Exercise and confidence can go hand-in-hand. You can increase your confidence by increasing your fitness. Exercise can really boost your self-esteem.
Nobody likes to feel "less than." When you do not have confidence in yourself or your future, Life can feel like one huge bog of spiritual quicksand.
Fortunately, one of the most simple remedies to increasing your confidence is by increasing your fitness. You can revitalize your spirit with a well-thought out plan for renewing your body.
This will not happen over night, but if you commit to just exercising 30 minutes per day, and eating more cleanly (a natural food lifestyle) you will see a tremendous change in your body.
Studies have shown the strong connection between exercise and confidence.
Jenn Elliot (42) from Piedmont CO said, "My husband left me three years ago. About a year ago, I decided I wanted to try dating...but I had put on an extra 30+ pounds.
It was horrible. I could not stand to look at myself in the mirror when I got out of the shower. I was pale, fleshy, and everything sagged.
My counselor, whom I was seeing for post-divorce depression, put me on "exercise therapy" to elevate my mood. She did not want me on anti-depression medication.
The only rules I had to follow were:
1) Get sugar foods completely out of my diet, and replace them with natural foods. I was to do this for 120 days.
2) Drink more water. For 120 days, NO coffee, NO tea, NO fruit drinks, NO energy drinks. Just water.
3) Do 5 "Girls push-ups" (from my knees) and 10 Air Squats everyday.
3) Walk one hour everyday.
That's it. How basic can you get? I was not to whine, not to overthink it, not to skip or mix in cheat days.
This was all about revitalizing my spirit. It was about reclaiming a little piece of happiness. It was about overcoming the utter discouragement I felt.
She said exercise and confidence went hand-in-hand. She just wanted me to see how 120 days could change me.
I bought a book to learn more about eating natural foods, called Fed And Fit (by Cassy Joy Garcia). I got some new athletic shoes, and I set my alarm an hour early.
The first couple of days, I was just trying to do everything right. Stay away from poor food choices, drink lots of water, walk 100 yards without sounding like a cement mixer about to break down.
The next few days were unbearable. I did not want to get up so early, I craved my unhealthy foods, the push-ups and squats made me sore and out of breath, and the one-hour walk seemed like a death march.
By Day 10, I'd about had it. This was torture. I wanted my old desserts, pastries, donuts, and cookies. I was dying for some Diet Dr Pepper, and my shoulders and thighs were even more sore.
Through all this time, I forgot about getting on the scales. When I did, at Day 20, I couldn't believe it. I had lost 9 lbs. I weighed myself three times that day...still the same number.
This stuff was actually working!
I vowed I would continue doing exactly what I was doing, and wait exactly another three weeks before I weighed myself again.
21 days later, I was down another 6 lbs! No way, I said to myself.
Things were actually getting easier. Plus, I was fired up! I had lost 15 lbs in a little over a month, while I was focusing on exercise and confidence.
I was dancing on air.
When I saw my counselor for my scheduled appointment, I could not contain myself as I told her what I had accomplished.
She was pleased, but she changed my program.
Since I was getting stronger, I needed to increase the workload a bit, she said.
For the next six weeks, I was to "speed walk" for 50 steps, every 8 minutes. I was to continue the push-ups and squats, but double them. (10 push-ups, 20 squats) and I was to buy a 10 lbs kettlebell and watch on YouTube how to swing it.
Now, for the monkey wrench that hit me in the mouth...since I had gotten sugar foods out of my diet, she now wanted me to drop all grains. NO wheat products, NO corn products, NO rice products. Cereals, spaghetti, pastas, bread...they all had to go!
Say what! No way that was happening. I loved my bread and Honey O's way too much.
My counselor didn't want to hear it.
She said I was to take notes, and bring them to her at our next session.
I grumbled to myself all the way home. I ordered the books and kettlebell, but I was not happy about it. I was even less happy when I tossed all of the bread, cereals, and spaghetti products into the trash.
