5 Success Traits You Develop Through Weight Training
In virtually every aspect of life, a small percentage of people thrive, most get by, and some barely survive.
Rarely, is the difference a result of environment or luck. Instead, the difference is in the mindset of those who thrive and those who do not.
Success in a network marketing business is also quite simple. Present your product or service to other people, help them get in the habit of using it regularly, and then help them present it to people they know.
Relationships? Those come down to investing quality time, being humble enough to hear how you could be a better partner for the other person, and learn to see things from his or her point of view instead of insisting the other person see things from yours.
The point is, the “recipe” for success in just about anything is hardly a secret. Most of the time, you could summarize it on a napkin.
It’s the “doing” part that separates those who thrive from those who get by.
To do what needs to be done consistently, you have to rewire your brain with a bias toward action.
Weight training has a unique way of doing just that, which is why, when someone asks me, “How can I develop the traits to succeed in _______?” I often respond with, “Join a gym and get on a weight training program four days per week. Stick with it for a minimum of six months and then let me know how the rest of your life has improved.”
I’ll explain why in a moment, but I first want to explain how I recently came to this realization.
The Fitness-Network Marketing Connection
On February 1, 2015, I resigned from a very successful, 13-year career at Life Time Fitness, and joined Vanessa and what I’ve called, “a most fascinating and eye-opening human behavior experiment.”
This human behavior experiment is our network marketing business.
When I joined Vanessa in 2015, we had about 7000 members in our downline. Today we have about 13,000. In addition to helping new members get started with Young Living ourselves, we do a lot of coaching, business development education, and mentoring others who also want to build a business.
Like fitness and weight loss, a small percentage of would-be business builders take off and rock their business, while a large percentage don’t.
Over time, I saw patterns in behavior, excuses, and belief systems. The reasons so many people didn’t get their business off the ground were the very same reasons people didn’t succeed with their fitness or weight loss programs.
It’s in the practice of doing that gets you to your goals. So why don’t people do the work? Why don’t they do what it takes in their personal and professional lives to reach their potential?
In a sense, they’re satisfied with the way things are. They’d like things to be better, as long as there isn’t much work involved.
But all too often, people subconsciously throw up their hands as soon as they face the work that has to get done.
Which leads me to weight training.
From my experience and observation, when someone follows a well-designed weight training program, and makes progress month after month, they end up training their brain to see their goals with a new perspective.
And when they take an hour, four times per week, to invest in their personal and professional success through following a periodized weight training program, the effects spill over into all areas of their lives.
Weight training develops the following five mental, emotional, and physical traits, which help you succeed in almost every area of your life.
1. Discipline – The Ability to Exercise Self-Control
If you’re a “free spirit,” or someone who hates planning or being held any expectations, you probably hate this word.
I’m not referring to discipline as you following someone else rules, or being controlled by someone else.
Discipline is self-control. It is the ability to make choices based on your best long-term interest, rather than choosing only what feels good in the moment.
When you repeatedly make time for your training sessions, even when it means getting up early on a cold, snowy day, or skipping happy hour, it changes the way you view your priorities.
When you consistently get up early for a training session, saying no to junk food at the office is a lot easier.
When you consistently make time to get to the gym instead of watching your favorite TV series, you develop a mindset that also makes it easier to call prospects for your home-based business.
Those who consistently go to the gym and follow a specific plan tend to be those who also do whatever it takes to succeed in other areas of their lives. It isn’t the gym itself. It’s the discipline that’s created by making exercise a non-negotiable part of your life.
Discipline develops by continually doing things that are in your best, long-term interest, even when they don’t feel good in the moment.
2. Focus – The Ability to Tune Out Noise or Distraction
When I think of focus, I think of the Tortoise and the Hare. You might think that the morale of the story is that “slow and steady” wins the race. I disagree.
Focus wins the race.
The reason the Tortoise won, was that he stayed focus on the race. One slow step at a time.
The Hare, on the other hand, lost focus on the finish line and payed more attention to the Tortoise, and then got distracted by the comfort of taking a nap before he crossed the finish line.
A focused Hare would have smoked the Tortoise. However, the Hare, with all his talent, got beat by his own distraction.
Focus during a set of weight training allows you to concentrate only on overcoming the resistance in the moment. Focus during work, school, or intimate moments with your significant other allows you to make the most of the opportunity, and move closer and closer to your goal.
The heavier the resistance gets, and the greater the distraction you’re exposed to, the more focus you must develop. The more focus you develop, the more inner strength you can call on.
You learn to tune out the noise and temptations around you. You develop focus in your 20-60 second sets during your weight training session.
3. Strength – The Ability to Overcome Resistance
I was training a client at the Lakeville Life Time Fitness one morning, back in 2007. Over the back of my shoulder, I saw a rather “de-conditioned” man in his 40s, adding weights to the bar at the bench press. I noticed that he loaded the bar to 275 pounds, and a little voice in my head said, “that doesn’t look right.”
He laid down on the bench, lifted the weight off the rack, and lowered the bar to his chest, his arms shaking and his face turning red as a ripe tomato.
