I’ve been exercising. For real. Actually consistently “making exercise”, as my former roommates call it.
I’d say it started last summer. My former roommates are die-hard weight lifters. She can deadlift 300 pounds, he can deadlift 700. He’s a certified personal trainer, and he went to the gym with me and introduced me to a routine using the various weight machines and some dumbbells. (I refused to be introduced to the barbell, it scared me.)
I fell off the wagon after a few months, but climbed back on this summer. I started out with the routine he’d showed me. I met some great gals in a group called the “Anti-Lard Alliance” on Ravelry, and heard about a series of books called the “New Rules of Lifting“. I ordered the “New Rules of Lifting for Women” and started stage 1 in mid-August.
It’s going well! It’s almost three months later and I’m still lifting! I tend to start activities but soon quit (um, see my various hockey posts… :blush:). I get frustrated with my lack of athleticism and coordination, especially when they’re holding other people up. I love the idea of playing hockey, but hate knowing my classmates are waiting on me to finish drills, and hoping I won’t be on their team for scrimmage. With weight lifting, it doesn’t matter how much I’m lifting, I’m not in competition with anyone else. (However, I do freely admit I have several friends I use as my own “personal moving targets” in my aspiration to lift as much as they do.)
Stage 1 went pretty well. I had a personal trainer at my gym introduce me to the exercises, and completed all sixteen of the workouts, and one of the two “special workouts”. I made note of several personal accomplishments:
- I got over my fear of the “big boy room” (free weight area of the gym – filled with giant muscle-bound gorillas)
- I got over my fear of the barbell – in fact, I found I LOVE barbell squats!
- I developed the ability to do push-ups on my toes, for the first time in my life!
- I got over my fear of the Swiss/exercise ball
- I was able to barbell squat 80% of my body weight!
Unfortunately, I had a bit of a lapse after stage 1. The book suggested a one-week break. I was tired and not feeling well, and pretty quickly that one-week break turned into not only skipping the second “special workout” but in total, three weeks off. Fortunately, mostly out of shame with friends and coworkers asking me how it was going, I scheduled another personal trainer session at the gym to get going again.
I really like this personal trainer, Ron. He not only introduced me to the new exercises of stage 2, but it just kind of “clicked” with him. I did all eight of the workouts of stage 2, and listed accomplishments:
- I can now deadlift 145 pounds – this means I can use the “big boy” (45 pound) plates on the barbell! (The barbell alone weighs 45 pounds.)
- I can do a 90-second plank
I met with Ron again Thursday, and he began introducing me to the new exercises in stage 3. I’m meeting with him again on Monday. I’ve already decided I’m going to LOVE doing the bench press and the bent-over barbell rows. As I suspected, I hate any exercise with “jump” in the name. I hate jumping and honestly, can’t really “jump” at all. I go through the motion of driving downward and then pushing my body upward… but my body just LOVES gravity and doesn’t really leave the ground. While I hate it, I’ll keep working at it.
I’d like to lose some more weight, so I can SEE the muscles I’ve been developing. That’s an entirely different battle – and means foregoing the candy, pizza, cake, donuts, cupcakes, and many many other temptations. Regardless, lifting is not only improving my health and fitness – but my emotional outlook. I’m proud of me, and feel capable of something “athletic” which is VERY rare. It also gives me a new perspective on my body. My big thighs that I’ve always hated – they’re going to be STRONG thighs. Someone once told my I had a body “built” for swing dancing – it’s short and bouncy. This body may also be built for lifting heavy things. Will I be a world-class woman weight lifter? Probably not. That’s okay. I’m no longer really self-conscious entering the “big boy room”. In fact, I know enough to be dangerous and have developed disdain for the “Barbie weights”, those brightly colored dumbbells in low weights (rarely going over 15 pounds, often less than 10). While I hate waiting for equipment, I admit it’s an ego-booster when I realize I can’t find any 30 or 35 pound dumbbells because big lumbering men are all using them. I’m building muscle – and confidence.