Why do you lift? To get strong? To lose weight? Everyone in the gym has their own reasons. It takes determination and plenty of willpower to get out of the house and hit the gym. Making your fitness routine a success is no joke.
You’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get - and stay - in shape. You get up early for every workout. You eat right and use the best supplements for muscle gain. You’re in this for the long haul.
So don't focus on the sacrifices and the hard work. Instead, celebrate the benefits of lifting. These are the icing on the cake.
You’re already getting strong. But did you know that you’re strengthening your mind each time you lift? This is your brain on weightlifting and what it does for your mental health.
Everyone goes through bouts of feeling depressed. These are usually associated with something bad happening. Examples are losing a loved one, going through a divorce, or losing a job.
But major depression is different. It’s “a treatable illness that affects the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and functions.” In 2014, 15.7 million adults in the US had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year.
How can lifting help? Any kind of physical exercise is beneficial to people suffering from depressed. Part of that benefit is from the release of endorphins. These hormones are generally associated with positive feelings. They’re what give you that pep in your step when you leave the gym after a great workout.
Following your training routine fights depression in other ways too:
The National Institute of Mental Health has found that over 18% of the US population suffers from anxiety disorders. That’s 40 million adults. Worse, only about a third of those individuals actually get treatment.
Even if you don’t suffer from an anxiety disorder, you are most likely under a lot of stress. Work deadlines, family responsibilities, and personal circumstances can put you on edge.
To reduce your stress, get to the gym and lift. It will help you relax and manage your stress more effectively. The release of endorphins combats anxiety too. Working out also stimulates the production of norepinephrine. This is another hormone that helps your brain manage stress.
Sometimes, all you need to de-stress is to get away from whatever is making you anxious. Going to the gym gives you a moment to clear your head and focus on something entirely different. You can zone out and concentrate on your workout. Or you can put on music and relax to the beat.
Regardless of your specific method, lifting is great for giving you clarity. Use it to get your mind out of an anxiety spiral.
A research study from 1982 “was conducted to determine the effect of a weight-training program on the self-concepts of 105 college males.” The goal was to see if “success in the lifting program affected self-concepts.”
The results? The experimental group showed “significant improvement” on 8 of the 9 self-concepts analyzed. The control group “displayed no significant changes on any of the measures.”
Feeling down? Getting to the gym and lifting can change everything. Here are some ways lifting boosts self esteem:
As you watch your muscles grow, don’t forget that your brain is getting a great workout too. Keep taking the best supplements for muscle gain. Use weightlifting supplements to get the best results possible. And enjoy the mental benefits of lifting.