It's no secret that weightlifting is one of the best ways to get healthier and stronger. Girls, get that "I will look bulky"-thinking out of your head. Lifting isn't just for boys.
Four years ago I had this realisation. I was 22 years young, fat, unhealthy, anxious and unhappy. I was walking around with nothing to be excited about. Then I decided to make a change. Now, I've been lifting weights, seriously and consistently, for three years. Three years of heavy squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing und rowing. And it has been an incredible experience.
Don't get me wrong, cardio also has it's place in a well-balanced lifestyle - especially if your goal is to do endurance training. However, when I'm doing cardio, I don't feel as tough, strong and in control of my body, compared to when I'm lifting.
The first time I walked into the gym, I wondered how these weights will sculpt my body. Soon I realised that the free-weights area isn't just a place to build muscle mass and to tone up, it is also a place to develop your own personality, to strengthen your mind.
The harder and smarter you work in the gym, the more results you'll begin to see in the mirror, and the better you'll feel about yourself. Knowing that you only look like this because of your hard work will make your confidence begin to skyrocket. This will help you to become better, bigger, stronger and much more confident every single day.
If you are scared, that's ok. Every time when I start to squat 80 kg (166 lbs) I’m scared as hell. You can't develop courage unless you do something that scares you. If you are afraid of failure, you will never succeed. Hence, you have to have the courage to do whatever you are afraid of.
Everyone has to go through some stages of failure in order to succeed, so start cherish the experience and learn from it. You just have to leave your damn comfort zone! Weightlifting will not only help you look better, it also helps you challenge yourself and improve your mind's ability to focus. You need to concentrate on yourself to get the muscle-mind connection and perform the exercises with a proper form.
What I love the most is the discipline you'll learn throughout your journey. All your potential strength and hard work won't pay off if you aren't willing to work your ass of. Discipline is the key to obtain mental toughness, physical improvement, as well as emotional wellbeing. Conquer your weaker self with every set you're doing and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is overwhelming.
As the months ticked by, I started noticing another important thing: how to make the right sacrifices to reach your goals. Before you start with your workout, there are always more desirable things to do. You'd rather lay on the couch and watch TV, or stay in bed the whole morning. It's in our nature to avoid doing what we believe we aren't good at. But I dare you to do exactly that. Do the things you think you can't do! When I go to the gym I try to challenge myself every time. I force myself to work on my weaknesses and put on more weights or do the exercise I hate the most. If it doesn't suck, I don't do it.
When you take a closer look at the picture down below, you will not only see that my appearance changed, but also the look in my eyes. I look much happier and appear more confident in the right picture.
Exercising regularly increased my energy and bettered my sleeping patterns. Poor sleep lead to a release of stress hormones, which is a common symptom of depression. Regular heavy weight workouts not only helped me to handle stressful situations much better, but also to face my challenges with more confidence.
All you have to do, is to believe in yourself and start. The first step is always the hardest. Your mind is the key. We all look for more self-esteem and this is one easy and healthy way to achieve it! It will change the way you feel about what you are capable of.
Now you're looking good, feeling good and improved your overall health and wellness. There's more. At some point it's not only about muscle growth, an inch less on the waistline, or more weights on the bar. Longevity is the key. However, you're not just making progress with your physical health. You become much more confident in your relationships, career and with your self-image. Pretty awesome, right?
Become your own inspiration. Face your challenges and grow beyond your limits. If I can change, so can you!