job offers started rolling in, and Jeff had his pick. Women started showing interest, and again, he had his pick.
Life started to get better in every imaginable way, and Jeff became a force to be reckoned with.
Today, he has a great job, and is living a fulfilling life. He’s in a great place.
But he’s also on a mission. He has plans to save up his cash and build a business through which he can serve his community.
Jeff’s a new man, and he credits strength training as the foundation for his transformation.
“I’m getting stronger. And I can see the changes in my body. But it feels like there’s something else happening. I feel completely different.”
Jeff’s not the only one.
I have another coaching client who’s overcoming alcohol and cocaine addiction, and strength training is his foundation.
His body fat is down, his musculature is up, and his confidence is through the roof.
Here’s a text I got from him the other day.
Strength training keeps him focused, and it provides the foundation he needs to show up as strong as possible for his family.
I have my own experiences with this as well.
Back in my early 20’s, I capped off several years of belligerent drinking with a vicious car wreck. Two days later, I lost my job, and found myself laying in bed eating gummy worms for weeks on end.
More on that here: "Do You Hear Me Now"
I didn’t know where to turn, or what to do. I felt hopeless. So I did the one thing I knew how to do- I went to the gym and I trained.
I trained hard and often, which lead to some of the best progress I’ve ever made. Naturally, this bled into every area of my life.
Though I’m a work-in-progress, compared to the old me, my shit is very much together.
Strength training is the bedrock for the above transformations, and there are good reasons for that.
The great and powerful Elliott Hulse says, “If you want to improve any aspect of yourself, start with the body.”
So with that, let’s dive in.
Here are 7 Ways Strength Training Will Make You a Better Human.
A Better Body Builds Confidence
We downplay the power of a great looking physique out of fear of being seen as vain.
We see vanity as shallow, and something to be avoided. This is a mistake.
There’s no doubt, the body you walk around in has a huge effect on how you feel about yourself. And it makes sense. Your body is the vessel you use to interface with the world. When your body’s in shape, you feel that flow through everything you do.
There’s no doubt, when pants get looser and t-shirt sleeves get tighter, confidence goes through the roof. Which is key, since confidence is a major predictor of success in any area.
Strength Training Helps You Manage Negative Emotions
Strength training directly impacts your emotions.
We’ve all heard someone say something like, “My workouts are keeping me sane right now.”
Maybe you’ve said this yourself.
That’s because strength training has a significant impact on things like depression and anxiety.
In fact, a recent study has shown strength training to be about as effective for reducing symptoms of depression as current front-line treatment. The only side-effects being a badass looking physique.
So you not only get a better body out of the deal. You get more positive emotions and a clearer mind too.
I’d take that deal.
It Puts You on an Upward Trajectory
In life, there are two things you need to be concerned with.
Your position, and your trajectory.
Or, put another way- where you are, and where you’re headed.
Most people get hung up on the first one. They think if they get to a certain position in life…
…a certain physique
…a certain amount of money
…a certain stage of life
…that they’ve ‘made it.’ They see it as an oasis, or a resting place.
Because without an upward trajectory, you get stale. Your soul rots. You feel stuck. It doesn’t matter how good your physique or your bank account is.
Of course, getting yourself on an upward trajectory is easier said than done. Where to start? What to do?
Enter strength training.
Strength training is the perfect way to kick start your upward trajectory (Also known as a ‘glow up,’ as the kids say).
It’s a healthy, productive habit with a built-in measuring stick to gauge your success. That measuring stick is called ‘progressive overload.’
Progressive Overload- gradually exposing your muscles to a greater and greater workload. This can be accomplished by adding reps, adding weight, or changing the tempo of the exercise.
Every time you train, you know exactly what you need to do to improve- add one more rep, or 5 more lbs. This adds clarity, allowing you to focus on what needs to be done.
This is the driving force behind your success in the gym, and a key aspect of any upward trajectory.
And putting yourself on an upward trajectory in the gym has a funny way of positively affecting other areas of your life, like your work, and relationships.
