Everyone has their own mentality about working out, for some it is the highlight of their day, while for others, it is something that just needs to get done to obtain/maintain good health. For most people, though, especially when first starting out, exercise will likely generate more negative thoughts than positive. This seems to be the norm with most things that do not ‘pay-off’ immediately. That is not to say that that there aren’t instantaneous benefits from exercise, in fact, there are many: improved mood; increased productivity at work; increased insulin sensitivity of the muscles, which helps control blood sugar; and improved quality of sleep…just to name a few. However, these benefits often aren’t realized until someone actually commits to starting up with a program, which can be delayed by the thought of how long it will take to see the ‘real’ results: body composition transformation, significant increases in strength, improved cardiovascular function, and drastic reductions in medications. When these types of benefits, which require a longer-term commitment, become the sole focus of why one should start a training program, it can often scare people away from starting out at all. Working out goes beyond getting stronger, reducing body fat, and packing on muscle; it is about creating the best version of yourself to get the most out of life and reaching your full potential.
Exercise is a powerful tool that can be used to continually build up our confidence. Confidence is at the root of everything someone does. It can be the difference between success and failure, being positive or negative, and feeling happy or sad. On a daily basis, we are faced with countless situations where self-confidence will be a key factor in determining the outcome.
Weight training, specifically, provides ample opportunity to improve self-confidence. For example, setting a new personal record in the squat is about more than just increasing the weight on the bar. There is a great sense of accomplishment and pride that is generated which directly contributes to building up confidence in other areas of life. “The positive emotion of pride, experienced when we achieve a personal goal, broadens the kinds of tasks we contemplate for the future, encouraging us to pursue even bigger goals” (from the book ‘Switch’ by Dan & Chip Heath). This is really what it boils down to: working out serves a larger purpose than a just means to fit into a smaller pants size or get bigger biceps (not that these aren’t important and fulfilling reasons to train). I have personally coached clients who have decided to go back to school and further their education because of the confidence they gained through working out. The thought process being if they were able to succeed at fitness, then they could succeed at school, as well! Accomplishments made from exercise can have this type of snowball effect, encouraging growth in our personal and professional lives.