The Holistic Gainz Train and The Dark Side of Lifting
Holistic refers to a high level of health that is all encompassing. The Gainz train refers to the building of muscle mass. I have often seen a divide in these two camps. Or more honestly, perhaps I have been divided in my pursuit of these things. In some chapters I am more swayed toward holistic health; Fasting, detoxing, revamping the gut, yoga, meditation, reading the deepest spiritual truths. Then at a certain point I look in the mirror at my slender body and think, “I am clean and lean, now I want to up-regulate my savagery.” All aboard the Gainz Train. A new phase begins. More lifting, striking, and intensity. Calories, macros, and supplements. Peeping the gainz in the mirror. Walking that little bit taller. Chest lifted and shoulders back. Getit Son. The gainz train has awesome benefits, yet also has a dark side. I want to speak to both, so we can leverage the good while mitigating the bad. Let us start with the benefits of the gainz train. For one, it feels good on a physical level. I find great pleasure in walking around and sensing strong muscular activation, the recruitment of muscle fibres. It gives a sense of vitality, a spring in one’s step. Beyond just the feeling, it is indeed good for the body. Strength training shares commonality with cold therapy and fasting; it kills off your old mitochondria while strengthening the new ones. It stimulates hormesis, the body’s internal response to an outside stress, making it more vital and resilient. It increases your adaptive capacity. There are other caveats to the physical benefits of the gainz train. More muscle mass increases your metabolism, meaning you can eat more. It’s hard to get type 2 diabetes when you have large muscles. Add to the list more testosterone, sexual health, and sleep quality. Who wouldn’t want these things? There are also psychological benefits to the gainz train. One of them is confidence. Short of becoming an ego-maniac, a certain level of physical prowess can increase your self-esteem. You upgrade what you deserve, weather that be in a partner, a job, or how people treat you in general. And it’s not because people are objectifying your appearance. Rather, it’s because you are healthy and vital, firing on all cylinders. Therefore, you have no tolerance for people and situations who treat you less than. Others follow suite with how you view yourself. This is not to say that physicality alone will maximize your self-worth. For this, you need full congruence across your body mind and spirit. The body is one pillar. The mind and spirit are other pillars. You must address your traumas and sub-conscious beliefs to round out the structure of your self-worth. Yet the journey to physical mastery can cover a lot of ground, perhaps auto-correcting some of your beliefs along the way. Yet there is a dark side to the gainz train. When out of balance it becomes an ego trip. It fuels the bottom three chakras without going any higher. You get caught in a sticky realm of materialism, desiring more sex, status, and wealth. It is rajavistic energy, which in Sanskrit describes the state of passion and desire. It is to be hungry for the finer things in life, yet never fulfilled as your bucket has a hole in it. It is not the most conducive state of being; it not the highest spiritual attainment. There is another dark side to the gainz train. When out of balance, it takes up a lot of space in your mind. It nudges out other important aspects of your health and life. For example, maybe you take a pre-workout without considering the effects on your gut flora. Beyond the physical, perhaps you ignore other important areas; psychology, the human condition, relationships, global affairs, your own higher purpose and connection to God. When chasing the gainz supersedes all the above, that is the essence of un-holistic. I once heard that the essence of wisdom is putting everything in its proper place. The good life is an eco-system. Making gainz is part of the eco-system, yet is not the whole forest. We must water every plant in the garden of our life. Implementing this in my personal life, I am changing my routine from 5 or 6 gym sessions per week to 3 sessions per week. I will be focusing on 3 full body sessions, getting stronger in 5x5 of the major compound lifts. This schedule may increase my gainz, as I will have more recovery time. I certainly have goals in my fitness journey. Yet my aim is to train smarter not harder. This will free up time and space to make gainz in all areas of life. Here’s to the holistic gainz train. Here’s to peace and love. Thanks for reading. Namaste. *** I am getting back into my biggest talent of writing. Making it my One Thing. To be notified of my new release blogs you can sign up to this website. Thank you :).