Weights: Not Just for the Guys

I am a weightlifter. In fact, of all the exercise I have ever done in my life (other than dance) lifting is not only my favorite, but the one I return to time and time again. I’ve tried other things over the years – Jazzercise, swimming laps, aerobics classes, yoga, Zumba, running, cardio machines a the gym – none of them get repeated over the long haul. I started lifting just out of college. I had access to a gym and time to kill. I had no idea what I was doing, but I liked it anyway. Since then, I have returned again and again to lifting when I endeavor to exercise.

I am now working out at the seventh gym I have ever belonged to.  I have belonged to gyms associated with my workplace, ones just for women (can you believe that was a thing?!), super posh ones, and military ones.  Right now, Planet Fitness meets my financial needs (cheap!) and has plenty for me to do even though I know it is a bare bones gym. When I started, I wanted to lose weight and decided that although I preferred to lift, I would make an effort to spend time on the cardio machines instead. That failed miserably. Not only did I not lose weight, I ended up not liking even going to the gym. I have never once experienced what people call a “runner’s high” – that endorphin release that comes from exercising really hard; or even a general upbeat feeling after a good sweat session. I wish I did, it would make exercising so much more appealing. Eventually, I managed to lose weight by changing my eating, which for me has always been the ONLY way it ever happens, and I ditched the cardio.

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Right now I am in the gym every morning. Over the long haul, it averages to about 6 days a week because life does happen. I’m not there for long, either. I wonder what some people think when they see me come in and then see me leave, all while they are still slogging away. What they don’t know, obviously, is that I am there everyday. I get about 3 1/2 hours of lifting in each week. That’s quite a bit. It might even be a little too much, but I need the consistency of “every day” and am currently working to re-sort my exercises so that I am resting the right muscles at the right time.

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The other good thing is I seem to have a body that responds well to weight training. Having shed a noticeable amount of body fat, the muscles are now making their appearance. Despite my mother’s dismissive “what are you going to do with all those muscles?” I love the way it looks. That’s my positive feedback, getting to see the muscles emerge and be defined.

I like the system I’ve got right now, my eating and lifting plans have gotten me where I am happy with my body again. Even if life gets in the way and I slack off for a while, I know I’ll go back to lifting. I always have.

[I had wanted to add a song about lifting, but there are very few. I found one I really liked by Disturbed, but it’s totally NSFW and Disturbed is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you have never heard THIS Disturbed song, you really need to listen. Surely everyone knows the song, but their interpretation is incredible.  The poignancy due to the political state we are currently in is also not lost on me.]

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