I know I know, it’s an odd claim. When thinking about adding a workout routine to a life that is already filled with things that take up every second of our day, adding an extra job that results in sore muscles and weak legs when we already feel tired all the time seems ludicrous. Funny enough, it’s the opposite. Working out every day of the week will make impossible tasks in your life feel manageable and less stressful.
This was a question I also asked myself when I started thinking about taking out my rest days on my workout schedule. Like some of you, I already went to the gym a couple of times a week, lifting Monday through Friday and taking Saturday and Sunday to let my body heal itself and not have to worry about making it into the gym that day. I felt like I already did so much in the gym during the week, how could I possibly do more, and were there any real befits to going those two extra days? Wouldn’t the extra stress and lack of rest days just result in less effective workouts. I carried this opinion for years, and got good results following it. So why the change? Well, its because I wasn’t doing…anything. I decided to drop out of college in the month of February, and wouldn’t have a job until the month of May. So, two months of an entirely free schedule. Already working out like I did, I no longer saw a reason to take days off if there wasn’t anything else I was doing. For two months, seven days a week working out, no rest days, every single day in the gym for at least an hour.
At first I thought I was making a mistake. I didn’t feel as strong, bending over to lift something and going up the stairs seemed to always be a struggle, and at the end of a workout I felt just plain worn out. This went on for the first two weeks. Then…it just kinda stopped. I rarely got sore, my strength came back slowly and going to the gym everyday just became apart of my routine. It no longer took the same mental strain to make the short drive and walk through the doors into the weight room. It was just something I did. So you might be thinking ‘Well, it was easy for you to do this, you didn’t have a job, school, or kids to worry about.’ And your right I didn’t. At first. Once May rolled around and my forty hour work week started, I cut back. The stress of construction work for eight hours everyday plus an hour and a half of lifting added on at first felt exhausting and soul crushing. I pulled back to lifting five days a week, taking Wednesdays and Sundays to relax and recover, sprinkling more days in here and there when the work got especially hard. It took a month for my body not to feel immensely tired at the end of the day. After a month and a half, what had felt overwhelming at first became, once again, just part of my daily routine, and I was back to going to the gym seven days a week. It was now normal, I dare say easy.
Theres nothing special about going to the gym everyday. But what going to the gym everyday teaches you is do get a task done no matter what. The mind and body are amazingly adaptable things. Only a hundred years ago it was common for people to work twelve hours a day six days a week for their entire lives doing physically demanding work. When you convince yourself that you have to do something everyday, there will come a time when it feels impossible to do that day. Too sick, tired, late in the day, not enough time, etc. When you start to push through those barriers and get your mind and body used to doing an activity regularly with whatever hurdles that pop up that day, it reveals to you the framework of how to get any tasks done, how to work better. Going to the gym daily without fail for months on end will establish a mental discipline that can be applied across any endeavor. When you understand how to do something no matter what the circumstances, it gives you a perspective on the world and ‘work’ in general. Suddenly having to work fourteen hours that day because someone didn’t show up doesn’t feel so impossible or stressful. You already have taught yourself how to deal with unforeseen events and still get done what needs to get done.
It teaches you how to tackle new endeavors. Weather it be learning piano, eating right, learning to paint or studying more, the mental strength you have acquired through doing something daily no matter what will carry over. Once you have felt for yourself how you have gone from being tired and sore at the end of everyday to all of that activity just being another normal day, it will feel manageable to add whatever task you feel necessary into your life. You will know that it is possible for you to become acclimated to any level of work, to become comfortable with any amount of stress in your life. Get it done no matter what will become a part of you character, making anything endeavor feel possible and in your reach. Lifting seven days a week will teach you to get it done no matter what.