I can’t speak for everyone but feel it’s safe to assume that if you’re interested in working out it’s almost ALWAYS for aesthetic reasons: you want a smaller waist, a bigger butt, stronger arms, etc.
Weight loss may be the goal, and that’s completely fine, those reasons or motives aren’t wrong or deemed shallow by any means.
But have you ever considered the mental aspect? How working out affects your brain and body on the inside?
The fitness industry targets us with TONS of outwardly reasons to exercise, but I think it’s important to take a look at the mental benefits. Let’s face it; if you’re weight loss plateaus or the results aren’t coming as quick as you’d like (hint: they never do!) you might get depressed, start losing focus, and wonder “why bother? I’ll start back another day.”
From the outside you may not think there’s much going on, but on the inside, those workouts are doing lots of good for you.
Anxiety and stress suck, we all know that. But don’t let a stressful day keep you from the gym. I have had days where crying in bed feels like my only option, but I muster up my energy, put on my gear, and go for a run. Those “good mood” endorphins get kicking and help calm me down. Working out helps majorly to reduce feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety.
Putting your mental energy into a workout improves your focus in and out of the gym. Yoga is a great example as you must put away thoughts of everything else in your life and focus solely on yourself, your breathing, and your body. While lifting weights you can’t focus on the list of “to-do’s” when you’re trying to dead lift or hit a PR. Focus on each set, each rep, and when it’s done, focus your energy on putting that method into use for your other daily activities.
While reaching a goal weight can provide a confidence boost, it’s inevitable that you will plateau, or even gain some back (don’t let that stall you!). Keep moving forward though, confidence is also gained by progressing over time. When I first started lifting weights, I remember doing the shoulder press with 10lb weights and thinking it was so heavy. Years later and I’m hitting sets of 10 with 60lbs! It feels great to see an increase in strength and be able to look at things and think “I can totally lift that!”
These are only three examples and don’t even delve into the scientific reasoning behind the benefits of exercise on our brain. There are loads of studies out there for you to check out, but reduced feelings of stress, greater focus, and confidence are big ones I think need attention.
So many people put all the value of working out into their appearance/physique, clothing size, etc. None of those reasons are permanent, and you shouldn’t let a plateau or weight gain dictate your value. Take care of what’s on the inside and let the rest fall into place as it should.
What non-aesthetic benefits have you experienced from working out? Is this an area you need to work on?