Exercise and confidence may have a relationship, but right now I was feeling a teeny bit hostile, to say the least.
I was honked-off!
I started the next 40-day segment with a vengeance. I really pushed those "speed walks" the first days, and I pounded the new exercise protocol.
Two weeks later, I was down another 9 lbs. This was impossible! In a little over eight weeks, I had lost 24 lbs of flab. All of my clothes fit differently.
I was pissed at giving up my grain products, but I was ecstatic with the fat loss.
My self-esteem was heading to new highs.
My books and kettlebell had come in the mail, so now I added it to my exercise routine.
Strange things started happening...
I was now drinking over a gallon of water per day. I was actually looking forward to my salads every night, and the "special" natural foods meals I made on the weekends.
I read more and watched less TV. I was getting to bed by 9:00pm every night. (Not staying up watching Law & Order re-runs.)
People at the office began to comment on how good I looked. I even noticed men...noticing me.
When I finally got the nerve to look at myself in the mirror, I did not recognize the woman looking back at me.
By the time I was to see my counselor again, I was down another 9 lbs.
I had lost 18 more pounds of jiggly flab this month. I had been focused on improving my confidence, and my body had come along for the ride.
For the final six weeks of our 120-day project, my counselor had two main goals: Join a gym, and attend a singles dance at the end of the month.
This was too over the top, I was completely resistant.
Even though I was proud of the way I was starting to look, I was NOT about to parade around in a gym with a bunch of hard-bodies in there, much less attend a singles dance.
Was my therapist nuts???!
My protocol for home workouts was to stay the same, except now, when I walked I was to carry a jump rope, and jump it 50 times every 8 minutes instead of speed walking.
At the gym, all I was supposed to do was add 20 minutes of weight-training, and some stretching. I was NOT to add any other cardio.
For my weight-training, I was to do one exercise for my upper body, and one for my lower. Do a different exercise every other day. She said I could take a yoga class on my non-weightlifting days.
I had no clue about weight-training, so I bought a book called, Lift Like A Man, Look Like. Goddess.
The next 40 days I did exactly what we talked about. I stayed away from machines and used the barbells and dumbbells.
I got a trainer for the first six workouts, and had her explain to me how to correctly do compound exercises.
She actually was excited to help me. She said she rarely had women who wanted to workout like an athlete. (That one cracked me up. If only she knew. Ha!)
Truthfully, I was far more concerned about how I was going to weasel out of going to a singles dance at the end of the month. It was on my mind constantly.
Lenae, my trainer, was an angel. She was so patient with teaching me the right technique, then told me I had some natural ability. (Another crack-up. I just thanked her and stayed silent.)
20 minutes lifting weights is no big deal. I pushed hard every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I took a Beginning Gentle Yoga/Stretching class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
The days whizzed by. I became more comfortable at the gym, because I focused on what I needed to do, stretched a little after lifting, and headed directly home.
I was in and out in about 45 minutes. Exercise and confidence were my watch words...and they were working!
My final week of the program, I could tell I had gotten stronger. I was lifting heavier weights, and my rest breaks became shorter. I was also seeing my muscles become more defined.
I was not 'shredded' like a female bodybuilder (many of them use a lot of drugs, ugh!) but I could see indentations in my arms and thighs. When I looked at myself nude, in my bathroom mirror, the woman looking back at me was lean and strong-looking.
I was also shocked to notice men making eye-contact with me. This was confusing and awkward...but also self-consciously flattering.
I not only looked like a new woman, I actually felt like one. My confidence had increased as I had become more fit.
I found myself smiling back at men who nodded to me, and I made eye contact with men who held the gym door for me.
I could tell men found me physically attractive.
My weight was down tremendously, close to 40 lbs of flab lost! I no longer got tired walking across a parking lot, or up several flights of stairs at the hospital.
My physician was completely stunned at my A1c, Thyroid - T3 and T4, and my cholesterol numbers when I got a blood panel. They were ALL in the "optimal" mini-range.
