Why weightlifting makes me feel awesome

Why weightlifting makes me feel awesome

So yesterday I wrote a post about something I’m not very good at. As a nice counterbalance, how about a post on something I am good at?

You know, it’s actually a little bit difficult to write about something you’re really good at without trying to be humble. I can come up with all sorts of things that I’m average at (running marathons, biking, cooking dinner, doing household chores) but picking one thing I’m really good at? It’s tough. But here goes nothing.

I’m actually really good at weightlifting.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 9.12.57 PMI remember back in high school we had a segment in P.E. on weight lifting. At the time I could barely bench press the bar but I knew after one session in the weight room that it was the most fun I’d had in P.E. in, well, ever. Sadly, that was only one quarter and then it was back to horrible things like playing volleyball or flag football or, heaven forbid, basketball. Ugh.

However, that quarter taught me my way around a weight room so that those barbells and dumbbells weren’t so intimidating. I learned how to use a squat rack and how much an Olympic barbell weighs (it’s basically 45 pounds, by the way).

Over the years since high school I dabbled in various strength training programs. In college I stuck to dumbbells and cardio, when I remembered to use the gym. I had a personal trainer for a few months after I got married but she mostly had me use weight machines. Weight machines, cardio and the occasional dumbbell exercise became my routine.

A few years ago I tried doing the workouts in the New Rules of Lifting for Women. But, let’s be honest, going to the gym after work means fighting for space and trying to track down the weights that you need. We built a serviceable gym in our basement but it lacked a squat rack and a few other key pieces of equipment. Then I started marathon training, dealt with a weird hip injury, and strength training got put on the back burner.

But last fall I met a woman who told me about Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and I decided to check it out. What did I learn? Lift heavy and lift

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 9.28.35 PMoften. I joined the gym in my office building and started going every day at lunch. I started tracking my progress. I ended up with a personal trainer who finally showed me how to squat and deadlift and bench press and doesn’t have me use weight machines or tiny dumbbells.

So on Tuesday when I met with my trainer he looked at me and said, “So, you wanna go for a deadlift personal record today?” Why yes, yes I do.

We did some warm-up sets and then he said, “Okay, I’m putting 195 pounds on this bar and you’re going to lift it 2 times.”

I had two options: I could be really good at self-doubt or I could be really good at weight lifting. I chose the latter. And I lifted that bar twice. I totally could have gone a third time, too, but we didn’t want to push it.

“You must feel pretty badass,” he said. “You can lift more than most guys.”

Heck, I can lift more than most PEOPLE!

Fighting for space with the “meatheads” doesn’t intimidate me any more. I can lift just as much, if not more. Because you know what? I think this is my thing I could be really, really good at it. Because I kind of am already.

Plus, it’s pretty freaking awesome to be a petite woman who can deadlift almost twice what she weighs and can squat her own bodyweight. And who doesn’t want to be awesome?


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    Erin Vandenberg

    I'm a 30-something who decided to get off the elliptical and expand my fitness horizons. Since moving to Chicago in 2008 I've run marathons and biked miles. I've done group fitness classes and lifted weights on my own. And now I want to share my fitness finds with you!

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