Working out seems to be a great form of anger management. Yet, all too often, we encounter the guy in the gym angrily throwing weights around and grunting through his workouts (if you haven't, you might be that guy).
Sometimes this could be seen as an act, a way to draw attention to the massive amounts of weight he's lifting. But this could also be the result of an angry training mindset.
Once while working on a leg press machine at a local YMCA, a friendly patron told me that I wasn't “getting angry enough” at the weights, that I had to approach my workout with a fury.
I saw no legitimate reason to be angry at an inanimate object, but I decided I'd give it a shot. After all, so many people use the gym as a way to get their anger and frustration out, right?
I thought of overpriced sneakers at a local shoe store; I thought of the sold out bagels at my wrestling meet; I imagined opening the fridge after a workout and seeing nothing but two crackers and some soymilk; I thought of any and everything that could make me mad enough for my workout...to my complete disadvantage.
Getting angry for a workout was one of the worst things I've done in terms of energy conservation, improving my overall strength, or even staying focused.
I did manage to get a few extra reps in from pure adrenaline, but that workout was overall unsuccessful. (I didn't really see any improvements in strength to my next workout.)
But the workout was not a complete waste, because I really understood the difference between anger and intensity. When you're angry, how would you say you act? Composed? Calculated? Focused?
If you answered no to those, you're probably not going to say yes when it comes to a workout. You probably lose control, feel wilder and irrational, and if anyone even suggests anger management, that's enough to set you off all over again.
By becoming angry, I was louder and felt a stronger blood rush, but my form was atrocious, especially with free weights. I was restless between sets, so I didn't rest before moving on to a new exercise. I felt sloppier and way more tired afterwards.
But worst of all, I just felt like an idiot; that's not the way that I wanna conduct myself for a workout. I felt like I needed an anger management class.
Actually, if anything, exercise IS an anger management class, of sorts. Exercise gives you focus, and it gives you a medium to channel your energy and emotions.
People often talk about the stereotypical dumb gym muscle head, but one of the best ways you can really train your mind is by training your body.
I feel like that deserves saying again: ONE OF THE BEST WAYS YOU CAN REALLY TRAIN YOUR MIND IS BY TRAINING YOUR BODY.
Note that “getting angry” is very different from getting “pumped” or “motivated” for a workout. Anger is NOT intensity.
I implore you to psyche yourself up for a good workout, but do so with positive vibes instead of negative ones that encourage anger. That way, you'll feel more focused during your workout, you won't fatigue as quickly, you'll benefit more from the workout, and you won't feel embarrassed to step back into the gym, hopefully.
Anger management shouldn't be a factor in stopping your fitness progress. Your thoughts are real forces, so use them wisely; they can force you into an angry, sloppy workout, or propel you to the focused, healthy workout you deserve.
Please put any thoughts, questions, or feedback here and I'll respond as soon as I can.