5 Reasons Workouts are Not Just for Looking Good

You may have gotten into lifting so you could look good–I mean, who doesn’t, really? But there’s much more to gain in the weight room than just the “gainz” you post on Instagram.

You wanted to look good at the beach.
You wanted to feel good when you took your shirt off.
You wanted girls to notice you.

It always starts with something surface level like getting bigger arms or building broader shoulders. But working out has more to offer you than a physique you can be proud of. Come for the biceps, but stay for the following:

1. Confidence
You don’t need to shed 100 pounds to feel confident about your results in the weight room. All it takes is evidence that you’re creating one very simple thing: change.

When you can visibly see the work that you’ve put in or experience a smaller number on the scale, you’re going to feel like a more confident guy.

You’ll walk taller.
You’ll smile wider.
You’ll be a new man.

All of a sudden, you’ll be able to talk to the girls that you never could ask for things that you never dreamed of and live life with a little less worry hanging on your shoulders.

Why?

Because you proved that you have the power to change yourself. You’ve witnessed your ability to shift your physical appearance, and with that hint of possibility, you subconsciously think:

“What can’t I do?”
The answers to that question will become fewer and fewer the more work you put in at the gym.

2. Mental Strength
It’s easy to see your physical strength increase over your time spent under the barbell. You can see your max bench press, squat, or deadlift steadily increase by 5, 10, or 15 pounds.

 But underneath the surface, a different brand of strength is rising; one that is probably even more important than the kind found in your chest, back, and arms.

Your mental strength and fortitude will crank up as you consistently fortify your physical strength. With each milestone you surpass, your mind will take note of the way you set goals up, and then knock them down. As your physical accomplishments keep stacking up, your mind will draw parallels to other areas of your life where your mental strength will be needed.

If you have a deadline at work that is imperative to meet, your brain will remind you of the time you hit your max deadlift when you had a cold.

 If you are having relationship problems, your mind will recall the time you kept at it on the bench press until you eventually got the result you were looking for. The strength you build in the weight room isn’t only for the outside of your body.

3. Stress Relief
There isn’t a better cure for stress, anxiety, and worry than a good session in the gym or a long run on a quiet road.

The focus that you need to bring to each exercise allows you to become more present than you would be in most other activities that you engage in on a daily basis. You can’t be thinking about that tense conversation with your mother-in-law while you’re trying to push 300+ pounds off your chest. You can’t be obsessing about your job when you’re fighting gravity in the squat rack.

 What you’ll ultimately find is that in the time that you stepped away from the stress and anxiety you brought to the gym, you forgot about what you were upset about in the first place. And while your workout allowed you to checkout, the exercise allowed you to release that tension in your body.

 A win-win if I’ve ever seen one.

3. A Healthy Immune System
How often do you see someone in good shape get sick? Not too often, right?There’s a reason for that: working out bolsters the immune system, giving those that exercise the upper hand in terms of staying healthy.

Here are a few ways that exercise keeps you healthy:

Physical activity (and the heavier breathing that results from it) may help flush bacteria out of your airways, making you less susceptible to getting a cold or the flu.

With increased cardiovascular activity, you can prevent heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Those that are stressed are more vulnerable to becoming sick.

Working out doesn’t just make you look healthy, it helps you feel healthy. It’s not just about your biceps and triceps, hitting the gym could add years to your life; years with less coughing and less stress.

4. More Energy
This seems a little backwards, since you’re exerting energy when you exercise. But your body is funny like that.

 When you’re working your butt off and sweating it up in the gym, although it may feel like you’re losing all the energy you brought to the gym, you’re actually producing more while you lift. As you exercise, your body is releasing endorphins. The more endorphins that you can release, the more energy you get back from your hard work.

 Have you ever noticed that as you leave the gym, you almost never feel exhausted? You feel good, you feel refreshed, and you feel glad that you put the work in. That’s the endorphins saying hello.

Conclusion
Exercise has always been about more than just your physique; don’t let today’s culture fool you.

Show up for the six-pack, but stay because you will leave with more confidence, mental fortitude, less stress, and more energy. Not a bad deal, right?


*Exercise and immunity: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

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