So this time round on Sparkpeople I am a different beast.
The first time I was a successful dieter and did a lot of cardio and a little strength training (mostly bodyweight).
The second time I was in turmoil - physically, mentally and emotionally. I had gained 30kg (66lbs) due to stress, mental health issues, medication, a lack of regular exercise and emotional eating. It was a perfect storm of chaos which manifested for all to see - on my body. I was not successful.
This time - third times the charm(!) - I am in the right place. I am 10 years older, 10 years wiser, and 10 years more accepting of myself. I have my nutrition in control. I have my physical activity tightly scheduled. I have my mental health in a stable place. I have stress strategies finely tuned. I get enough sleep. I work with the world instead of against it. It is a work in progress but it IS working!!
So...I thought this would be a good time to address the thing that stops people, especially women, from getting under a barbell and even into the gym at all!
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.
Now I get it. I still sometimes get a butterflies in the stomach feeling when I am about to go to the gym - especially on my own. I do understand that it can be intimidating to use new equipment and be a beginner at an activity. I also can be a perfectionist so I don't enjoy being a novice but I do love learning new things so that can balance itself out.
Here are some things you might like to know about going to the gym to lift heavy ass weights.
Lifting heavy weights is something that most people, again especially women, are not familiar with but it really does become a holistic, world view which benefits all parts of your life.
The barbell does not discriminate. It does not care how fat or skinny you are. It does not judge you or tell you what you should be doing. It is just there for you to better yourself.
I currently train in a lifting gym with people who compete internationally in bodybuilding, powerlifting and strongman competitions - there are some serious athletes who lift seriously heavy stuff and they are right alongside beginners, very large people, extremely skinny people, people in their 80s and teenagers.
In fact, many of these athletes are Personal Trainers, encouraging people to better their lives in every aspect, not just training in the gym. They are inclusive and kind and motivating and real. They all acknowledge each person in the gym, and are quick to smile and give encouragement to those learning new things or working hard and for me, this makes a complete contrast to a franchise gym.
My previous gym was not like this and that is their choice to use a different model of practice, however what I have discovered is that usually a lifting gym is eager to help those who are committed to change and are encouraging and motivating to further goals. I believe, from my own experience, that this is because their careers are exactly that.
Professional strength athletes set goals (competitions/meets, body composition, weight manipulations, personal records) and then plan how to achieve their goals, and then crucially they DO THE WORK. That is why they respect anyone who does the same. Your own personal goals when you first step foot in a gym may change over time but the people who have been there for years will be quick to tell you that CONSISTENCY is the key.
While it may seem intimidating to go to a gym where the weights are so heavy and loud and everyone seems so serious and focused - I am here to tell you that the lifting world is in fact one of the most positive, inclusive and motivating places to be on your journey - whether that is for weight loss or to gain strength or both! People lifting over 300kg (661lbs) will pause to cheer you on in your PR of 50kg (110lbs) and that is just so amazing to me!
So if you want to start a program which makes you excited to go to the gym, and where you ALWAYS see improvements and results, and where you feel supported and encouraged, look no further than your local lifting gym, hire a Personal Trainer who has credentials and lifting experience and start on your journey to being a STRONGer person - mind, body and soul.
*This is not me haha