Muscular Man Sitting at Side of Pool

The Positive Feedback Loop of Lifting and Living

A common theme among weightlifters is that there is a desire for improvement. Many people join a gym and pick up weights initially because they have the desire to improve.

Some people may have started as part of a training regimen for sports, but eventually lifting on your own is motivated by something, and that motivation almost always stems from a yearning to make more of yourself.

As one lifts, lessons tend to be learned.

One of the first lessons is that work pays off. This lesson bleeds into other areas of your life.

Lift for three months, get stronger, look better. Lift for three more months, get even stronger, look even better. It seems like a simple lesson but it forms the basis for how far you make it in various pursuits.

Another lesson learned from lifting is that, if you don’t put the work in, the work isn’t going to happen. With lifting, if you stop going to the gym, nothing is going to happen and eventually backwards progress and muscle wastage will take place, leaving you with nothing. Forward motion is the only thing which is going to have a positive impact and that forward motion must come from you.

Independence is another valuable lesson learned from lifting. Self-motivation and a constant awareness of the rewards of what you’re doing are activated more when lifting weights for results over long periods of time and these abilities are thus developed more fully. You have to be able to find balance and manage multiple facets of your life, adding more to your plate than most other people and therefore forcing you to evolve your work ethic and drive.

All of these general lessons from lifting compile to add value to your life as a whole. A better life then rewards you which refuels the fire to train. This creates the positive feedback loop of lifting and living.

Lifting Makes Life Better

Lifting makes life better in multiple ways. The obvious ways are that it makes you look better and it makes you stronger.

A less obvious way that lifting makes life better is that it forces you to live a healthier life and filter what you do through the lens of lifting, exposing bad habits.

For progress to be made from the gym, you can’t have a raging coke addiction. Thus, your coke addition is dealt with to continue lifting successfully or else you might as well stop training. This is an extreme example but even small habits like not getting enough sleep or never stretching eventually need to be changed for optimizing results and most likely would never have been touched otherwise.

Adding on to how lifting makes life better, the routine and structure to your lifestyle is often undervalued. Lifting weights provides consistency and a sense of purpose that can be hard to find from other sources. And unlike video games or other recreational hobbies, spending time lifting will give you tangible real-world benefits like a good physique, strength, confidence, and more that playing call of duty won’t.

A good physique also signifies you as a leader and been shown to increase your chances of getting hired, getting promoted, and getting paid higher wages. Muscular men are also seen as the most attractive by women, which has been found through multiple studies, such as this one.

Having a good physique is an attractive trait for two reasons: it signifies hormonal/ physical health and it signifies the capacity to work hard since muscle mass is only achieved through consistent effort.

A Good Life Makes Lifting Better

It is clear the lifting provides value to your life, but a high-quality life adds value to lifting as well.

Lacking confidence has been well documented to have an adverse effect on your ability to work hard and get results from what you put time into. Training to get your physique to an ideal level will increase your confidence, and that confidence will improve your ability to work effectively at training your physique.

Also, it has been found that being rewarded makes you work harder. Receiving rewards causes you to double-down on what you’ve already done and keep at it.

Rewards are also necessary for happiness, which itself ties into work, meaning that by lifting and making progress in the gym you end up putting more effort into life (including lifting) and being happier overall, which increases dopamine levels which correlate with testosterone, increasing gains and continuing the cycle.

The Feedback Loop

The full loop looks something like this.

  1. You train at the gym
  2. You don’t make gains
  3. You feel like giving up, but you don’t
  4. You get results from training, which is very rewarding
  5. You learn that hard work is ultimately rewarding
  6. You become happier and more confident from your results in the gym
  7. Your happiness and confidence increases the quality of your work output (including lifting)
  8. Your further efforts into lifting propel you further on the upward spiral that is now a life of being muscular, attractive, confident, happy, and disciplined.
  9. This repeats for eternity
  10. You teach the lessons to someone else who is now forever enlightened thanks to you

This feedback is partly done in humor but holds true to many weightlifters. Positive feedback loops are crucial for quality of life and lifting weights is a surefire way to begin an upward trend in your day-to-day lifestyle.

For more on lifestyle and training, such as the best number of days per week to train and the 5 best types of cardio for weightlifters, click here.