Strength Training Is The Solution To Years Of Inactivity
March 12th 2020
If you have been inactive for years, is it easy or difficult to get back into shape?
Whether it’s because you’re getting over a breakup, looking to get healthier, or just want to get bigger/stronger, going to the gym might be what everyone recommends you do in order to achieve your goals.
But after getting your signing up for a gym membership, what is the next step?
What exercises do you do?
How long do you do them for?
How many exercises should you do?
However, these questions are not the next step. In fact, these questions are a bit further down the totem pole.
The next step after signing up for the gym is to set a goal and to develop the right mindset.
I know, this might sound boring, but by doing this, you are setting yourself up for success in the future when you go through tough times and don’t feel like going to the gym.
The third step is to follow a tried and proven program that we recommend in the end.
With that being said, this article is a comprehensive outline for developing the right mindset, and achieving success in the gym and reaching your goals.
Define your goal, and make it yours
What specifically do you want to achieve by going to the gym?
Chances are, you found this article by searching “getting back in shape after years of inactivity.”
But WHY do you want to get back in shape.
What do you hope to accomplish or achieve?
Do you want to get stronger so that you can lift a certain weight?
Do you want to get bigger so that girls are more into you?
Do you want to get lose weight because you are insecure about your body?
Don’t rush this step.
Take 5 minutes and think about the underlying reason why YOU are going to the gym.
The keyword here is you. Your reasoning must be outside of any external influence such as what society expects or because you are doing it for someone else.
This is a very important step because by defining your goal and values, you will be able to set yourself up for success in the gym and adopt the right mentality to achieve this goal.
If you don’t have your goal specifically defined, or the reason why you are going to the gym is not strong enough, it will be a lot harder for you to stay consistent and reach your goals.
To give an example, if your reasoning is because you want to get healthier so that you are able live longer to take care of your family, you are more likely to achieve your goal than if your goal was to get bigger so a certain girl likes you.
This is because your goal is something that comes from within (taking care of your family) as opposed to external (a girl).
What if the girl moves away? Or what if she falls in love with somebody else? The moment these situations happen, you lose your purpose behind going to the gym and you stop going.
So take a step back and evaluate why you wish to go to the gym.
Once you have your goal and purpose defined, we will discuss what skill you need to develop in order to be able to achieve this goal.
Mental aspect of going to the gym
When beginners ask me what the most important aspect of achieving success in the gym, I always respond: self-discipline.
Self-discipline is what gets you into the gym every day.
Self-discipline is what makes you go to bed early so that you can get enough sleep to train the following day.
Self-discipline is what drives you to abstain from certain foods, or to eat foods that you don’t like but have a positive benefit to your goals.
I would even go as far as to say that self-discipline is what you need in order to achieve success in all aspects of life.
Self-discipline is the habit of doing things that you know you need to do, but you don’t feel like doing.
It is the habit of looking at things from the bigger picture and forcing yourself to take action that drives you to progress in life.
Self-discipline is the habit that will allow you to train consistently and make the appropriate sacrifices you need in order to achieve success.
It is hustle, it is a grind, it is what makes separates those that go to the gym and quickly drop off and those that stay consistent and get stronger and bigger over a couple of months.
Self-discipline is a habit that you need to develop in order to achieve success in the gym.
Now after reading this, you might say to yourself that you don’t have self-discipline.
Perhaps in the past, you’ve tried picking up other hobbies but have given it up soon after you first started.
This may have happened in the past but understand that self-discipline is not something that people are born with. It is something that you can grow and develop, just like a muscle.
Like a muscle, self-discipline grows whenever you do a task that you know you should do but don’t feel like doing.
This could be simply going to the gym.
You might feel motivated to go to the gym now, but there will be days that going to the gym is the last thing you want to do.
The day you feel like you don’t want to go to the gym, but still go anyway, you slowly build self-discipline so that the next time you don’t feel like going to the gym, it is easier for you to go anyway.
On the contrary, if you don’t feel like going to the gym and then don’t go, you are losing self-discipline, making it so that whenever you don’t feel like going, it is easier not to go.