I quickly turned around, grabbed the bar with both hands, and helped him get it back on the rack.
After a few seconds, he said, “Thanks for the help! I just joined the gym today, and wanted to see if I could still handle the same weight on bench that I did back in high school.”
I didn’t say it, but I did think it…“That was stupid.”
Physical, mental, and emotional strength is the result of progressively and consistently overcoming increasing levels of resistance or adversity.
The guy who hadn’t lifted weight since high school didn’t have the same strength he did 20 years earlier. He hadn’t exposed his body to that kind of stress, consistently, in a couple decades.
This same principle applies to business.
Strength develops over time. If you try create shortcuts, you get hurt…physically, emotionally, or mentally.
To develop physical, emotional, and mental strength, you have to keep trying stuff that’s progressively more difficult.
A would-be network marketing business builder will never handle the challenges of leading a team, if she hasn’t built the strength to overcome a naysaying family member or a friend who says “no” to their opportunity.
An employee will never handle the stress of managing multiple projects as a director, if he can’t complete the one project he’s responsible for.
Strength is always relative, not to someone else, but to where you were last week. When you look at what you did last week for your workout, and then exceed it this week, you develop greater strength, which allows you to do even more the next week.
It’s this slow, progressive exposure to greater resistance that develops strength.
4. Stamina – The Ability to Sustain Prolonged Physical or Mental Effort
Most people can do something mentally or physically demanding once. To do it over and over and over is a whole other thing.
Stamina is required to build a long-lasting relationship, a thriving business, or to maintain physical health well into late adulthood.
I recently introduced my Vigor Online Training Program members to German Volume Training recently. The workouts consisted of 10 sets of 10 reps for the main movements.
It’s one thing to do two or three sets of 10. It’s a totally different experience to do 10 sets of 10, with a time limit on the rest periods between sets.
At the end of the first set, 10 sets doesn’t sound that bad. By set five or six, you start wishing you were done. By set seven or eight, it starts to get painful. Yet, you keep going, until you get to the end.
Just as I explained in The Emotional Cycle of Change, when you first start down the path toward a new goal, you focus on the feeling of accomplishing it, and forget about the effort needed along the way. About halfway through, the full weight of what you have left to do hits you.
Many people don’t have stamina, so they quit.
Those who train with weights understand this mental game, and they persevere. They train themselves to persevere each workout, and that same mentality spills over, into all the other things they do.
They rewire their brain to say, “I can do this,” instead of saying, “It’s just too hard.”
5. Resilience – The Ability to Recover From Difficulties (“Toughness”)
Resilience is bouncing back from setbacks, disappointments, pain, injury, hurt feelings, and failures.
The whole point of weight training is to inflict a small amount of micro-trauma on your muscles, and expose your nervous system to a greater level of resistance than it has experienced before.
Between workouts, you recover and become stronger than you were before. Without the resistance, you wouldn’t have resilience. Then, when a friend asks you to move a dresser with him, you spend the next day in pain because you had no resilience.
Or you run into a problem with your boss, employee, or a team members. Because you have no resilience, the episode sets you back emotionally for days.
You do not develop resilience without dealing with stress.
Unfortunately, in life, most people often crumble like a sandcastle during high tide. With the first wave of stress, they fall apart.
Only those who quickly bounce back can continue on toward success.
When I think of resilience, the image that comes to mind every time is the final fight in Rocky IV. It’s such a great depiction of life.
Initially, Ivan Drago was pounding the life out of Rocky. Yet Rocky kept getting back up on his feet. He kept getting hit, but he wouldn’t stay down, and eventually he won.
If you want to watch it again, here’s the final fight.
The punches you take in life are just the stimulus you need to recover and bounce back, stronger than you were before…physically, mentally, and emotionally.
You decide how long you stay down, and when you will get back up on your feet. The mental toughness you develop from overcoming greater challenges each week at the gym will help you mentally bounce back from the challenges you face at work, at home, and everywhere else.
I’ll let Rocky once again summarize resilience:
You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!
Weight training teaches you to complete a set to a point where you’re fatigued, and then do it again. And again. Until you’re done. That is resilience.
Weight Training Enhances Your Ability
In case you didn’t catch it, did you see that every one of these traits is an ability?
As an ability, it’s something you can develop over time. If you’re willing to put in the effort.
What you do to your physical body has a direct effect on your mental and emotional state, so it makes sense that the traits you develop from weight training spill over to your mental and emotional state and positively impact your personal and professional life.
Building strength and athletic ability is another benefit of weight training, but in my opinion, those benefits pale in comparison to the impact your mindset shift has on the rest of your life.
One final note…I’m often asked about whether it matters if you workout at home or at a gym. I strongly recommend joining a gym if you have one within 15 minutes of you.
You’ll not only be more likely to follow through, if you go there, but you’ll also surround yourself with others who are pursuing their own health and fitness goals. Their commitment is sure to influence yours.
If you think of someone else who could benefit from this article, please share it.