If the physical benefits of strength training that were discussed in my last post weren’t enough to persuade you to try it, then listen up because there are profound psychological benefits too! Yay!
Looking at others and comparing yourself to them can leave you feeling inadequate, or as though you’re not enough, and a large proportion of women feel like they fail to meet their own high standards. I don’t think these self sabotaging thought processes are ever any worse than when you’re comparing your body shape, size or weight to that of someone else.
Spending hours obsessing over your weight or body shape and size can create disordered eating and over training. Changes to your weight, size or shape may well be a desired outcome, but try to reward your good behaviours and not become prefixed on an outcome. If you’re hitting up the gym because you hate your body and can’t wait for it to look like someone else’s then you will never really be happy. Even if you hit your target weight or dress size, your problems will not be solved.
Enter: strength training – I see building strength as a gift to my body, when I go to the gym, I’m not punishing my body for something I ate earlier or for not being skinny or light enough. I’m grateful for my healthy body and appreciate what it can do. By focusing on my strength I push myself to be better than I was the same time last week, last month or last year , I don’t compare my body to others and I can feel that an inner confidence has developed.
Getting strong stops you focusing on what you want to lose and instead on what you want to gain. Instead of finishing a session, pinching the fat around your middle and asking, ‘when will this go?’ You will finish a session and compliment yourself on lifting more or notice that you’ve gained shapely muscle.
Quite often, when combined with the right nutrition, strength training does result in improved body composition. BUT it’s so much healthier and fun to enjoy the process and not just wait for the results before giving yourself permission to be happy.