Eric participated in SLSC's corporate wellness program with Gatorade. He has a history as a basketball player, but hadn't been in the weight room since high school. He didn't want to do anything too crazy in terms of exercise, but he wanted to learn about weight training.
Eric gained 17 pounds of muscle (as measured by a DXA scan – which is actually accurate) over six months. And his back no longer bothers him while he's sleeping.
Eric works for Gatorade, and got an e-mail in his inbox announcing a program called GFEAT (Gatorade – For Every Athlete Training). The program offered three tracks: strength, fitness, and endurance.
Even though Eric played basketball regularly and had some experience in the weight room in high school, he'd only been using his gym membership for the basketball court.
He had a vague sense that he "should" be doing some weight training, but didn't really know where to begin, so the Strength track of the GFEAT program appealed to him.
Still, there was a certain level of intimidation about signing up, since he hadn't done any serious training in a long time, and he didn't want to get in over his head with the program.
Anytime you start something new, there is going to be a period with some confusion – and this was no different in Eric's case.
He didn't know all the exercises that he was being asked to do. He experienced soreness that he hadn't felt in a while from the training. He had a gym membership, but had only used it to play basketball. Even seemingly simple things, like "What time do I go to the gym?" can derail someone getting started.
It's so easy to say, "I'll figure it out later." – but then later comes and we've never actually taken action.
In Eric's case, though, he found the accountability of the GFEAT program helped him figure things out and start to find routine and habit.
Once Eric got started, he found the process of training rewarding in and of itself.
Folks who have the big successes that Eric had (17 pounds of muscle in six months) often get there by focusing on incremental improvements throughout the process. Sure, it's important to have a big goal on the horizon, but the thing that got Eric there was his dedication to figuring out how he could do just a little bit more or a little bit better every day in the gym.
Now, there can be a dark side to this obsession with improvement – what happens when you don't improve? What happens when the quick gains of being a beginner stall out? For this reason, training can be a bit of a mental grind as well, but Eric found fulfillment in the daily practice of training and looking for the next step.
Training isn't all about the numbers in terms of pounds of muscle added, pounds of fat lost, and additional plates added to a back squat personal record.
Sure, those things are great – and the reality is that most people train to either improve their aesthetics or improve their performance.
Still, there are plenty of other benefits to exercise. We all know the tropes about exercising for better sleep and better mental clarity. We've probably all heard stories of CEOs starting every day with a run. But, like most things, these benefits are hard to understand until you've experienced them.
Exercise creates a system with a positive feedback loop – you're accountable to your results in the gym, so it becomes easier to make good food choices and it becomes easier to get to bed on time. All of these things feed on each other, and can make a big difference in how you feel and perform – not just in the gym but at your job and in your relationships as well.
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