Have you ever had to take an important test, for grade school, high school or college? Something that was dependent on you passing the class. So That if you failed the test you’d have to repeat the grade that you were in. It’s happened to me before. It makes you nervous.
There’s this pressure that happens. When you create pressure in your life it creates anxiety. (below is a video of me reading this article)
In strength training and powerlifting, it does the same thing. People around you might see you miss the lift and there’s the danger of injury.
Embarrassment or snap city.
One of the reasons why this anxiety gets built up is because a part of brain, the amygdala, senses danger.
It’s sometimes referred to as the lizard brain. It’s an unconscious functioning system of the brain that senses fear.
And when we’re doing something where fear or danger are near by, we get alerted because the flight or fight system of the brain kicks in.
In some instances, we get nervous and anxious because in a relatively short period of time we have to make a decision to lean into the fear or flee.
I want you to take a moment and imagine you’re at the grand canyon.
Then from afar, you see a cliff.
Now imagine walking up to the edge of that cliff and peering down.
Really imagine yourself being there with the wind blowing in your face and at any moment you can slip and fall down.
If you were able to visualize this, you might have actually felt your stomach turn.
That’s the amygdala sensing fear. Did you feel it?
Logically you already know, you are safe but, if you have acrophobia, you’d feel it to an extreme. Acrophobia is an irrational fear of heights.
I want to tell you a story about my fear.
When I started my first week as personal trainer working at 24 hour fitness I asked my manager how do I get more clients. When he described what he wanted me to do, a coldness went over my body and I could feel this uncomfortable pressure in the back of my throat.
“Ryan, I want you to go and introduce yourself 5 people. Tell them that if they needed any help with anything to come to you, give them your business card and continue walking in the gym. Do this with 5 people every day.”
So I mustered as much courage as I could and spotted a member on the floor that was the least intimidating. With a tremble in my voice, I introduced myself.
I spoke way too fast and I was clearly nervous.
I walked away well before he could reply.
One down 4 to go, I thought.
I walked around the gym floor trying my best to feel normal, but I was pretty tense and anxious.
I had trouble calming down and instead went to bathroom. I picked the handicap stall because it was the largest. locked the door and pretended to do a number 2 to take a ****. With a sigh of relief, I immediately felt relaxed.
It was because, It felt really good to be alone. I was safe. The thought of doing this, to this day, still makes me feel a little nauseous.
It makes me wonder how I made it this far. On top of being introverted, I have what you would call a mild form of social anxiety.
This is something I’m in the process of conquering and I promise to talk more about it in the future.
But what’s does this have to do with how weight lifting builds confidence?
Well, Each time you lift a heavy weight, squat, bench or deadlift, you are exposing yourself to potential danger.
Exposure is what builds confidence.
Because when you expose yourself to a heavy weight or a new exercise, your amygdala gets activated.
It’s sensing danger.
When you move the weight successfully with good form, you teach your amygdala that this is safe for you to do.
Safe enough anyway.
When you do a heavy weight, for multiple reps for multiple sets you are exposing your lizard brain to risk. With each successful rep and each successful set, you reinforce that “this is safe for you to do.” This is something that you can’t directly control because it’s a flight of fight response that mostly unconscious.
It’s a feeling.
And you can’t will yourself to change how you feel, unless you experience it in a way that builds confidence.
that’s worth repeating – unless you experience in a way that builds confidence
You have to feel that fear, face that discomfort multiple times, until it becomes less uncomfortable.
And that’s where confidence comes from. It comes from experiencing that what you’re doing is safe with in your capabilities.
As you push further and further outside edge of your ability the lizard brain starts to get agitated.
What makes weight training so effective in building confidence is that you’re able to choose the exact level in which you approach that agitation.
An exact amount of weight.
An exact number of sets.
An exact number of reps.
You get the satisfaction of accuracy. An exact measurement for how much you pushed through that fear.
Certainty breeds confidence
Your comfort zone expands and Your limit increases
Each workout builds upon the next, you get stronger workout after workout.
Week in and week out. Months go by and before you know it you’re lifting personal best 1 rep max for multiple reps.
You Grin with satisfaction , almost laughing at the fact that the weight you use to dread you can now lift with zero self doubt because you’ve become unstoppable
You do not think you’re stronger
You actually are stronger
Heavy weight training has change my life in a way you cannot imagine.
If you’re not already training, seriously consider it. And if you are lifting already, consider taking it to the next level.
Better than any pill I’ve tried, it’s the best anti-depressant.
I hoped you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed making it for you.
This article is for you because you’ve made it this far. So few people ever will read this far down. So this is a genuine thank you.
And if you’ve ever dealt with Shyness or Social Anxiety I highly recommend you check out Sean Cooper’s System.
It’s something I’ve been using and it’s been helping me a ton. I have a mastermind event I have coming up and I need to socialize and make connections with people.
This is not easy for me to do so that’s why I reached out Sean.
This is not a paid endorsement, but it is an affiliate link. So if you decide to get the program it helps me out.
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Thanks for Reading.