Workout as a therapy
There can be periods in anybody’s life, when workout is though not paused completely, it gets pushed into the background a little bit. There can be certain situations in life when working out is supposed to be the last thing on your mind. And this actually happens if you perceive bodybuilding just as an aesthetic sport or hobby you can put aside whenever you wish to.
But if you have been pursuing it for years—which means, it has become a habit; a part of you; something you don’t consider a chore but an inescapable and unquestionable part of your day—well, then you may rely on it even in the worst, the most depressing periods of your life. Because, when everything around you seems to fall apart, you need a secure point to hold on; something that gives a frame to your daily routine and pulls you together in hard times.
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Many people turn to booze in such situations. Others become chainsmokers. There are a thousand self-destructive ways of stress “management”. But you can be different. You don’t need to be one in the crowd; you don’t need to be like the people who mope around at home all day and choose “questionable” ways to deal with stress.
The gym is a place where you get a chance to leave your worries and cares outside the door, at least for a while, if you really want to. You wouldn’t believe how much this means.
All good friends are awaiting you inside. And I don’t mean loud pals but cold steel; machines; dumbbells and barbells. Because they are your friends in these times. They don’t commiserate in vain. They don’t want to cheer you up, whether you want it or not. They won’t smile in your face and backbite you afterwards. They are always there, waiting persistently for you to decide who will win that day: you or them!
Weights don’t lie. They are just as heavy, whether you are hurting or not. You might have a bad day. But they won’t spare you for some trumped-up excuse. They won’t handle you with kid gloves. You have to push the bar, no matter how depressed you are. You must stand up with it. You must lift it up from the ground.
Weights will show you if you are weak; they will show you if you didn’t care about food or rest; they will show you if you are not focused enough. They will show you everything. Weights are honest.
And this is a good thing.
This is good because this also means that in the gym, you simply cannot let yourself immerse in your sorrows, whatever those may be. In the gym, you must focus. Or, let me put it the other way around: you get the opportunity to focus on the weights and exercises ONLY. Think about it: let’s say your workout only lasts for one hour. And after a stressful day, could you think of any better therapy than forgetting it all for an hour? In a stressful period, what could be a better sanctuary than a place where you don’t need to care about your problems? Don’t bring your phone. If the music sucks, bring an mp3-player and stick it into your ears. From now on, it’s only you and the weights! Don’t let anyone distract you if you are not in the mood for company.
Just proceed from one exercise to the other, cold like a machine. It’s only the weights, you and your muscles. Eliminate all sources of distraction. Visualize; imagine in advance what you will do in the next 30-40 seconds.
Yes, I know. Stress and related eating problems may leave traces on your physique. As for myself, I envy the people who, like machines, are able to eat the way they usually do, even in a stressful period. But you might get weaker. You might not get along with your workout as you did before. But it doesn’t matter.
At times like these, it’s not about bringing your development to a maximum. At times like these, it’s all about not letting yourself go. Don’t give up! It might be crappy, but who cares? It will get better when you get better. Now it’s only about one thing: to eliminate psychological stress with the endorphins your body produces during workout. It’s about fun, focus and deepening your self-knowledge. You may use this period for trying intensity-boosting techniques. Try different exercises or routines. Whatever you are doing in the gym, all that matters is that you should enjoy it and relax!
Another small thing: this might be easier for those who enjoy working out and don’t go to the gym to socialize. Because you may not feel like meeting your pals, and this may hold you back. But workout, I mean, REAL workout: that’s different!
Now that you have fun, you may set new goals! The measures you take towards your goal will help you get along in a planned and structured manner, not only in sport, but in everyday life as well. Doing so, you won’t fall apart, but remain organized. Because, if you can take concrete measures for one specific goal, why couldn’t you do the same in the other areas of your life as well?
THIS is the educating power of sport, which will prevail even more when you are in trouble. It gives you hold. It will help you keep a stiff upper lip. It will prevent you from collapsing, whatever hardship you may have to face in life. You will stand straight. Because sport will not only make your body strong. This is the moral of the story. And this will determine who the real athlete is. In any sport. For us, bodybuilders, the gym is our sanctuary For others, this may be running, swimming or any other sport. It doesn’t really matter.
You cannot leave your problems outside the door? Remember that your day is made up by 24 hours. You take one, and you still have 23 left, which you can stress through if you wish. But hey! You deserve this one hour!Believe me, it’s worth it. Because your problems might not get solved by the end of your workout. Who knows how long this stressful period will last. But knowing that you have a few times a week to forget about it all and let the steam off, can give you incredible power!
And one day you will notice that stress is decreasing. You are starting to get over it. When will it come? Well, it depends on the severity of your problem. But one thing is for sure: you can even bring the maximum out of this period, if that you want it, instead of giving way to self-pity and depression!
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