5 Non-Physical Benefits of Training

And What Our Coaches Have to Say About Them

By Sarah Gonsiorowski

For new mom and long-time coach Cara Sabin, it’s all about community. Her training takes place with others who share in the experience of doing something that’s hard for them, at any level.

“They recognize the effort and share in the process,” she said. “We can see ourselves in each other. And that seems rare in adulthood.”

Whether you’re looking to jumpstart your fitness routine or hungry for motivation to keep moving, knowing why you train is the key to achieving its long-lasting benefits. And the best part? Many of these benefits have nothing to do with weight loss or dieting.

While exercise can reduce our risk of chronic medical conditions and help decrease feelings of depression and anxiety, it can also improve our sleep, daily functions, and overall feelings about ourselves.

“I want to feel good and look good,” said Steven Bond, Defined Training’s coach-in-training and dedicated athlete. “I see training as the biggest tool I have to help manage and strengthen my mental and physical well-being.”

And that’s not all. Training has the power to bring people together, keep them accountable, and offer perspective that can positively impact someone’s outlook. According to Defined coach and competitive athlete Robert Olivieri, training is inclusive—and its benefits always outweigh its perceived challenges.

“It can be customized to fit people’s needs,” said Olivieri. “Plus, those 30-60 minutes you spend in the gym will buy you so much more time and independence in your present and future life.”

Thinking about joining a community-based gym or looking for reasons to stick with your current fitness routine? Consider these five, non-physical benefits of training, knowing our coaches stand behind them.

Connection That Counts.

Incorporating new routine or staying motivated can feel challenging. But training communities that offer a built-in accountability system can help all gym-goers stay connected to their goals.

“I cannot overstate how much the CrossFit community has impacted my training, health, and motivation,” said Bond. “Before CrossFit, I didn’t know how to work out. I’d go to a commercial gym and feel completely lost.”

And he’s right. Social support can positively impact training program participation and maintenance efforts. And according to Bond, strength and CrossFit communities offer two unique benefits that solo training just can’t provide:

  1. A coach: Someone who leads the room, offers expert knowledge and feedback, and cares about the success and experience of their athletes. At Defined Training, a coach welcomes questions and knows every athlete by name.
  2. Group classes: Training together means no one’s left alone during challenging workouts. Bond loves seeing the same people every week, working toward similar goals, and pushing each other to be better.

For competitive athletes and coaches, training communities offer opportunities to feel inspired. Seeing someone else’s success can positively impact your continued effort and dedication. At Defined Training, coaches lead by example in hopes of encouraging others.

“I want to show people what your body can do,” said Olivieri. “For me, community was why I started doing CrossFit. But knowing people at Defined are cheering for me—and knowing how important it is to be a strong role model—keeps inspiring me to train harder!”


Somedays, going to the gym can feel more like a chore than a celebration. But with practice, training can teach us how to show up when we “don’t really feel like it.” Motivation gets us started. But discipline keeps us going. Every so often, Bond relies on discipline—and when he does, he tells himself he has one goal: Get to the gym.

“I try not to focus on the workout or why I don’t feel like going,” he said. “My only focus is making it to the gym. And knowing that working out will make me feel better, not worse.”

Consistency and dedication have led Bond to achieving many of his goals, and not just on the training floor. Coaches and athletes know that skills and good habits transfer—and that the training floor is a place to practice making choices and solving problems in ways that benefit us.

For Oliveri, it’s about stepping outside his comfort zone and working on weaknesses. Plus, it’s an opportunity to take care of himself and do something he enjoys.

“It’s the one thing that’s mine,” he said. “My time to focus on me. I love the rush of training—and it’s a privilege to have this kind of pressure to push outside your comfort zone.”

Mental Toughness.

Training teaches us to talk to ourselves when times get tough. It reminds us that we have the strength to take on life’s challenges—and that we can survive them. A year into motherhood, Sabin admits she’s relied more on what her training’s taught her mentally than physically.

“What used to seem daunting in the gym, I won’t even question anymore,” she said. “When enduring sleepless nights at home, I know I can make it through because of what I know I’m capable of in my training.”

For her, resilience and patience come to mind. Training has helped her adapt to many situations, and reminds her that she can push through long, endurance-like life events. In many ways, it’s her identity—and employs a version of herself that allows her to feel centered, proud, and pure.

Bond agrees that the mental side of training shapes his perspective outside the gym.

“Negative circumstances don’t phase me like they used to,” he said. “I now remember to stay focused on what I can control, knowing the situation will resolve itself somehow.”

After his morning workout, Bond feels like he’s survived something. And that he can handle whatever life throws at him that day. The mindset he uses to finish a workout is something he carries with him to navigate anything that follows.

Space to Play.

Training programs give adults a rare opportunity to be creative and try something new. And sometimes, even fail.

“Friends, movement, and laughter bring us closer to ourselves,” said Sabin. “It’s humbling, hard, telling, and also so rewarding to learn what you’re capable of.”

Many confuse CrossFit as an intense sport for the elite. But it’s actually a methodology designed to teach all people how to move better and live longer. At Defined Training, members learn to lift heavy weight, move fast, walk on their hands, and scale tall objects. Sometimes, it’s uncomfortable. And sometimes, it results in failure. But that failure is often a result of uncertain attempts at bold, determined success. And as we age, it becomes even more important to simply find joy in our efforts, no matter the result.


When you accomplish something challenging, or surprise yourself with an outcome, confidence emerges. Whether it’s completing a workout you didn’t think you could finish or having the guts to introduce yourself to a new athlete, training reminds us of our true capabilities—and teaches us something new about ourselves.

For Olivieri, training has improved his self-awareness, particularly about his own feelings.

“I can feel when I need more recovery,” he said. And he uses these feelings of awareness to either push or pull back on tough training days. “When I’m not at my prime, it reminds me that I have things to work on, like nutrition or specific areas of fitness that will help me feel better.”

Confidence in training helps us feel more like ourselves in all aspects of life. And it can help us connect back to our beliefs and values, especially in times of uncertainty.

“For me movement is a ritual, not a casual choice,” said Sabin. “There is a significance to strength as a part of my life. While this “ritual” looks different for me right now, it’s still very much a part of who I am.”