Exercising your body is one of the most important and immediate actions you can take to improve your life. When I am in shape physically I feel it spiritually, emotionally, financially and relationally. I think better, sleep better, work better and enjoy a surge of self-confidence.
Earlier this week I had a few thoughts occur to me regarding life lessons I’ve learned at the gym. Yesterday we hit the first three: (Read the entire article here)
- You have to hurt before you can grow.
- Showing up is half the battle.
- I get stronger when I go with someone.
Let’s talk about the other three lessons…
Know the difference between good pain and bad pain… and stop when it’s bad.
Yesterday I said that pain always precedes growth. That’s true, but intelligent workout artists know the difference between good and bad pain! Good pain is something you press through. Bad pain is something you stop for.
Lots of people quit because it hurts… even if it’s good pain. They will never enjoy the other side of pain.
On the other hand, there are some people who don’t know when to quit, and they injure themselves as a result.
Just a couple of weeks ago I walked away from an exercise because I felt a bad pain. I knew that pressing through it would do significant harm.
It’s hard for me to tell you the difference, but my guess is that you have a pretty good sense.
Bill Hybels (a pastor and exercise buff) wrote an article a few years ago called “Reading Your Gauges” that is a most helpful article on this subject! He tells his story of pressing through the bad pain and hurting himself and shares the secret (learned through pain) of how to identify and avoid bad pain! You can read it here.
Stay close to people who are stronger than you are.
I love going to Brutal Iron Gym for a lot of reasons, one of which is the number of really strong guys training really hard. When I see them pushing and hear them grunting it inspires me to push and grunt too! I know it will lead to greater strength!
Intentionally being around stronger people helps me to visualize what it takes and what it will look like to be stronger!
Listen, if the people around you are weaker than you who is going to inspire and challenge you? There all going to be looking up to you… and in time you’ll notice that you’ve stopped growing!
In life, like the gym, I find that when I intentionally get around people who are smarter, richer, wiser, and have stronger faith than I do I leave inspired, challenged and often equipped to take the next step!
Ask lots of questions.
This is important! I learn a lot by observing and asking questions about new exercises, proper form, etc. Most of the time the people I ask aren’t offended and will even take time to explain (i.e. teach) me the secret of the exercise!
Asking questions requires humility. In essence you are saying, “I don’t know what you know. Will you teach me?” But humility leads to strength and favor.
Just this week while I was doing an exercise, I had a guy come up to me and offer me a tip. I implemented his idea and got seven extra repetitions. In other words, I worked my muscles harder so they will grow bigger because of his tip! Now here’s the thing… do you know why he came up to me and gave me that tip? Because I am always asking him questions! He understands that I want to know and learn and will not take offense at his offering me a suggestion (sometimes people in the gym, like in life, are not open to suggestions on form, etc.).
Whether you are in the gym, the classroom, the garage, or the grocery store… ask questions! You’ll be surprised what people will share with you and how much more you will grow as you listen and implement your new found knowledge!
Well there they are… the six lessons I’ve learned from the gym.
So, how about you? Do you exercise? What life lessons have you picked up from your exercise regimen?