The same was with my blood pressure, and heart rate.
My self-image was at an all-time high! In a little over 4 months, I had pulled myself out of a dark spiral.
I had found out I had tenacity. I found out I did not shy away from physical work. I found out I was okay with being sweaty, red in the face, and out of breath. I found out I was okay with my hair plastered to my forehead.
Working out had done this for me. Exercise and confidence do go hand-in-hand.
Now...about that singles dance. I went. I told myself I would stay only 45 minutes, then I would be out of there.
I had just found a seat when a gentleman asked me to dance. I had to say "Yes". He was tall, handsome, very gentle in his conversation, and appropriate in the distance between us. He thanked me!
The DJ played several fast songs, rock and roll, and two younger guys asked me to dance. This was unbelievable.
By the time my 45 minutes was up, I had danced a total of six songs...with six different partners.
I stayed for six more dances, then decided to leave because my feet were actually hurting. (Who knew women brought dedicated dance shoes in another bag!)
I had been there for an hour and a half. I met two nice women who I will pursue as friends. I laughed more in 90 minutes than I had in three years.
I had quite a story to tell the counselor at my next appointment.
Starting a structured exercise program was the best thing for kick-starting my confidence and refreshing my spirit.
Starting a personal fitness plan may seem daunting at first, especially if you have been sedentary for quite a while.
Take easy steps.
First, and foremost, see your physician and tell him you want to begin a personal health program of eating natural foods, walking, doing a few calisthenics, and later on, some weight training.
Print out this article and show him/her.
**CAUTION! -- 95% of all doctors only take a rudimentary nutrition class when getting their MD. I heard a podcast from a woman who graduated from Harvard Medical School, and was NOT required to take any nutrition classes.
If they try to feed you the mantra of "You have to eat whole grains, and low-fat foods" ...RUN!
Get out of there as quickly as possible. Find another doctor.
Also, be observant of the physical appearance of your doctor. If they are fleshy, have bulging bellies, and thick faces...find another doctor. It's pretty apparent that they have difficulty taking care of themselves.
Whenever I call to get a new doctor, I ALWAYS ask the receptionist: Is the doctor an athlete? Does the doctor follow a modern healthy diet? (Paleo, Keto, Primal...you get the idea)
If the answer is NO to either question, keep searching. More and more young physicians are still competitive athletes, (or workout at CrossFit gyms) and they also follow a natural-food lifestyle.
Guys have just as much trouble with confidence as women. Sometimes, even more so because guys are expected to do things well right from the gate.
* Make the first move when engaging a new woman in conversation to start the dating dance.
*Make great career decisions.
*Make great financial decisions.
*Fix everything from a flat tire to stopped up bathroom plumbing.
*Look like they eat barbwire and bench press a Buick.
If you've got an entry-level job, a studio apartment, are not real handy, and do not look like an NFL defensive back...it might take a toll on your self-esteem.
Many guys have let themselves go since high school. The new found freedom of moving out of the house...going to college, or getting an apartment with friends, can drastically change their eating, sleeping, and exercise habits.
Pizza and beer can easily become their go-to meal of choice. High carbs, bad fats, low protein
Exercise and confidence can also be tough on guys because gyms can be intimidating.
Heavy weights are being lifted. Scowling, tatted-up men are laser focused on the mirror as they pump blood into their already engorged muscles. Every piece of equipment looks occupied, or has a ragged towel draped over it.
Dale Carpenter, 29, is a graphics design artist. Here is his perspective on exercise and confidence.
"A couple of years ago, I realized I was closing in on 30, and didn't seem to be as far along as guys I graduated with from high school, and college.
What I mean by that is I wasn't meeting any women. I had a great job where I made about $125,000. I had a nice condo. I didn't have any health or financial issues.
I just didn't do well around women, and that made me isolate.
