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3 Reasons Recovering Men Need to Hit the Gym

Gym addiction recovery

While the gym was once a place I hated, feared and mocked in my years of addictions, fear and insecurity, it has since become a sanctuary that has taught me many of the most important life skills.

Now I see that to belittle the gym is to belittle yourself.

In a world of intellectual smart-asses, the gym teaches you honest, no-nonsense values: grit, determination, and humility.

These characteristics far outweigh the intellectual snobbishness I had before entering the gym.

Being a smart-ass isn’t everything in this world.

In fact, it doesn’t count for much at all.

Lifting heavy is so effective because it drags you kicking and screaming to the very place spiritual teachers insist you should be: The Present.

The qualities the gym demands are not easy to come by in our vacuous world of hysterical outrage, bubblegum pop and free to access pornography.

Where addiction fetishes the lazy, slovenly and critical aspects of our personalities, the gym is the perfect antidote.

Below are three great reasons why you need to face the fear and get jacked:

1: Lifting Destroys Anxiety and Depression

Mountains of studies were carried out in the 90s showing how heavy lifting can reduce depression.

More recent studies have shown how the same is true for anxiety.

Yet in my personal experience, lifting heavy is so effective because it drags you kicking and screaming to the very place spiritual teachers insist you should be: The Present.

When you’re lifting a PB there’s no way you cannot be intensely focussed. You don’t have time to wallow in the past or fret over the future.

There’s a BIG INSANE weight you have to deal with right fricking now instead!

This is a secret that’s fostered on you once you’ve entered the gym. The experience is as much mental as it is physical.

In fact, it’s more mental than physical.

This is because the thing that you’re training the most is in the mind. You’re telling the internal wimp to STFU.

You’re telling the inner victim that you won’t bow to his intoxicating temptation of righteous indignation.

Most importantly, you are transcending the borders of what your mind thinks your body is capable of.

This shocks your whole being into an active growth mindset.

 

2: It Teaches You Good Morals

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As stated in the opening to this piece, we live in an era of social media, political hysteria and outrage and highly, highly sexualized music and television.

We simultaneously exist in the best and worst era of humanity.

We’ve never known luxury like it, yet the produce of our most prominent culture has never been so empty, meaningless and manipulative.

Every pop star sings about and sells some form of sex or how much money they have.

Pornography is a stronger presence in most boys’ lives than their fathers.

The worship of fame and money belies a deeper obsession with ego-based narcissism and worship of the self.

“By sticking to a routine you get the mental and physical results, but you get something much bigger: The fundamental lesson of how to approach life.”

There is no doubt that you find this emptiness in the gym itself.

Almost all gyms pump out driving, unoriginal pop rhythms that have the same effect on the human soul as pornography on sex.

Further, many men inhabit the gym to have the sculpted physiques of plastic dolls to show off to Barbie dolls on a Saturday night.

The mantra of the age is to drive out the deep, powerful spirit of the ages and replace it with bright lights, nudity and short-term marketable relief.

Yet, beyond this nauseating confusion is the true meaning of the gym.

The place where the most basic and essential of life lesson is taught that’s schools and universities have given up on.

That short-term solutions bring more pain.

Just as the use of alcohol and intoxicants never truly worked in my addiction, any short-term solution for a long-term problem is fated to destroy human beings.

This is a lesson directly taught in the gym.

If you want to get confident, you have to go and stand with jacked guys when you’re scrawny.

If you want to get a good shape you have to put in the work. Even when you’re tired, depressed or lazy.

By sticking to a routine you get the mental and physical results, but you get something much bigger: The fundamental lesson of how to approach life.

3. It Connects You With Masculine Energy  

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Modern life is complicated.

Bills, relationships, addictions, trends, friends and jobs all pile a psychic weight on us.

Lifting heavy things is simple.

As well as allowing you to escape the madness of modern life, lifting also connects us with a deeper instinct.

That instinct is that of good, hard physical work. We have evolved to strive physically.

Because of this, it is in our DNA to feel satisfied after hard physical work.

Our forefathers learnt by repeated experience that the end result of physical work was a satisfying result.

Whether that result was winning a fight, building a house or catching dinner, we have an inbuilt reward system that produces satisfaction after hard work.

The gym provides us with a place to restore this vital energy in us.

Not only does it awaken a visceral, powerful force, but it provides an insurance policy against the confusion of our times and our sense of self.

Where addiction confuses a man about what he is and what he wants, the gift of hard physical work is mental clarity and certainty.

If you enjoyed this content, why not consider downloading the free Recovering Man e-book containing six lessons on life transformation below:

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15 thoughts on “3 Reasons Recovering Men Need to Hit the Gym

  1. I would personally disagree with 2 and 3. The fitness industry and the gym is full of immoral manners of superficial values and even sexual representation for attention and selling products. #3 because I see more men get into being hairless, worrying more about their pec to arm ratio then learning a trade/skill in work, and looking at themself more in the mirror than most girls. That being said, addiction is a personality trait. Not just a substance. I know many drug abusers who now abuse fitness and get injured due to the “high” heavy lifting gives. My input:everything in moderation, for which those with addictive personalities do not have much control of.

    • Some great points, Ahmed. Thanks for your post.

      While I agree there’s a superficial, fake side to the gym, what I’m trying to emphasize is that there are solid values of discipline and hard work to be found in there. Speaking as someone who hated the gym for many years due to the ostensible shallowness and superficiality, I missed out on the those who went to the gym to become strong physically AND mentally. When I entered recovery, I thought I may as well get fit, yet what I found in the gym was an ethic which is so valuable to someone without faith and hope: that hard work gets small results, but REAL predictable, chartable results. This is a metaphor I used to empower my ongoing recovery – do the work, get the results.

      On your second point, there’s a lot of conjecture around what addiction is or is not, but in my experience, it’s highly subjective and varies wildly in its severity. The most important thing for me is how you treat it, and that is with being humble and honest to your very soul. However, the point you make about exercise addiction is a more than valid one. It’s something I will certainly research into and explore when I get a chance. This piece is really more of an introductory piece.

      Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you have a great day.

      R.

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