One of the main reasons why weight training has recently become a preferred exercise choice amongst women is simply because it is a powerful confidence booster. When you lift weights you are building and toning muscle, which in turn fortifies the bone structure, ligaments and tendons. However, it has become a symbol of female fearlessness.
The first time I was ready to pick up a “real” weight I was amazed by the feeling I experienced. It may have been a metal object but it eventually represented a challenge I took, a fear I overcame and a moment of growth. I was getting in my fitness persona.
While strength can be measured by the amount of weight you can bench press or squat, being strong is also a mental fortitude that eases you through struggles in your personal, spiritual and professional life.
In weight training there is a famous trifecta for muscle growth: lift heavy, do less reps and increase your rest between sets. Even though muscle gain can be achieved through many different workout and exercise programs it makes sense that with a higher load your muscles will reach fatigue sooner and you will have to rest for a longer time to allow them to recover. Just compare how hard it is to move a bookshelf compared to a chair. With the latter since it is a lower weight you will be able to move it easily and don’t end up huffing and puffing.
While it may seem a simple theory it is not that commonly applied to other aspects of life where stress, overloads and lack of enjoyment seem to overpower your mental strength and mental energy.
Taking Notes from Weight Training…
Strength training is a type of exercise but believe it or not it can teach a powerful lesson:
Prioritize value and importance
When you want to build that hamstring, you lift a heavier weight because you know that is what is going to ignite the burn and leave you that uncomfortable yet satisfying feeling of accomplishment the day after. You tackle the bigger muscles first because you have all your energy in.
Do the same and tackle the bigger project at work or finish the most important task first. It will be strenuous of course but knowing that you rocked out that huge assignment will make you feel unquenchable. By making these a priority you are focusing on what will give you the greatest return when you have the greatest energy.
Take only what you can handle at a time
The heavier you lift the sooner you will need to rest and the more fatigued you will become. If you increase the load too fast that will not mean that your muscles will grow faster. The increase has to be gradual and you must be able to rock that last rep out of the park first.
Multi-tasking and filling up your plate day in and day out may seem like you will be the one to beat. The one that will knock out a whole day of to-do’s in a blink of an eye. However, doing too much at one time can actually decrease your productivity. The law of diminishing returns explains the fact that one more thing will not add up to a bigger result; in fact it will actually produce less. Create your priorities and make sure that you accomplish the last thing on your list before starting a new one. Remember that quality reigns.
Take time to recharge
The more fatigued the muscle becomes the longer you will have to wait to do another set. If you jump in too soon you may not end up being able to finish the set. Equally, rest and recovery is just as important as the actual exercise for the end result to appear.
Your mind also needs rest and time to recharge. The more you mentally load on and the more work you make your brain perform the more it is going to ask for some time off. You might notice your memory may start to fail on you; you may lose concentration or even break down. It is normal, you just need some time to rest. Rest can be in the form of intervals too so next time you have a big project due, work on it for 40 min, then rest for 20 min and keep repeating this cycle.
Exercise has been appraised for its beneficial effects on the body to make us healthier and stronger. We tend to forget that our brain is part of our body that needs some dedication and training. For that let’s learn from weight training.
-Are you a multi-tasker?
-What are some ways you use to “recharge”?