Skip to content

Weekly dose of self-improvement

Sign up
self improvement for men

5 life lessons I learned from lifting iron

Over the years I’ve learned some valuable lessons from training. I have a lot more to learn, but here are the lessons I’d like to share with you today.

Ed Latimore
Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

The following is a guest post by Jon Anthony who blogs at Masculine Development, a self-improvement blog for masculine men like yourself.*

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “The iron never lies.”

You can surround yourself with yes men, only ever look at your good qualities, and have the entire world tell you you’re the second coming of Jesus Christ – but if you want the real deal, the iron will always give it to you.

200 pounds is 200 pounds. The iron never lies.

Over the years I’ve learned some valuable lessons from training – and even though I’m only 26 years old, and have a lot more to learn, I think we can all learn from the lessons I’d like to share with you today.

So, without further ado, here’s five life lessons I learned from lifting heavy iron.

1. Nothing in Life Comes Fast

We live in a world of instant gratification. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and all other forms of social media – there’s a multi-billion dollar industry that’s literally built around one thing: instant gratification.

The entire internet is based around instant hits of dopamine, and everything built around it embodies this concept.

Marketers use it to ensnare you, promising a million dollar business in just a few months. Fitness gurus use it to entrap you, promising that you can lose 100 pounds by just adding “one simple pill” to your diet… and everyone else in-between uses it to sell their half-assed, sloppily-put-together digital products.

The truth is, however, that nothing in life comes fast. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t go from a weakling to Hercules in a day, either. Building strength takes time, as does anything in life – but, as with everything in life, as well, nothing worth having comes fast.

2. Nothing in Life Comes Easy

I had someone tell me that he wanted a refund for my fitness product recently, because the workout routine was “too hard,” and he didn’t see results in two weeks of trying my routine.

This mindset embodies everything I’m talking about here today. Millions of people expect to get shredded by just taking the latest fat burning pill, or to burn 50 pounds of fat by following some fad diet that allows you to “eat all your favorite foods.” Yeah, right.

The truth is that if you want something in life, and if it’s really worth having, it’s going to take a lot of fucking work. I didn’t get to a 405 pound deadlift by taking a pill, or by skipping the gym every time I felt like it.

I got to a 405 pound deadlift, by putting in the work, day in and day out, whether or not I felt like it. I got there by putting in the work – and it wasn’t easy, but it was sure as hell worth it.

3. Setbacks Are A Part of Life

jon anthony lifting iron
jon anthony lifting iron

I remember the first major setback I had. I wound up severing two tendons in a nerve in my left hand – it was so bad that the doctors told me I would never be able to use my pinky again (and yet here I am a 6-figure blogger).

To make matters worse, this happened to coincide with when I was a freshman (before I dropped out of college). So, while all my friends were going out, picking up chicks, getting jacked, and having fun, I was stuck at home watching my gains wither away, since I couldn’t use my left hand for 6 months.

It certainly wasn’t fun, but it taught me a valuable life lesson that I’m thankful for today. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and all you can do is bite the bullet and try to do the damn best you can to get through it.

As you embark on your journey, you may have similar problems. I remember at one point, I trained so hard for 3 months, that by the end of it, I literally couldn’t move. My muscles were so damn tight from overtraining that I had to get thousands of dollars’ worth of massage therapy in order to even lift again.

Things like this happen. It’s a part of life, and you must learn to accept it.

4. Small Changes Are Everything

There’s a concept in martial arts, known as “Kaizen,” or the slight edge. The idea is that small 1% improvements each day lead up to massive changes over time.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the past 10 years of training in the gym it’s that the little things add up over time. Getting enough sleep, using the proper form, having a good workout routine, eating the right diet – all of the small little tweaks you make in each of these areas add up to make a big difference.

Don’t believe me? Let’s do some simple math. A 1% improvement each day, compounded for one week, is a 7.21% improvement. Not much, is it?

A 1% improvement each day, compounded for one month, is a 36.13% improvement. Still not that much, is it?

Well, a 1% improvement each day, compounded for a whole year, is a whopping 4,010.79% improvement. This is the power of compounded interest.

5. There Are Shortcuts – Learn Them

lifting leads to growth
lifting leads to growth

I’m almost hesitant to include this as a lesson, because 90% of your results are always going to come from the fundamentals. That being said, however, in anything in life there’s always going to be shortcuts.

For the gym, it’s using muscle building supplements, and learning to get the most bang for your buck. Tricks like intermittent fasting, taking shots of apple cider vinegar, and using stimulants like the ECA stack can help you get jacked faster.

For being happy and having peace of mind, it’s meditating on a regular basis, finding hobbies you enjoy, and doing some form of journaling each day.

For making money online, it’s building a powerful network that can help you increase the rate of your progress, learning from the experts, and applying what you learn as fast as humanly possible.

Everything in life has its shortcuts – and that doesn’t mean that you can avoid putting in the work, but it does mean that you can get what you want a lot faster if you just learn to accept this, and use these shortcuts to your advantage.

Ed Latimore
About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

Follow me on Twitter.