Man, time flies. I know, I know...I say that all the time, but seriously this year has absolutely raced by and I can't believe we are three weeks away from the end of 2014...and thank god for that...ha! It's no secret, this year has sucked on so many levels and I'm glad to see the end of it, but I'll save that for another post. Anyways, the other day I was looking back at the calendar and realized...I've been doing strength training for six months, so thought it would be timely to do a post on how I'm finding it.
Overall...I absolutely love working with weights, and think I've found a new passion! I still adore running and it will always have a very special place in my heart, but I'm not gonna lie...there is something really empowering about racking a barbell on your back and squatting your bodyweight, or standing on the platform and deadlifting with the big boys...no little pink three pounds weights for this girl! I've become a real believer in lifting heavy and am now firmly on the strength training bandwagon. I never believed that weightlifting would make that much of a difference, but it's like night and day.
So what changes have I seen physically? Well let me start by saying that I was definitely a cardio girl before...I did hours and hours of running and bootcamp, but was never really happy with how I looked and felt...I was reasonably fit, but still really felt soft and weak overall. Case in point, I clearly remember a moment when I was running the marathon and I felt my arms jiggling like crazy and I thought wow...must work on that! Anyways, when I started working with Graham, the goal was to become stronger and more muscular overall and if that meant gaining some weight or getting bigger, then bring it on. I've learned to accept that I will never be the Asian girl ideal of a delicate, sylph-like reed, and will always be more muscular so why not go with it? Anyhow, I've seen some really big changes in my body that I couldn't achieve no matter how much cardio or bootcamp I did. My shoulders, arms, legs and glutes have gotten way more muscular and defined. My back is no longer a flabby wasteland, and my posture has gotten way, way better now! We've done a lot of work on the back, and when I asked my physio if she thought my posture was better, she said she thought it had really improved! Small wins, people...small wins.
Without further delay, here's the stats for some core movements that we've done from beginning to now...
Barbell back squat
I'm super proud of this one, within 5 pounds of bodyweight!
At bodyweight! This lift is pretty technical, but makes me feel badass especially when I'm around the men. No delicate flower here. I also love how this works almost every part of the body...I find this lift hard, but it's a great one.
Barbell shoulder press
This is a tough lift for me and I loathe it, but I do it.
Chin up (assisted)
After months of struggling through negatives, I've been able to go down to a purple band. One day folks...one day the elusive chin up will be mine.
Dumbbell Chest Press
I'm also super proud of this one too! One of my fave exercises.
It's alllll about the base...
Not bad for a noob, eh? Of course, these results are not just me. My super lovely trainer Graham has to take a huge chunk of the credit as well. He's really good about pushing me but not pushing too much, and knowing when I'm ready to move on. And of course we have some hilarious gab sessions in between sets, so it's fun even when I feel like barfing up a lung. Ha!
Mentally, weightlifting has helped me to push hard and to learn to be comfortable going to those uncomfortable places. When you're at the bottom of a squat with a heavy barbell on your back, it can get a little scary. The other thing it's helped me with is being stronger mentally and not give up when things get difficult. There were times when I was standing on that bloody stool in the middle of the gym doing negatives, sweating buckets and arms burning...when all I wanted to do was give up but I stood there staring up at the bars and had to really talk myself into continuing on. So it's not just physically that I've grown, but mentally too. And I truly believe that kind of stuff transcends all borders and helps in daily life as well.
Strength training, I like you.