Here’s the truth: Appearance matters.
Of course, this doesn’t mean who you are on the inside counts for nothing. But just because you’re an absolute delight of a human being doesn’t mean your appearance counts for nothing either.
Humans are visual creatures. What we see matters. This is rooted in our evolution, and has helped us decide who to mate with, who to trust, who to work with, who to avoid, who’s useful, and who’s not, etc. for millions of years.
Keep in mind also that over 90% of our neural processing is subconscious. Which means we aren’t even consciously aware of most of our appearance-based judgments.
So, whether we like it or not, appearance matters. It’s best to make peace with that.
Better yet, leverage it in your favor.
When it comes to physical fitness, the bar is currently set low. The man or woman who strength trains regularly is easily discernible from the pack.
He/she exudes strength, confidence, vitality, and capability.
People will pick up on this, whether they’re consciously aware of it or not. And this will always play out in your favor.
It’s a Domino Habit
You know how it goes.
You eat a few healthy meals, you get in a couple workouts, and you notice your momentum start to shift. You’re on a roll, and doing these things gets easier and easier.
Until Thirsty Thursday rolls around, and you decide to treat yourself to a well-deserved drink. Which turns into two. Then three. And as you order your fourth drink, you tack on a garbage bag of fully-loaded nachos.
The next day you notice you don’t feel like working out. Or eating healthy. The wind has been successfully removed from you sails. Your momentum is gone.
You think, “I’ll just pick it up again on Monday.”
See how that works?
Life is a game of momentum. You’re either moving in one direction or the other. And there are certain actions will shift the tide in your favor, and make it easy to keep it that way. I call these ‘Domino Habits.’
A domino habit is a daily habit that naturally leads to other healthy, productive habits, almost without effort.
For example, after a hard workout, the last thing you want is a sack of donuts. You just trained your body. You want fuel. This leads to better nutrition choices throughout your day.
If you know you’ve got a workout the next day, you’re more likely to get to bed on time. And you’re less likely to drink too much.
One thing leads to another, leads to another. And this extends beyond fitness, and into all other realms of your life.
The entire game is about momentum. Strength training will keep that momentum moving in your favor.
Strength Training Develops Powerful Attributes
Strength training is hard. And doing hard things makes people better. This is mainly because difficult tasks can’t be completed without developing the attributes necessary to complete them.
And this is why no one builds a lean, muscular physique without developing some powerful attributes along the way.
Hard physical training makes the whole body responsive to the will. -Bob Hoffman
While building a great looking body, you also build patience, toughness, and resilience.
Your work ethic increases, and you get comfortable with discomfort.
These are all attributes that can transform a human, and transform his life.
Strength Training Builds Community
Humans need, love, and crave community.
It’s why we ride so hard for football teams, political parties, and in some cases, our brand of cell phone.
It gives us a sense of community. It aligns us with something bigger than ourselves, and provides common ground which we can bond over.
This isn’t a bad thing. We’re social animals, and it’s one of the reasons why we’ve been so successful as a species. But if we’re not aware of it, we team up over something silly, like a smartphone brand.
Why not join a community of like-minded people who share similar goals and values?
The strength training community is thriving. Whether it’s online (Let’s connect: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) or in your own gym.
There's something to be said for shared struggle. When people come together to train, support each other, and rally around a shared goal, it builds a special kind of bond.
I’ve seen friendships formed in gyms and training groups that will last a lifetime. And I’ve developed a mentor/mentee relationship with many of my clients that extends well beyond fitness.
How deeply this will affect one’s life can’t be overstated.
That’s it, my friend- 7 reasons why strength training should be the bedrock of your self-improvement.
I hope you enjoyed the article and found at least one thing you can take away and apply to your life.
And remember, if you want to improve any aspect of yourself, start with the body.
Do you want to build a lean, muscular physique, and the world-conquering confidence that comes with it?
Find out how I help my clients, all around the world, take their results to the next level by making the process as simple as possible.
Click Below to apply, and I'll be in touch within 24 hours.