It’s brainless, really. There’s a bit of biology, physiology and simple maths, but weight training is pretty straightforward. For me, that’s its appeal.
The simpler the better, too. Three lifts: deadlift, squat and bench press. Do one of them correctly every day, and you’ll get stronger.
You don’t have to apply to lift weights. There isn’t a requisite amount of experience to lift things up. You don’t need a foot in the door: you just show up, learn the basics and carry on. The newer you are to it, the faster you’ll progress.
You don’t have to prove yourself – just show up and do it. The weights won’t change their mind or have a sudden change of heart. A squat rack on the other side of the room isn’t going to pull the plug on the operation, lose its funding or get a better offer. You just have to keep going.
There are no politics. The deadlift bar doesn’t want to be reminded that it is the heaviest. One bench isn’t going to get jealous if you spend more time on another. You’ll never find yourself having to do extra squats to make up for the fact that this particular bar is shit at weighing 20kg. You won’t spend months lifting only to find out that somebody else has been getting stronger for you. Do it and you’ll improve.
Bars and plates can’t fail to pull their weight. It’s all down to you: the harder you try and the more dedicated you are, the more progress you make – and it’s your progress. You earned it and nobody can take it away from you, or give it to somebody else. You turn up, do your job and improve.
The gym makes no demands of you: if you do it you’ll progress, if you don’t you won’t. The lumps of iron don’t give a shit whether you’re there or not, so if you turn up you’re there for yourself and nobody else. There is nobody to let down and nobody putting any pressure or expectations on you.
That kind of measured and irrefutable progress is something we shouldn’t undervalue. If views, likes and double-taps are making it hard to tell whether you’re actually getting anything done, it can help to have something to remind you that you’re not just stagnating in a meaningless slump.
It also keeps you familiar with working outside if your comfort zone, which is probably the most important thing of all.
At least, that’s how I find it. I’m sure lots of people find great pride and self worth in contemporary ways, but for those of us who don’t: it can help to find something reliable and irrefutable to use as a solid foundation for your self-confidence.
It takes an hour per day, Monday to Friday.