If you read enough men's magazines and relationship articles on the Internet, you'll see one of the overriding themes for guys is to get a little more buff, and meeting ladies will get easier.
I had played lacrosse in college, but my strength was that I was fast, and could change direction quickly. I was 6'1" and about 160 lbs. A stringbean with speed.
Five years out of college, and working, and going to happy hours had me about 175 lbs, but much more softer looking.
I decided to start working out.
At first, I used the small gym at my condo, but I knew that wasn't the answer.
I got a membership at the Gold's Gym near my place, and started going in at 6:00am, since I didn't have to be to work until 9:00.
The first morning I showed up, the weight room section was filled with thick, muscular guys with veins the size of climbing ropes running up their arms. They all had tattoos on their necks, and nobody talked. The six bench press stations all looked like they were holding railroad axles.
Nobody said a word. Almost everybody focused on watching themselves do curls, shoulder raises, and presses in the mirror. At that time, I didn't know that almost all of them were using steroids.
All I knew is that I felt completely inferior and weak. This is how I imagined prison would be.
My confidence immediately spiraled down. I slipped over to the machine section, and started doing my workout.
There were a lot of women over there, mostly young teachers, nurses, and first responders. I heard conversations, but I never interacted. I just kept my eyes down, and went through my workout. Feeling unmanly.
In order to feel less intimidated, I started going in at 4;30am, before the muscle crowd got there. It was difficult.
After about four months, I was starting to see some small results, but I still did not feel confident enough to go back into the free weight side during more crowded times.
About that time, a buddy of mine said he had joined a CrossFit gym. I'd heard of them, but never really was interested. All of the pictures I'd seen were of strong looking guys hoisting huge barbells over their heads.
He told me that was just the elite guys. He said his gym was filled with former college athletes and professional people who wanted to get stronger, learn new skills, and have fun while they worked out. They were just normal people...who were getting real fit.
He said Saturday's were Bring A Buddy Day, and asked me to come. I resisted for two straight weekends. I felt bad enough at Gold's.
Finally, I decided to face my demons and give CrossFit a try.
It was the miracle I had been looking for. When I walked in, my buddy immediately introduced me to a couple of younger women, who both owned their own businesses. He also introduced me to a surgeon and an ophthalmologist.
Surprisingly, they all looked very fit, but not overly muscular.
As we circled around the coach for warm-ups, he had everyone introduce themselves. There were five other new people, along with me. What startled me was that the people near me shook my hand, looked into my eyes, and genuinely welcomed me,
You could have knocked me over with a feather."
"Our workout was 4 rounds of: 5 Pull Ups...7 Push Ups...9 Box Jumps...and a 400m run.
I couldn't believe it. This looked like one of the easiest things I had ever seen. This is CrossFit? Seriously???
I planned on crushing it!
17 minutes later, I staggered in. The last round of Box Jumps must have taken a whole minute, by itself.
The entire place was cheering! Guys were high-giving me. Women came by and said, 'You rock!'
All I wanted to do was sit against the wall with my water bottle, but I could not stop smiling. My body felt swollen.
I felt like I was on top of the world...even though every woman in the gym beat me by over 2 minutes!
When we left, the coach thanked me for coming, shook my hand, and said, 'Outstanding effort, man.'
Sunday, I went over to Gold's Gym to stretch, and to tell them I would be cancelling my month-to-month membership. On Monday I signed up at the CrossFit gym.
1-1/2 years later, I am now in the best shape of my life. I know close to a hundred people at the gym. That is not an exaggeration. I probably know more than a hundred. I talk to women easily, everyday.
The confidence I gained through exercise there has carried over into my personal life. I introduce myself easily to others people, and I can start conversations with anyone."
Exercise and confidence can go hand-in-hand. As you see improvement in yourself by following a consistent exercise program and a quality nutritional lifestyle, you can gain confidence.
Start today. See your physician and tell them what you want to do. Get a thorough check-up, and their blessing. You can refresh you spirit by being active and healthy on a daily basis.