This is what every lifter experiences, and you need to understand that when this happens to you, you need to be strong enough to bite through your emotions and go to the gym anyway.
This is what will lead you to accomplish the goal you decided in the first section.
The importance of self-discipline is seen in all aspects of life, not just lifting.
It is seen in professional sports like basketball (Lebron James, Kobe Bryant), or in business (Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk).
All of the big-name stars and people that you’ve heard about had the self-discipline to put in the work required to be the top.
Whether it may be waking up at 4 am and working out 3 times a day, or spending the entire day learning how to code in order to make an app, these activities require the self-discipline to be performed consistently for a long period of time.
And look what happened as a result.
By being consistent, and working hard, you will be able to accomplish anything, including getting back in shape after years of inactivity.
If you ever feel trouble with self-discipline, think back to your goal and purpose that you identified from the first section.
When you are tired, and depressed and the gym is the last thing on your mind, you need to think about why you made the goal and what you want to accomplish.
This is what will help you overcome these feelings, and what will help you get in the gym and allow you to progress toward your goals.
Recommended programs for true novices
For those who are looking to get back in shape after years of inactivity, aside from developing the right mentality, the next important step you need is to follow the right program.
And the program that I recommend to most beginners is the Starting Strength novice program.
Here is another link to their main website.
This is a tried and proven program that will get you stronger and develop a great physique and isn’t overly complex.
Starting strength is a good program because it incorporates compound barbell exercises which work many muscle groups at one time.
These exercises are the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press.
These are the same exercise Arnold Schwarzenegger used in order to build his physique and win Mr. Olympia.
And if you do want to know about my progress with Starting Strength, you can find that here.
But strength training and lifting weights are too dangerous!
Then, you may NEVER get the results you desire.
Strength training is one of the best low-impact movements on your joints.
It is more effective than running, depending on your goals.
You can also have a much shorter workout if you focus on strength training first as well.
But I may never understand, I have always turned my brain off when “fitness experts” recommend anything other than lifting weights.
Toning… light weights…
You may get “results” from them because you didn’t do anything before.
But if you want something that will change your life, strength training is the way to go.
Maybe because with over six years of consistently training my body, I realized this gift and power.
It is something that I must focus on if I want any meaningful results.
But gaining these gifts does not come with its struggles and challenges…
You need to be prepared for the battles that are upcoming...
Sticking to your path
The most common mistake beginners make is by switching programs too quickly.
They might do this by seeing a bigger guy in the gym and hopping onto their program without any other consideration.
For the majority of beginner lifters, this is a recipe for disaster.
When you are a beginner, most of your mental effort will be on getting to the gym and performing the exercises properly.
Once you get consistent enough at going to the gym and are able to perform the exercises properly, should you consider switching to a more advanced training program or training method?
But, if you try and overload yourself in doing all of these things all at once, you will quickly burn yourself out.
You will start believing “so and so said they got big without doing the bench press, meanwhile, I have been doing the bench press for 2 months and haven’t seen any growth, maybe I should follow their program.”
Once this happens, you are doomed to be a program hopper switching from program to program, experiencing little to no gains, and then giving up and quitting.
Instead, the most important thing for you is to follow your path.
Follow the program I listed. It is a tried and proven program that worked for many beginner lifters.
I could explain the reasoning behind the program, and why it is beneficial in much more detail, but I purposely left those reasons out so that you won’t get too confused.
So, the main takeaways for getting back in shape after years of inactivity:
- Define your goal and purpose behind going to the gym
- Develop the right mindset for self-discipline. When life leads you to an easy or hard choice, take the harder one. You will thank yourself in the future.
- Head to the starting strength website, read the program, and learn how to perform the lifts.
- Stick to your path and ignore what all the other lifters in the gym are doing.
Be aware that it may be a tough road ahead and that you are not guaranteed success.
It will suck especially if you have not been working out physically or training yourself mentally.
But everyone starts somewhere and this is one of the strengths of going to the gym.
The ability to change your future and it starts right now.
Arm yourself with the programming knowledge along with perfect technique.
Your future gains await you.
Further readings on Self-discipline and Mentality
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Before you change your body, you need to work on your mind.
Strengthen your willpower and disicipline.