More Than Fat Loss

Look great naked.

That’s why a lot of us step foot in the gym. It’s not a bad thing. Looking good usually means you also feel good and have increased self confidence. But what do you do after you achieve that goal?

Most people don’t want to enter a bodybuilding show and have no desire to be in the single digit body fat range. The amount of time and energy it takes to get and stay there is exhausting and the lifestyle can be anti-social. Swinging the pendulum all the way to the other side, most people aren’t ready to enter a sanctioned powerlifting meet before they have a bit of experience in the strength game.

There are many avenues to challenge yourself physically that don’t involve just trying to look great. Coincidentally I’ve never met anyone who has worked hard in the gym, followed a decent diet and didn’t look good. Just because your primary focus isn’t based in aesthetics doesn’t mean you can’t look great. I’ve felt, performed and looked my best when powerlifting, training for Tactical Strength Challenge or training for a challenging certification like the Ultimate Sandbag DVRT or StrongFirst’s SFG. Powerlifting is easy and enjoyable for me but the others definitely push me out of my comfort zone and require me to do some serious conditioning that I would otherwise not do. Even powerlifiting training keeps me in the gym longer and more frequently than normal, along with pushing me to take recovery more seriously (nutrition, sleep, contrast showers).

Physical challenges such as the mentioned strength sports or certifications do much more than just provide a physical input to your body. The mental benefits from learning to push yourself are huge. Want to build up some grit? Try doing 100 kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes. You’ll learn quickly about persistence and turning off self defeating thoughts. That set of 12 bicep curls isn’t going to teach you that. Want to learn how to not fear failure? Do a powerlifting meet and attempt to lift a weight you’ve never touched in front of 100 people. If you want to grow as a person you have to step out of your comfort zone and strength sports are a great place to do that.

I don’t know much but I’m 100% sure that I wouldn’t have the same views on life had I never faced any controlled physical hardship. Life has gotten very easy for most of us in the developed world and fitness is a safe way to get a bit uncomfortable. You might just learn a bit about yourself while doing so.