The other day I was browsing through some old family photos, and stumbled upon one of myself in high school.
I was a beanpole. I was stick-thin. Scrawny. Skinny. 125 pounds soaking wet.
This got me thinking—I’ve changed a lot over the years, but what was it that really set me off? What was the one thing I did that really began to transform my life?
…and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was obvious, as clear as day. Embarking on the gym rat’s journey is what changed my life. Here’s how.
There’s an old saying in the bodybuilding community that every newbie hears when they first start training. Inevitably, you’ll get some half-decent, but half-bullshit routine from some generic bodybuilding website, and start hitting the gym. You won’t notice any results for months.
Then again, as if by magic, you’ll hear someone utter those words: “No pain, no gain.” It will all start to make sense. You’ll understand now. If you want to make progress in the gym, you have to be willing to put in the work—it will hurt like a motherfucker, but like they say, if you don’t feel that pain, you won’t get those gains.
While this quote is a bit of a cliche, it’s a lesson that’s applicable to every area of life. The real reason why others are successful isn’t due to talent, or some streak of luck. It’s because they’re willing to go through pain right now, for more reward later.
This is the very foundation of improving your life, and it’s why so few people are able to make quantum leaps in their personal evolution. Nobody wants to suffer, and nobody wants to feel the pain of every single muscle fiber in your bicep begging you to stop curling. But those who are willing to push through, find themselves looking like Adonis.
I remember back in my early childhood when I prided myself on my intellect. I would play video games all day, and read books all night—and while I certainly didn’t try very hard in school, I always somehow managed to get good grades. Then I began to notice something, however.
I noticed that a lot of the smarter people in my friend group had this weird hatred of physical activity, as if they were above it or something. “Look at that guy,” they’d say. “He’s like a primate, spending all that time lifting weights.” People who are naturally gifted with their minds typically neglect their bodies.
This is a grave mistake, however—you cannot separate the mind from the body. They are one. Write this lesson down, etch it into your brain, and tattoo it onto your fucking forehead. The sooner that you can see past the mind/body false dichotomy, the sooner you will be free.
What affects the mind will inevitably affect the body, and what affects the body will inevitably affect the mind. We categorize them differently for the sake of conducting science, research, and communication, but in reality they’re one—the same brain that you think your mind comes from is connected to every single cell in your body. They are one.
The lessons that you learn in the gym are immense. Some of them take only a few days to learn, while others take years—but they all have one thing in common. These aren’t isolated principles that will only impact your physical fitness. They’re lessons that will affect your entire life.
When you go to the gym, over and over, day in and day out, you learn to establish a routine. This creates order in your life, and makes it easier to succeed in all other areas, from your career to your social life. Without an orderly life, nothing worthwhile can be achieved.
Lifting weights teaches you discipline, as well. It teaches you to push past the pain, and to endure the suffering—a trait which is crucial if you mean to succeed in life. Many a great men have been asked what the secret to success is, and many a great men have attributed their success to their ability to persevere through obstacles.
All of the lessons that you learn in the gym bleed into every other area of your life. Like I said, the mind and body are one. You can’t cultivate massive discipline in the gym without having that same discipline bleed into other areas of your life, and you can’t constantly break your personal records in the gym without striving to do the same in other areas of life.
The first year that I started lifting weights, I began to notice something interesting—at first it was just that my body was growing and I was getting stronger, but eventually it was more than that. Women began treating me differently. My confidence increased. I felt better, I slept better, and I stopped putting up with bullshit.
When you take the time to lift weights, you cultivate discipline. You cultivate inner strength, the willingness to persevere despite pain, and a mentality that values long term success over short term pleasures. These all begin to bleed into other areas of your life, and the results will astound you.
Couldn’t talk to girls before? Now you can, without fear. Couldn’t seem to sit down and get that project done? Now you can, without procrastinating. Didn’t have any sort of goal in life? Now you do, and you get closer and closer every day.
Lifting teaches you to become successful, because the very act of hitting the gym embodies all of the principles of success that I teach on my blog. I know of no better way for a man to transform his life, than to start first with the physical.
When you see your body grow before your eyes, and take the time to learn about health and fitness, you’ll realize what else is possible. That very same discipline, perseverance, and will power that you build from hitting the weights like an animal can be applied to other areas of life.
Nearly every lesson that you learn from lifting weights in the gym can be applied to some area of your life, and often times all areas of your life. Discipline, will power, perseverance, pain tolerance, and motivation go a long way.
You want to build a business? No sweat, just apply some of that discipline and perseverance that you learned. Just like in the gym, building a businesses requires a lot of discipline, focus, effort, and struggle—but again, just like having the physique of a Greek god, the results will be worth it.
Maybe you’re trying to improve your social life, or date higher quality women. No worries, those very same characteristics that you cultivated in the gym can be applied to learning cold approach game, building a larger social circle, and learning how to cope with rejection. No pain, no gain.
Lifting absolutely transformed my life, and that’s not an exaggeration. When I began cultivating the discipline and perseverance required to be successful in the gym, I noticed that I gained all sorts of superpowers in other areas of my life.
It was easier to crush procrastination, my days became more organized, I found myself making more and more money—everything just started to click.
Lifting weights teaches you the core principles of success, which can be applied to every area of your life. This is why I always recommend that men start with lifting first, because the rest will typically follow once you get that down.
If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comments section below—and as always, I’ll see you next time.
Jon Anthony is a dating coach, fitness expert, and self-improvement guru. He dropped out of college to start Masculine Development in 2015, and has since been self-employed, helping men across the world achieve their best lives. You can best reach him on social media, or via email for questions.