When I walk into a gym, regardless of where I am or what time of the day it is, I know I’m going to find women on every treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike in the building. But the one place that women rarely go is the weight room. Everyone has a different reason: “I don’t want to get bulky,” “The number on the scale is going to go up,” I don’t know what to do,” or my personal favorite, “I’m too sacred to ask anyone for help.” When I think back, I can remember a time when a few of these questions applied to me. I was sacred to gain weight, I really had no idea what I was doing, and I did not want to look stupid trying to figure things out.
When I was 15 years old, I had gained about 15 pounds and my parents didn’t let it get past me. They asked if I had looked in a mirror lately, or if I really needed another cookie. I know they were not trying to hurt me, but as a teenager, those things stick with you. Shortly after, I got a personal trainer and began to diet. Within one summer, I had lost all the weight I put on, and I actually began to see muscle definition. I still remember the day when I was about to do pull ups, and my mom walked by and told me I looked good. Hearing those words and knowing I had made her proud got me hooked.
In for the next 3 years of high school, I worked out twice a day, ate healthy, and became obsessed with fitness. But I still wasn’t doing it for myself. I loved knowing that if I kept up the way I looked, my parents would be proud and I would be someone that others could look up to.
Eventually, I moved 3 hours away for college, and none of those things seemed to matter anymore. I ate whatever I wanted, drank more than I like to admit, and didn’t step foot in a gym for at least 3 months. Then one day, I decided I’d had enough. I joined a gym in Monroe, and began eating healthy again. It was a slow process at first, but with time and consistency I started to see results. I no longer had a trainer, so it was up to me to figure out what I was going to do when I went to the gym.
I still wasn’t doing it for myself. I loved knowing that if I kept up the way I looked, my parents would be proud.
Between bodybuilding.com, Pinterest, Instagram, and the workout suggestion board at the gym, I was able to put together workouts that I enjoyed doing. I’ve never been one to do cardio, so the weight room is where I felt best. I don’t look like a man, or have huge, bulging muscles. But I do have confidence, which is something I never had before. The thought of discovering new muscles on my body fuels my love for lifting even more.
For those of you who have no idea where to start when it comes to lifting weights or having a healthy lifestyle, I have some advice for you.
First off, do not be afraid. Ask questions, look dumb and make mistakes. Trust me when I say it is half of the fun of it. Trying new things will make you realize what you like and what you do not. Bring a friend with you. Someone who is going to encourage you, help you, and laugh with you when you decide that sumo squats are not for you. Work hard, but never jeopardize your health or safety. Don’t think you can squat 200 pounds your first time in the gym. It is not going to happen.
the number on the scale DOES NOT MATTER. You should never define yourself by what a scale says.
When it comes to food, eat….A LOT. But eat good foods. The only way your body will be able to burn fat is if you are giving it fuel to do so. Anything that was once living and has never been processed is exactly what you need.
Know that it is ok to be sore. Eventually, you will come to love the feeling of your glutes cramping after leg day, or not being able to straighten your arms fully because your triceps are so tight. It is the little things like that, which make lifting weights so rewarding. And the muscles that come along with the soreness make the reward that much greater.
With that being said, the number on the scale DOES NOT MATTER. You should never define yourself by what a scale says. As long as YOU are happy with the way you look and feel, no number or person can bring you down. This is a journey for you. Don’t do it because your parents, friends, boyfriend, or husband say you need to. Do it because you want to be happy, and you want to be healthy.
It is never too late to start. You just have to make the commitment to yourself. In time, being healthy, lifting weights, and eating right becomes a way of life. This can only benefit you in the long run, so why not give it a shot. You might end up loving it.
Guest Post: Brooke Barringer