I was reminded again recently of the many reasons I love weight-training. Almost three years ago, I started lifting weights consistently. When I started, the heaviest I ever lifted was 60-70 pounds (the weight I used when I did deadlifts). Just lifting the bar off the rack was difficult and intimidating.
Yesterday, I used 75 pounds for flat bench chest presses. It amazes me that my upper body is this strong! And now, I can deadlift more than twice the weight I used three years ago.
While I’m proud of the physical strength I’ve developed, that’s not what I value most. I value what this strength represents. The lessons I’ve learned while lifting. The lessons are the reasons I lift. And they’re the reasons you should too.
Here are five reasons weight-lifting is so valuable:
1. You get to chase measurable goals. In many areas of life, it’s tough to SEE your progress. Have you become a better writer? Are you a more skilled manager? A better parent or spouse? There are ways you can try to quantify these things, but we all define them differently. With weight-lifting, progress is easy to measure and track.
2. You see the benefits of consistency. When I first started lifting, I wanted to know what I “should” be able to lift. What was a good goal to work towards? I found charts at ExRx.net that gave strength standards. They show how much you can expect to be able to lift based on your weight and your level of experience.
Notice how it changes. For example, a 148-pound woman with no experience (untrained), would be expected to be able to lift 80 pounds one time. However, at the advanced level, when she has been training for multiple years, she would be expected to be able to lift 240 pounds. More than her body weight, and THREE TIMES the original amount! In the weight room, consistent effort pays off.
3. You learn what resolve feels like. When you’re putting in consistent effort, you are invariably going to have days when you don’t feel like it. The beauty of that is learning what it feels like to push through. To push through and come out on the other side energized and successful!
In Your Own Worst Enemy: The Problem of Adult Underachievement by Ken Christian, he writes about the importance of “cultivating resolve.” When I visualize resolve, I picture the weight room. I remember that moment of pushing through another set of squats when my legs are shaking, my heart is racing, and I want to quit. I feel the pride of finishing, that feeling of accomplishment at the end. And I channel that resolve.
4. You get to fail. When you’re lifting weights, failure is the GOAL. You see, you won’t build strength as quickly if you don’t push yourself to the limit. In the gym, you can learn to fail. You can learn to celebrate failure as a necessary part of your success.
5. You develop skills you can leverage to achieve any goal. Achieving measurable results through consistent effort and resolve, not fearing failure… This model, these skills, can be used to achieve anything. When you hear successful people talk about how they got where they are today, you will hear these themes. Goal-setting. Consistency. Effort. Pushing through failure.
Want to become a more powerful, successful person? Come join me in the gym.
What’s your experience with weight-lifting? Are you ready to get started?