Exercising is Good For Your Mental Health, Too!

Some perspective on the value of consistency

May 15, 2019

Sometimes life has a way of beating you down. It can be annoying when sh**heads like me come in and say “exercise will help you feel better!”. I know firsthand, because I also tell myself that sort of stuff when life beats me down!

Every day I have client after client coming in saying how much better they feel after each workout. There’s also a growing amount of research on how exercise can improve your mood, but that’s kinda boring to read!

Last Saturday none of that mattered. I was in a sh** mood and just did NOT feel like going to the gym. I wanted to lay in bed and feel bad for myself. Maybe even numb my emotions with some mindless social media scrolling. Not the gym though.

As you might have guessed, I went. I listened to Pantera, Down, Hatebreed, and Lamb of God. I picked up heavy sh**. I felt f***ing awesome during the workout. I felt noticeably better after. Not perfect, but better. Compared to how I felt before, I’ll take it.

Now, here’s why I’m writing this blog. While I was in there, I was ABLE to take my aggression out on the weights, cuz I know what the hell I’m doing. I’ve gotten my repetition. Lots of it. I’ve developed really good form. I pay attention to feeling the right muscles working.

I thought about the people that I hear from all the time that aren’t comfortable or confident in the gym. I mean, I already felt like absolute dogsh**. The last things I’d want to add to that are feeling uncomfortable and insecure! Hence, the "exercise will help you feel better!" is only half-true. It'll help you feel better if you know what the hell you're doing.

I’ve practiced lifting weights a lot over the years. This is why I am able to use the gym and loud music as therapy, without being concerned about hurting myself or wondering what to do.

99% of that practice has been workouts I WANTED to do, that were done consistently, in a great frame of mind- celebrating how incredible the human body and all its magical little cells are. Grateful to have this crazy ball of flesh, grateful to be taking time to take care of it. Really mindful appreciation of movement. All this goes on with a reallllly aggressive soundtrack!

The idea is to enjoy working out regularly. I know, it starts out as another thing to add to your busy day, but if you’re enjoying yourself it actually becomes a break from your busy day. Something you look forward to because you’re improving yourself and developing a new skill that will help you stay healthy for life!

The most important thing is always going to be consistency. Everyone sucks at working out at first. Even if you have good form, you can’t feel your muscles firing right away. It takes repetition and focus to build that mind-muscle connection. The most important thing about the most important thing (consistency) is to not hurt yourself by using more weight than you can control.

Use weight you can CONTROL. Use your muscles, not momentum. And remember, “a great lifter makes the heavy weight look light, and the light weight FEEL heavy!” I don’t know who said that first, but it wasn’t me so I put the quotes there.

If you can just get into a consistent rhythm using those simple principles, it will snowball and you’ll find yourself on the internet figuring out what you wanna figure out from the millions of other blogs/videos/websites that focus more on the X’s and O’s. That not really what #WeightRoomWednesday is about. It’s about helping Rockaholics see the gym in a new light.

I’ve written a couple blogs recently about how intimidating the gym can be and what you can do about it. I fully understand why people feel that way...

If you can get over that initial learning curve, you too can turn it into a place you go to turn up the Slipknot and turn off the bullsh** that’s going on in your brain. There’s not a whole lot of healthy ways to accomplish the second one, let alone both at the same time. (Actually, I can only think of the gym and Pain in the Grass) You’ve just gotta get in there and start!

Down With The Fitness is here to give you simple, actionable tips that will improve your health. If you found this helpful, feel free to check out the archives for more. I'm pretty proud of the rabbit hole this thing has become.

If you have any questions or comments, you can join the 100+ Rockaholics with direct access to me in the Down With The Fitness Facebook Group. It's also the most algorithm-proof way to make sure you see future posts!

Have fun and do your best,

Matt Koch

Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach (American Council on Exercise; Precision Nutrition)