Better than Prozac?

Posted on 09. Mar, 2009 by in Exercise, Motivation

The other day I woke up feeling like blah. It was one of those days when you don’t feel like doing anything or getting up from bed, especially if the first task of the day is to go to the gym. It was a Sunday after all and, to me, there’s something about Sundays that makes me just want to chill. I gotta admit that it’s not my favorite day of the week. Yes, most of us don’t work on Sundays but, this day is not like Friday or Saturday which are days when you don’t have to go to work the next day. Maybe it’s also the fact that my Sundays are pretty much filled with a bunch of things that I need to finish to get ready for the upcoming work week.

So, the all too familiar debate of whether or not to go to the gym ran in my head for several minutes until I found myself getting dressed and drinking my protein shake before I can even convince myself that it’s ok to take the day off from the gym.

I was glad that I did.

This was what I was feeling before I went to the gym: tired, thinking that life sucks, overwhelmed by all the things I needed to do, dreading the day ahead etc.

Now, this was what I felt after I left the gym: energized, life is great, looking forward to doing all the things that I need to do etc.

In fact, I felt so good that after my usual strength training and intervals, I went home and walked my puppy for a mile, I baked some yummy (but healthy) muffins, cooked dinner, cleaned the bathroom, the kitchen, and the dishwasher, gave my puppy a bath, packed my food for Monday and a bunch of other things. Wow! Seeing all that written down makes me seem like the Energizer bunny. What’s more amazing is – that is really how I felt.

Is it better than Prozac? Well, I can’t say that for everyone because some people really need prescription medication to treat certain problems but, it certainly wouldn’t hurt a lot of people if they just add some form of exercise to their lifestyle. Besides the possibility of having a nice, lean body, the mood elevating effects of exercises can be very gratifying — that is, if you worked hard enough to get the HGH flush (read this post by Rusty Moore for more info about the HGH flush).

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t like pain. I’m not a masochist in any shape or form but, working hard and kicking my butt in the gym gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure while Adrenalin gives you that feeling of satisfaction. Taking the geeky terms out of the equation – this just means that I drag myself to the gym because of its mood enhancing effects while taking into account that these effects are completely different from the leisurely act of giving in to a craving. But, it is a healthier and enjoyable alternative nonetheless.

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  • Andy

    One word, anna: Endorphins!

    A natural chemical response of the body in relation to good stressors like what exercise can do to you mentally. Very euphoric indeed!

    I agree!!!!

  • Anna,

    This is a great post. My best workouts have always come on the days that I didn’t feel like working out. I am just about ready to workout right now, but I’m feeling a bit sluggish due to a weekend that included a few very late nights.

    I’m betting that once I do my brief strength training routine and push hard on the Stepmill, that I will “wake up” and become more productive the rest of the day.

    Working out gives you mental clarity. Especially important for people like yourself…putting ideas together in an organized way on your site.

    Keep up the great site!

    Rusty

  • admin

    Hi Andy and Rusty,

    I think we’ve all been doing this for a long enough time to know that feeling after a great workout. I’m sitting here at work, thinking about my workout tonight and I can’t help but get excited about it – call me crazy but I’ve been called worse before…LOL.

    Thanks for the comments and compliments, guys!

    Anna