I completed six months of bodybuilding this month. This equates to two rounds of 12-week training. Since I began my journey, I have been adapting my basic bodybuilding training program. You can’t expect improved results, if you keep doing the same thing over and over again. Bodybuilding is no exception. You may keep the same set of exercises, but you have to make them harder to complete by either adding extra weight or increasing your number of reps.
I’m now on my third round of 12-weeks. Third! When I started, I could see myself transformed in six months’ time. I didn’t see a particular shape though. I saw a feeling, and that feeling was of being physically and mentally stronger. I saw myself feeling good from keeping a workout routine and working on my self-discipline. Today I can say I accomplished that. I am more self-disciplines and, as a result, also physically and mentally stronger.
In fact, I can confidently say that bodybuilding has changed my life thanks to its physical, psychological and spiritual benefits. Did I just say spiritual? Yes, I did! People may think that bodybuilding is rather superficial or vain. It can be, but so can Yoga or Pilates. The way you live through a physical activity is always a personal decision and choice, because the meaning you attach to it depends on your values and impressions. To me, bodybuilding goes way beyond the physical aspect, so I will save the physical benefits of it for last.
Any form of physical activity can do wonders for your psychology and mental health. When we are physically active, our body starts producing endorphins. These are hormones that give us a greater sense of wellbeing. As a consequence, your mood tends to improve and you also feel more capable to manage negative emotions. After a good workout session, your body feels more relaxed, and so does your mind. In the long run, you are also more likely to experience greater levels of self-confidence and self-esteem, because you feel and watch your body get fitter and stronger.
I know it might be odd to talk about spiritual benefits of bodybuilding but that’s honestly how I see it. I think bodybuilding has allowed me to improve my spirituality in the sense that it provides me a space and time to put practise several spiritual principles. One of them is patience and kindness towards myself. I have been always very critical and judgmental of my body. Bodybuilding has made me trust in the process and be in the moment, accepting what my body looks like instead of what I think it should look like. I’ve experience greater connection to myself and my body. That in turn increases my sense of being grounded and safe within my body.
When you exercise, you have greater control over your blood pressure and body fat. Bodybuilding gives you these same benefits but it also helps you develop your musculoskeletal system in a deeper way by making your muscles strong and flexible. This in turn can help you cope with conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis. I have noticed that bodybuilding is the best option for those who want to lose weight and look toned too. I lost weight in the past, but I never looked as toned as I’m looking now. It does make a difference when you add weight lifting to your weightloss journey!