5 Ways Weight Training Changed My Life

Written by Lisa Tanker

I first found weight training in 2006, when it was nowhere near as popular as it is today. At that time, all I knew was that I wanted to try something new to see how my body and mind would respond to it.

My routine prior to lifting weights looked something like this: I would go to four workout classes a week at the gym, socialize with other class participants, and get a smoothie to reward myself for my hard work that day. I never saw dramatic changes, but looking back I realize that I was simply comfortable with my routine and hadn't really thought about how great it would feel to truly achieve something.

Getting started with weight training was easy because I made a decision to do it. However, I remember the first month of training being challenged and thinking I had to get better. I did get better. I lost 25 pounds in two and a half months and saw a major difference in my body.

I loved the physical changes, but something bigger happened with that I didn't see coming: Lifting weights and being dedicated to a new, more challenging workout program was preparing me to better manage my life, deal with obstacles, and accomplish goals. Ultimately, incorporating weights has made me so much happier.

Here's how:

1. Discipline and goal-setting:

Weight training requires consistency and having a set goal. After realizing how much discipline it took me to accomplish my workout, I realized that I could apply the same discipline and goal-setting to move forward in my life outside the gym. I am results-oriented, and seeing how I have been able to transfer my ability to set goals in the gym and apply them to the rest of my life is really incredible.

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2. Pushing through obstacles:

Mental and physical growth with weight training happens at the point that the exercise gets so challenging that finishing one more rep feels like a struggle. However, weight training requires that I push through at least five more reps than I want to in order to grow. Being able to push through this physical barrier has helped me identify obstacles that come up in life, as they often appear in the form of challenges and feel uncomfortable.

By applying the same discipline to other challenges in my life, I have been able to accomplish goals in a shorter period of time by not getting stuck in my comfort zone.

3. Confidence:

The greatest confidence with weight training for me has come from the mental fortitude I have developed to accomplish my goals. Weight training has given me both confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Becoming more confident and happier has made it easier for me to help others achieve more in their own lives.

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4. Perseverance:

The definition of perseverance is, "steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success." One of the keys to accomplishing any goal in my life has been to persevere. Weight training is meant to be challenging, and the results are not seen overnight. But despite the time it takes to see the results, by persevering, I woke up one day and really loved the changes I saw from my hard work.

5. Mental strength:

There is a level of mental strength it takes to weight train. I have positive self-talk when I don't feel like working out, and I have to also focus more when I get tired. At the gym, it's just the weights and me. I have told myself everything from "you got this, Lisa" to "keep going. You'll feel good once this is over." My mental resilience has truly made me feel more confident in my life.

Ten years ago, I never knew that wanting to change my body would help me discover the level of mental power I have to take charge of my life. My goal now is to share this with as many people as I can. I want the world to know that weight training and taking great care of your body is truly life-changing.

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