I never thought that I would get into powerlifting. In fact I didn’t know exactly what powerlifting was until I started working with Susan. Initially she showed me the competition she did during her undergraduate years at Boston University and told me how much she enjoyed the sport. At that time, the idea of lifting ridiculously heavy amounts of weight was just unnecessary to me lol. My typical idea of fitness was doing 45 minutes on the elliptical at Planet Fitness then awkwardly staring at the weight rack in the gym before finally making a decision to do some basic bicep curls. Lifting weights at the mirror where all the guys and super fit women were always so intimidating to me, and I was trying to get in and get out as quickly as possible. However, after being a part of Better Bodies my knowledge of weight and strength training grew and eventually, I found the love for lifting weights.
I have been a trainer at Better Bodies for almost 2 years. During that time I started noticing I was hitting a wall with my own training. I didn’t have a set goal for myself. I had gotten really strong after learning the power of weight and strength training and got up to squatting 185 lbs. People around me would mention how strong I was, but for whatever reason I didn’t want to acknowledge just how far I had come in my health and fitness journey. I got to the point where I didn’t have a why for doing what I was doing in the gym. I would go to the gym 3-4 times a week because I knew it was necessary to keep up with my health, but there wasn’t anything I was working toward. Focusing on just weight loss and the number on the scale was no longer appealing to me. I wanted to actually feel stronger and more confident in myself.
In January of this year I started complaining about how I felt my workouts had no direction and how I needed more structure. Susan had just competed in a powerlifting meet where she placed first in her weight class and she convinced to me try out powerlifting and enter a March competition. I wasn’t exactly sure how things would pan out, but i knew I would give it all I had…especially since I spent $85 on the entry fee..
I never that I would enjoy lifting heavy weights in my life. Powerlifting has not only changed my body, it has also changed how I view myself and the different obstacles I face in life. As I began lifting weights 4 times a week, I noticed how my confidence in myself began to soar. Being abe to lift heavier and heavier each week and see how my strength was building each time was amazing. It helped remind me that there was nothing too heavy in my life that I wasn’t able to pick up and move to come out even stronger. It also kept me very grounded and present in daily life. I wasn’t looking at my past or anxious about the future. I was just present in each moment, recognizing what I needed to do to get to the future I wanted. I worked through a lot of doubt, guilt, shame, past hurts, past mistakes and feelings of unworthiness. I began to see I was stronger than all of that and it was time to overcome it all. I always walked away from my powerlifting workouts with a fresher and clearer mind.
The transformation in my body was incredible! I began losing inches all over my body and gain muscles in places that I didn’t know I had. I’m able to eat more, which was a hard concept to grab at first. Women are constantly told that eating 1200 calories is best to keep a nice figure. But when you’re squatting 200lbs+ a week, 1200 calories is just not going to cut it. Of course my meals still needed to be whole healthy meals, but even with that I had to train my mind and stomach that it was ok to eat more and maintain my weight. Nutrition has always been a struggle for me, but powerlifting showed me the importance of food being a source of fuel and not entertainment. If I wanted to lift heavier and heavier each week and not injure myself, I had to be sure I gave my body the proper fuel to not only get through the workout but recover from it as well.
I never thought of myself as being a curvy woman but with powerlifting my body was being sculpted and rounded to bring out a figure I thought I wouldn’t be able to achieve after only 12 weeks of training. I lost my obsession with the scale and started to measure my days by my energy level and how I felt in my clothes. In that time span of 12 weeks, I lost 2 inches off my waist, 3 inches of my belly and 2.50 inches off my legs. I achieved those numbers still while making mistakes here and there. My training really revealed to me the power of powerlifting and strength training for women. Even my posture improved. I walked around with my chest out and shoulders back, which not only felt better for my body but showed just how much self confidence I gained.
I believe all women should give powerlifting a try or, at the very least, add strength and weight training to their weekly exercise regimen. Here are a few benefits of incorporating strength and weight training into your life:
- Lose Body Fat. Weight training builds muscle, as lean muscle increases so does metabolism
- Gain Strength Without Bulking
- Reduce Risk of Injury
- Burn More Calories
- Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain
- Improve Mood Reduce Stress
- Burn More Fat
- Change Your Body Shape
- Get Stronger and More Confident
- Build Strong Bones
- Improve Sports Fitness
- Get Heart Healthy
I’m so happy that I found powerlifting because it has truly transformed my life for the better. My next meet is in October and I’m excited to see how my body and mind transform during this training cycle.