In today's society, people are losing the connection with their bodies, leading them to illness, chronic stress/anxiety and lack of awareness.
The breath is how we link the body to the mind in the most fundamental way. When we get stressed, our breath cadence increases and it becomes hurried. Step into a cold shower and you will see this response. You instantly breathe in deeply, the stress hormone cortisol rushes through your veins and your eyes dilate. But what if I told you that you can control this response?
The body is an adaption machine and overtime, subjecting your body to small amounts of stress will cause an adaption response which will make you more prepared for that event the next time it occurs. Subjecting yourself to stressful situations every day will trigger that stress response so that your body sets a new baseline for fight/flight. Before, you went full fight/flight when someone cuts you off on the road when your boss shouted at you or the printer wasn't working. Now, due to you subjecting yourself to stressful situations on a daily basis, your new baseline is well above those events and you can deal with calm.
I'm all for training for a better body, bigger muscles and more endurance, but the real benefits come in the form in training for life. Training the brain to callus over the victim's mentality that we, as humans default to. Our base programming is for comfort due to the level of stress we experienced pre industrialisation when we were hunted by predators, ravaged by starvation and infested with disease. Only in recent times has humanity had the privilege to worry about if they are going to be late for work or if Sally from school likes them.
This realisation illuminates how, as humans, life is all about perspective. Depending on how you view the world, certain tasks/events will seem to have much more importance over your life than others. Our perspective of the world is up to us; we choose what we view as important or meaningless.
This is why I use training as a great equaliser. If you doing something that is hard, every day, your brain begins to grow perspective on the world and realises that nothing is as hard as that hour on the spin bike, overcoming the flinch before a cold shower or that brutal CrossFit workout. But what makes it even better is when your brain understands that putting yourself in those hard situations, you are growing, growing your mind, your body and expanding your soul. Now your relationship to pain and suffering shifts.
Instead of seeing suffering as something to be avoided, you chose to walk towards it, you know that you can handle it and control it. This is exactly the definition of training, in our eyes, deliberate practice of getting you outside of your comfort zone to an extent that is not overly stressful but is enough to cause a response. Now, over time, the base level of stress that you react to will shift upwards, and the small nuisance things won't cause the same response as before.
So yes, take pride in those bigger biceps, but when shit hits the fan in life, will you be prepared? Were you using the gym as a means to get bigger, or were you using it as a means to get better? That's your choice.