4 Ways Muscle Can Change How You View Yourself

Did you know that strength training and getting stronger can change how you view yourself?
Photo by: Getty Images, Coltera Corey Jenkins

To be committed to your fitness, you have to strength train. Cardio is great, but you need muscles for your metabolism to be fired up and to get a strong body. The more muscle you have, the more equipped your body is for your workouts, athletic events, and everyday movements (functional fitness). So, if you aren’t strength training, it’s never too late to start. If you are currently weight training, did you know building muscle can actually change how you view yourself?

Here are four ways strength training does more for you than you might think:

1) Muscle makes you feel mentally strong. When you use your bodyweight, hand weights, circuit machines, and muscle-building tools like resistance bands, kettlebells or exercise balls, you are building your physical strength. But something else is happening too. As you work on getting a stronger body, it immediately translates into feeling more mentally strong. You are respecting your body and taking care of it well. As you see your progress with endurance or lifting heavier weights, you start to see yourself as a strong person. When your thoughts are: “I am strong,” you feel more mentally tough too. You are establishing resilience and grit. You become better equipped for the challenges that pop up in your life outside of the gym.

2) Muscle gives you proof of your workouts. We all gravitate toward immediate gratification.

We want to do a workout and see proof in the mirror the next day, but we all know it takes more than one workout to see results. When you weight train regularly, you will begin to see differences in your body. Muscle takes up less volume than fat, so strength training regularly can really sculpt and tone your body.

If you consistently workout with weights, you develop muscles you couldn’t see before and you see more definition. What you do it the kitchen matters, but strength training also plays a significant role in how you look in the mirror.  Seeing a muscular and sculpted body that you built is an incredibly powerful feeling.

3) Muscle helps you look and feel young. Call it the science of telomeres, those caps at the end of chromosomes that control aging. Recent studies have found a link between regular exercise and the lengthening of the telomeres, essentially slowing down the aging process. But there are so many other things muscle-building activities do to keep you young. You build and preserve your muscle to keep you strong with full mobility. Your skin glows. You have a better chance to stave off chronic illness. You reduce stress, increase flexibility and gain energy. And when you do a heart-pumping muscle-building workout, you get those same runner’s high endorphins that make you feel on top of the world. When you are fit with muscle, you radiate health and that keeps you looking (and feeling) young.

4) Muscle gives you confidence. When you feel strong physically, you know there is a lot you can do.

You believe in yourself and that fuels your confidence. A strong body can perform better at sports and with every day activities where you need to lift, bend and stretch. A strong, muscular body is less prone to injuries. Knowing how strong you are and liking how you look gives you a positive attitude and makes you feel good. Keeping your commitments to work out regularly helps raise your belief in yourself too. Bonus: Good muscle tone helps with your posture and standing tall just exudes confidence.

Next time you work your muscles, keep in mind that you are doing more than achieving a strong body, you are empowering your mind too.

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