My physical training has been the single biggest ally in fighting my mental health issues (namely, depression). This is a recommendation I’m not afraid to personally endorse to men again and again, but I can also backup with multiple medical studies.
It’s also the backbone for my #1 Bestselling Book in Men’s Health.
Any reader of my book will be able to read between the lines of many chapters and see a man constantly at war with his own mental health. And this is not a war to be taken lightly – when the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK is suicide, and 42% of men in the UK have suffered with depression.
42 fucking percent. That’s pretty much half of all the men reading this, have already, or will at some point, suffer with depression.
So I put quite a bit of weight to my words when I say that I strongly believe a rigid and regular exercise program helps my mental health and it can help yours too. The routine and the testosterone boost are vital to my mental health as a man.
….so what happens when you get an injury from training, and then you can’t hit the gym in the same way anymore?
Cue 2 deep hernias in my lower abdomen (with a testicular cancer scare thrown in for good measure – but that ended up being nothing more than a week of worrying my ass off).
The prognosis? No deadlifts. No squats. No Benchpress. No gym…. What the fuck would I do!?
I’m trying to get to the gym to complete back day – my favourite day. It’s one of the few days where I can (at least moderately) keep up with my gym buddy, Amos. He’s roughly the same height as me, but with over 10 years of bodybuilding under his belt, he typically outlifts me by 50% or more. But the deadlift is my strongest lift, so today he better bring his A-game!
But as we walk to the gym on a surprisingly sunny British day and chat about how amazing this workout is going to be, my excitement is constantly delayed… because every few minutes, Amos wants to catch Pokemon…
… yes, Dr. Amos Ogun, fully grown man, bodybuilder, and junior surgeon, wants to play Pokemon Go.
Standing in the middle of the street, holding his phone up fixated on a bright pink creature that is only visible to him through the lens of his iPhone, furiously swiping on his screen until the creature submits to him.
What the hell is going on?
I want to laugh, but I’m also irritated. Should I be ripping into my gym buddy? Is he, and the millions of men like him, demonstrating poor masculinity by playing Pokemon Go?
Is it a game for girls? For children? For low-value males?
Are you the Lord Of War riding into battle in glorious chainmail, thoroughly polished with sand and vinegar to ensure it gleams in the sun for all of your enemies, and allies, to see?
Is your plate-mail forged in the finest smiths in the City? Is your long sword of the best Frankish steel, it’s lethality in battle honoured by the thousands of hours you have practiced with it?
Do you ride on a battle-trained Destrier, standing a head above all other steeds yet responsive to the lightest steering-touch of your knee?
Who has the biggest impact on the battlefield – this Lord Of War, standing in all his finery and well trained in the art of killing?
Or the solder a few paces away, with a tattered boiled leather jerkin on his back and a heavily notched and rusted blade in his hand, who has repeatedly spent his weekends drinking and whoring while the other men ran sword drills in the training fields?
The title of one of my upcoming books has the word “Fuck” in it. Unsurprisingly, most of the early conversations I’ve had with publishers have come up rather abruptly on this word quicker than a thirsty berserker on a blonde maiden.
The word Fuck is undoubtedly taboo in Western society, and in my opinion, quite beautifully so.
I was having dinner with one of my closest brothers earlier in the week. The restaurant he took me to (he’s a London native and knows the land better than I) was extremely popular and highly reviewed, but we were surprisingly able to get a walk in. In fact, the place was only at 25% capacity.
He apologised and said the place was usually much more crowded and he assured me it was a great restaurant, but when I told him I much prefer quieter places now anyway, he was shocked.
“This is London, you’re here for the crowds and the hustle! And you love clubs!”
But I explained how recently, when I’m in crowded places, I seem to have developped “Shrek Syndrome”. I knock people over, I spill peoples drinks, last week a woman literally walked face-first into my shoulder and almost knocked herself out. I’m basically a clumsy Viking without a battlefield.
This particular brother of mine is a Psychology graduate and loves to discuss Mindset topics as much as I love to write and teach about them, so naturally, we dove into this further.
Here’s the problem – I was at the very beginning of creating a new anxiety, one that if I wasn’t careful, could become deeply rooted. An irrational worry about being too cumbersome and clumsy for busy crowds.
And as I discuss in my book, when you allow low self-esteem, low confidence, or anxieties and fears to control you, you lose the opportunity to experience life, love and adventure!