All too often, the bodies and minds of individuals are entirely separated in their heads, rather than the fuel for one and the drive of the other. For those of us who are out of shape, the body is often felt like an obstacle that prevents us from interacting with the world around us as we would like, like trying to unscrew a nail.
You’ll hear complaints that bodies aren’t fast enough, strong enough, they ache, they leave us out of breath, they get tired, hungry and weak. But the body is more than just the portal for sensory experience, it’s an entire part of what goes into identity, respect and mental conditioning. A honed body can give you a stronger mind and resistance training can strengthen your mental and emotional resolve.
It is remarkable to see the amount that weight training and fitness can teach you about yourself and about perseverance and determination. Time set aside for self-reflection and discovery is never wasted, but when weight training this time will also be a positive step towards a healthy physically active lifestyle. One of the most satisfying feelings can be the feeling of physical exhaustion because of exercise, a feeling which genuinely becomes addictive to those who regularly exercise. Training can be your ticket to sound sleep, clear thinking and a healthy mind as you find yourself more resilient and better equipped to deal with challenging situations. Weight training and exercise is medically recognised as one of the most immediate and effective forms of anti-depressants as your body rewards your positive efforts with endorphins as well as muscle building.
But training isn’t enough to revolutionise your lifestyle, once you start cooperating with your body, you will find yourself naturally listening to the messages that it is telling you. Old favourites in the categories of trashy food, or smoking habits will fade away and dissolve as your body starts demanding nutrition and oxygen to keep up with the happy lifestyle that you have started to lead. Diet can be incredibly challenging to maintain, particularly when healthy food is particularly hard to find when buying pre-prepared or fast food.
If you are finding keeping a strict diet challenging, it can be incredibly beneficial to look into protein supplements, not as a means for adding bulk or improving your body aesthetically – though it certainly will do these things – but because this has become the language your body speaks and the fuel it demands of you.
These ideas are covered extensively in the article entitled ‘The Iron‘ by Henry Rollins, an anecdotal description of what weight training has done for him personally. But the conclusions he comes to about the benefits of training for both the physical body and mental health have been explored extensively by the medical community and come to many of the same theories. There is a very good reason why healthy diet and regular exercise is repeatedly vocalised as the universal panacea by government bodies and high authorities of medical practice.