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There is More to Exercise Than Meets the Eye

Many well-intentioned people begin an exercise regimen because they want to achieve the visual benefits that a properly structured program will bring them. They desire to gain muscle, lose fat, reduce inches in their waistline, and look younger. Sometimes a specific upcoming event is the catalyst in making the decision to start working out: a class reunion, a wedding, or even a vacation. Appearance is certainly important, and most of us want to look our very best (myself included). Seeing physical improvements builds a feeling of confidence that can give you a real boost as you go through your day. However, I think it's important to realize that a comprehensive weight training program can do far more for you than just stimulate visual physical improvements. The changes in body shape merely scratch the surface, as there is far more to Total Results exercise than meets the eye.

There are numerous published studies that show exercise has a positive impact on those struggling with depression. Mental health has received a growing amount of attention in recent years, and we are certainly much more aware of the triggers that can lead to negative mental health events. Let's face it, most people go through something at one point or another in their lives, and anything that can help reduce depression in those that have been clinically diagnosed is a good thing. Even people who suffer from the occasional "down in the dumps" moods can benefit. The feeling of accomplishment that one experiences after finishing an extremely demanding Total Results workout can do wonders for your mood and should not be underestimated. Even though our clients are fatigued and out of breath at the end of a session, I often tell them I want them to feel better when they leave than they did when they came in the front door. If you are feeling stressed (who isn't?) and anxious, a Total Results session can be the perfect antidote.

The twenty minutes that our workouts last is an opportunity for you to take time just for yourself. If you're a busy parent, professional, or just someone who typically has a packed schedule, you are likely being pulled in many different directions throughout the course of a given day. Some of us need to block out time in our calendars just to catch up on emails or read a few pages of a book. An exercise session is an appointment just for you; it is a chance to shut out the outside world just for a little while and focus on doing something beneficial for your mind and body. If you're like me, these opportunities don't come around very often during the hectic work week, so savor the one or two times a week that you can do it. If you really focus on your workout, it can be an incredibly introspective experience that has a positive impact on the rest of your day. As Rocky Balboa quipped in the film "Rocky Balboa", it's a chance to "get some stuff outta the basement."

In order to keep ourselves mentally and physically sharp, we need to regularly do things that are difficult. There is a concept known as voluntary hardship, where we put ourselves in uncomfortable, albeit safe, circumstances every so often in order to remind ourselves how fortunate we are, but also help us to avoid becoming complacent. Voluntary hardship can take on many forms, from taking a cold shower, to sleeping on a floor, reading a laborious book (think Dostoevsky or Gibbon), or even going outside in the winter for a walk without wearing a jacket. These actions toughen our minds and fortify our bodies. A Total Results exercise session falls perfectly into this category. It is a chance to face a challenge and come out stronger on the other side. Workouts are uncomfortable, often unpleasant, require intense mental focus, and are most definitely not fun. A twenty minute workout that involves pushing to and beyond muscular failure and moving quickly between exercises will improve your mental toughness and increase your tolerance for discomfort. This will help prepare you to mentally and physically handle life's moments of adversity.

Making an appointment with a Total Results instructor will help to instill a sense of accountability, but also provide some structure to your day and week. Some people require more structure, others require less. Individuals can certainly be over-regimented (I sometimes fall into this category), but on the whole, one needs to have a plan in place for how they expect to achieve what they want in life. I believe that structure and accountability go hand in hand; if you're not getting the results you want in life, ask yourself why. Scheduling an appointment is the first step; if you don't make it to your session there is no one else to blame but yourself. Having a regularly scheduled appointment means you need to prepare to be at your mental and physical best so that you can have an effective workout. That means you need to eat correctly and get proper sleep in the days leading up to your session. If you have a solid framework established, everything else generally falls into place. Once good habits are developed, they are easier to sustain. Most people tend to sleep more soundly when they are on an exercise regimen, and I have counseled many clients on developing a routine to help them improve their sleep habits.

As you can see, there is far more to exercise than just achieving noticeable physical improvements. Clients can establish a sense of purpose, take control of their health, become better educated, and focus on being an active rather than a passive participant in their lives. Total Results exercise is an opportunity to practice self-mastery, and your instructor will be your guide. This is all within your power, and it takes less than one hour per week. Mental and physical breakthroughs happen all the time here, and you can achieve things that you didn't think were even possible.

Posted May 18, 2023 by Matthew Romans