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  • Writer's pictureKellie O'Callaghan

Weight Training for the Brain

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

Weak muscles: physical or intellectual can lead to a confidence crisis. When we feel weak, we feel vulnerable, have self-doubt, don’t trust ourselves, and sadly often don’t love ourselves. These are the enemies of confidence. The best response to weak muscles - start a weight training routine.

If you have ever weight trained, you know it has to be approached strategically. You need a plan, equipment, a spotter, and if possible a trainer. If you are wise or have a good coach, you don’t start by lifting the heaviest weight on the first day. You are not ready today, but keep working, you will be one day.

Whenever I recommend an intellectual training program for a client, I start from their current strength. We always start with light weights and a few repetitions. Then as they gain confidence and strength we either add weight or add repetitions, rarely both at the same time. We gradually build up, pound by pound, rep by rep, until they reach their goals. The most common “muscle training” program I work with students on is reading comprehension. So many young adults hate reading. When I help a student with reading challenges, I start somewhere between 5 to 15 minutes a day of reading for five days a week. Let’s be honest - you can do ANYTHING for 5 minutes and most anything for 15 minutes. Some are surprised I rarely go beyond 20 minutes a day - maxing out at 30 minutes a day (and this is rare).

The point is not the length of time or the difficulty. The point is good training, stronger muscles, and developing a routine you will actually stick with. That last part is important. The primary reason people give up or believe they have failed is they tried to do something unrealistic too quickly. They get discouraged and quit. Intensity is not important here - what is important is consistency.

This is the exact same way you have to approach building your confidence in any area. Start small, in an easy area to work on, somewhere you believe you can succeed in. Build yourself up with good habits, then add in a bit more weight, apply it to a new weaker muscle, add a few more reps. Whatever area of confidence you need to work on today: make a plan, grab a spotter, start with light weights, few reps, and celebrate your success.

Repeat this process over and over, adding weights and/or reps, until you reach your goal. Confidence building is really about the process, not just the outcome.

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