I get that question a lot. Having a petite frame and looking more like a cardio bunny than anything else, the first reaction when I say I’m into weightlifting is: Weird, sceptical looks. They are shortly followed by the exact same question every time, with some variance in wording maybe: “WHY? What’s so cool about lifting heavy stuff?”
Being confronted with this, I am usually not prepared to do the question justice. My usual answer is pretty short and simple: “I don’t really know, it’s just my thing”.
While the second part of this sentence is certainyl true, the first part is not. In fact, I know very well why I like it- I’m just too lazy to explain it thoroughly during a casual conversation. I thought I’d share my opinion with you guys- whoy knows, it might even motivate someone to try it out, too?
Here are my main reasons why I like this sport:
- The mindset
In every sport, progress only comes with hard work. In this sport however, this is particularly visible: Whithout pushing yourself to your limits and beyond, you cannot gain any strength. And there is always room for improvement. Personally, I am not a competitive person at all. And in weightlifting (as long as you don’t do it for physique or powerlifting competitions), the only person you need to beat is yourself!
Every time you go into the gym, you try to be better than you were last time.
The idea: Be the best version of yourself. No comparison with others, and yet motivation enough to get better every time.
Also, every single lift proves: Hard work pays off. This is incredibly motivating, and it is an analogy for every situation in life! Weightlifting helped me get through some tough moments without loosing my positivity. I guess it’s fair to say I have become a much more optimistic person since starting this hobby.
[A little side note: I do know quite a few people who do it purely for shaping their body. While I don’t want to say this is not a valid motivation, I am convinced that this is not sustainable, and certainly not the most healthy relationship towards your body or exercising in general. This is definitely not the sort of mindset I mean.]
2. Switching off
The fact that I do it just for myself without comparing my performance to others is so calming! Focusing on your lift, music in the ears and feeling the muscles work while being away from everything else is just what I need to get my mind off things. It’s my me-time. No matter how stressed or anxious I am before going to the gym, I always leave it in a calm and emotinally balanced way.
3. The growth
Seeing yourself become stronger every day is incredibly motivating. Of course, sometimes, progress is stagnating. But when this happpens, I just look back to where I first started, and when seeing how far I’ve come already, I am even more determined to keep going.
3. Meeting people
When exercising, you often end up meeting like-minded people. This also holds true for weightlifting. In my experience, most people are really approachable and sociable when you have a question or just want to have a chat (when they are not in the middle of a set, of course 😀 ). I have met so many interesing people in the gym, and I have learned so much from some of them!
On the other hand, when I have a very un-sociable day and don’t want to talk to anyone and just get sh*t done, they tend to be very respectful and don’t disturb you. (might be my resting bitchface though, we shall never find out…)
Unlike many weightlifters, I do not detest cardio by any means! I do love the occasional spinning session, and I find a short run highly relaxing. However, I get bored of it rather easily. After a 30 min run, enjoying my surrondings and breathing fresh air while unwinding from a stressful day, my mind gets bored of it and starts spinning again. I can’t help it, it’s just nothing that manages to satisfy me consistently, simply because it is always the same. You run. Up the hill, down the hill, in a park, on the street. Wherever it may be, the movement doesn’t change.
Weightlifting, on the other hand, is so diverse! You can switch things up every time, and even if you are sticking to a strict workout regime, there are still so many different movements and lifts within each session!
Soon after I started lifting, I got in touch with the fitness lifestyle, which goes far beyond of what is going on inside the gym. It’s all about not only being the best, but also the healthiest version of yourself. While this may be interpreted in many different ways, I want to make one thing clear: Eating strictly healthy food without any treats, not going out and exercising like crazy (I know many people doing this!) is NOT my interpretation. Being a person who has always pushed herself and has always been very strict with myself, I am now taking care much more of myself, and listen to my body more carefully. This means, of course, making healthier food choices, but also resting a lot more and taking more time for myself. This has definitely improved my attitude towards life in general, and I am incredibly grateful for that!
Last, and also least: There are gyms everywhere- and many are open 24 hours a day. II even found one in the middle of nowhere in Bali!
And even if there is none: Doing a workout is always possible. A few squats, pull- ups and push-ups are possible anywhere and at any time. Compared to my previous hobby (which I still miss dearly) horseback riding, for which you need a horse, a path to ride etc., this is just so simple!
I could go on for ages. However, one thing is for sure: Of course I also have days where I do not feel motivated. Sometimes, I give in to that feeling. Sometimes, I push beyond it and make myself go. And you know what? Whenever I did that, I feel just so much better afterwards! This sport is not just about physical, but just as much about mental progress, and I love what it does for me, my body and my life.
Two other tipps:
You are unsure to try it out, because youa re scared of embarassing yourself in front of the others in the gym? Don’t be! Firstly, people are not looking at you- chances are they are completely focused on their own workout. Secondly, everybody started at some point! They have all been in your situation.
Lifting makes women look manly and bulky? Well, it all comes down to the amoutn of fat you are carrying on top of your muscles. If there is a lot, your shoulders and arms will surely look bigger than they would without. BUT apart from that: Lifting will not make you bulky! In fact, it will make you look more defined and more athletic.
Would you liek to read something about the health benefits of lifting and what it does to ypur body? Let me know, I am more than happy to do a post about it! 🙂