Pick up heavy things, and put them down? It never sounded like something I’d enjoy — but I’m here to tell you how wrong I was.
I’ve never been an active person. As a child, I would forge my mother’s signature to get me out of P.E. (gym class to you North Americans) and my family would have to crowbar me off the couch for Sunday walks. Since then, though I’ve enjoyed yoga and paddleboarding and scuba diving and and and… I’d still had no success finding a form of exercise that I could do regularly and that I enjoyed. Scuba is fun, but it’s time-consuming and expensive. Paddleboarding is less expensive, but also weather-dependent. Yoga is great, but I never felt like I was actually getting any better at it.
I turned to the font of all knowledge, AKA the Internet, and I kept seeing sites extolling the virtues of weight training for women. After months of pondering and reading and pondering some more, I womaned up and started a women-only beginners’ course in a city near me. I learned the deadlift, back squat, and bench press, as well as the basics of programming, and how the hell to use those odd-looking machines (pro tip: not as much as you might think).
Then I joined a gym; six months later I go three times a week and get antsy when I can’t. Why?
It’s always possible to improve: so maybe today in the gym I failed a rep on the bench press. But I can still do one more pushup than last time; hold my negative pullup for a little longer; or lift more on the deadlift. There’s always something that I can do better than before.
There are spreadsheets: weight training is a spreadsheet nerd’s dream. Whenever I’m feeling a little discouraged I like to make a graph showing me just how far I’ve come in each lift. Success is measurable, trackable: and therefore achievable.
I get stronger: When I started I could deadlift less than half my bodyweight. Now? I lift 120% for five reps, and I’m aiming for 150%. Before, I could only do one (uno, une, 1) full pushup — now I do three sets of ten after my main lifts. I HAVE VISIBLE BICEPS (and I make everyone feel them).
This strength is carrying over to the rest of my life, too, and not just physically. I’m less moody. I cycle faster. I can sprint for a train without feeling like I need a lung transplant afterwards. I’m not as fearful: instead of looking at something and thinking, I can’t do that, I think, That’s cool, I’m going to try it.
Can you tell I love it? I LOVE IT. I’m a freshly-minted weight training evangelist over here.
Do you lift? Have I intrigued you? I’ll be hanging out in the comments so ask away!