There is no denying the physical benefits of intense, regular exercise. Pushing your body to the limit week after week and month after month will strip fat, build muscle, and develop unstoppable endurance. Your workouts are also good for your general health and could even help you live longer. Fitness is the REAL fountain of youth!
However, the benefits of tough workouts go beyond the physical, and working out affects you mentally and even spiritually.
In this article, we reveal some of the hidden benefits of intense training and what it can teach you.
In the military, discipline means doing what you are told. After all, soldiers generally operate as part of a team, squad, or troop, which entails following orders. However, to us civilians, discipline means taking control of your life and not letting your life control you.
For example, you know you have to be at work early, so you need discipline to resist staying up all night watching Netflix when you should be sleeping. Or, you want to lower your body fat percentage and get lean, so you need the discipline to stop eating junk food when you should be eating healthier.
An abundance of discipline means you are the boss, and it makes sticking to your guns much easier.
Following a workout routine develops discipline. You get used to turning up and doing the work, even when you don’t feel like it. Gradually, this discipline will spill over into other avenues of your life, and you’ll be glad it did. The more disciplined you are, the easier you’ll find it to reach your goals, both in and out of the gym.
Easy workouts don’t produce results. You need to force your body to adapt and grow. Take it easy, and you’ll stay where you are. You may even backslide.
It takes massive determination to continue repping out even though your muscles and mind are screaming at you to stop. You need the same determination to keep on running even though your lungs and legs are burning, and it feels like your heart wants to leap out of your chest.
This determination is helpful in other parts of your life. Use it to drive you forward in your career or personal life. Being determined means that you won’t quit, no matter how intense the opposition is.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going – thanks, Billy Ocean!
Comfort in discomfort
Let’s be honest; tough workouts can hurt. Your muscles shake and burn, your lungs heave, and your heart pounds. It’s both terrible and weirdly addictive. So, you start to welcome the pain; it signals that you are triggering the changes you want to see in your body.
Life outside the gym is usually much more comfortable until it’s not. Illness, injuries, and emotional and physical pain can be tough to handle – especially if you lead an easy, sedentary life.
But, as they say in the armed forces, you train hard so you can fight easy. Pushing yourself in the gym means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. So, when life gets hard, you are better equipped to handle it.
The car breaks down, and you have to walk three miles to town? No problem! Power cut and no heating for a day? You can cope! Feeling ill, tired, and weak? You’ve felt worse!
Tough workouts make coping with adversity easier. You know you’ve been through worse – for fun, no less – so whatever difficulties you’re facing now will be a cakewalk in comparison.
No one is going to do your workout for you. In the end, your progress depends on you. You are responsible for your results. Your body will adapt and grow if you train hard and consistently, eat well, and get plenty of rest and sleep. But your progress will suffer if you start skipping workouts or chugging beers instead of protein shakes.
Learning that your actions have consequences is critical for leading a successful life. Some people are lucky and have success handed to them, but most people have to work for it. But, as the saying goes, the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get!
Understanding and developing responsibility mean you understand that you have to work for what you want. Your happiness, financial security, career success, etc., are in your hands.
A lot of people are quick to blame others for their woes and label life as unfair. While they may have a point, complaining won’t help. Taking responsibility for your life is a much better use of your time and energy.
Training hard develops self-confidence. Weights that once scared you are no longer so intimidating. You’ve risen to their challenge and moved on to the next level, and the next, and the next. This creates a can-do attitude you can apply to other areas of your life.
Confidence is also linked to how you look and feel. Being muscular and lean is more attractive than being soft and weak, and fit-looking people tend to exude confidence.
Confidence is a very valuable commodity in most careers and is also very appealing to potential romantic partners. Being confident means you aren’t easily intimidated or put off. You can hold your own in almost any setting, both socially and at work.
However, don’t confuse confidence with arrogance – they’re two very different things. Confidence draws people to you and is contagious. Arrogance is repugnant and drives people away.
Better organization, prioritization, and time management
Training hard and often is time-consuming. As well as your workouts, you also need to organize your rest and recovery, get enough sleep, and plan your diet. Eating healthily requires additional time and effort, as you’ll need to buy, prepare, and cook the majority of your meals.
Unless you are a full-time athlete, all of this must happen around your work day, and you must balance it with your family and social life, too.
But if you want to achieve your fitness goals, you’ll need to find a way to manage all these demands. You’ll organize your day, so you’ve got time to train, prioritize your workouts over less important leisure activities, and make room in your schedule for friends and family. It’s a juggling act, but you can do it.
Organization, prioritization, and time management are all vital life skills, and they’ll make your life easier and less frantic. They’re also important in most careers and could help you be more successful.
We all have days when our mental gears refuse to turn, and we cannot come up with new ideas or solutions to problems. Staring at a blank screen won’t help, and you’ll feel increasingly frustrated as the mental block persists.
A tough workout forces you to focus on other things. You can’t squat heavy while thinking about spreadsheets, reports, or mission statements. Often, doing something intensely physical removes mental barriers, and the solution becomes clear.
Regular workouts mean you give your brain lots of these breaks, which can do wonders for your creativity. Also, working out is good for your brain in general, improving cognition, memory, problem-solving, critical thinking, and other feats of mental gymnastics.
So, bigger biceps equal a bigger brain – who knew!
Discovery Through Discomfort – Closing Thoughts
It’s easy to focus on the physical benefits of exercise and forget how working out is good for almost every aspect of your health and well-being. And while muscle building, fat loss, and better cardiovascular fitness tend to occur quite slowly, some of the less apparent benefits of working out happen much sooner.
For example, just one workout can boost creativity or enhance your mood.
Of course, the more often and consistently you train, the more pronounced these benefits become. That’s why you need to make training part of your lifestyle. Not for a week or a month, but for as long as possible.