Sorry – this is not a story about science and how your muscles grow when you lift a heavy weight instead of your pink simpletons. If you want the science about muscle growth and all that fancy stuff, you can google that.
Because for me…science doesn’t really mean anything when you experience the transformation first-hand. Science doesn’t matter when you see the smile on a women’s face when she beats her 10kg PR of last week, with 2kg’s. Science doesn’t matter when a woman leave the gym, feeling proud. Science means nothing if you see a mom’s fight against her own limits, in her eyes.
THEN, science means nothing.
I started doing weight training and CrossFit in 2015 when I was looking for an exercise routine to strengthen my core. I was training for the IM703 which was a few months away.
I will never forget the first time I walked into the gym. There was nothing. Just barbells, dumbbells, rings, slam balls, boxes and weights. That’s it. I remember where it looked like that in my previous life. In my school gym. I loved PT in high school. It was the only place where I could imagine I was this graceful gymnast and didn’t look bad. I always wanted to be a gymnast.
I knew nothing about the movements. I didn’t know what the hell a clean and jerk was. I was confused when is a clean a power clean or when is a clean a squat clean. I didn’t know the difference between push jerk and clean and jerk. I couldn’t do a proper squat. And nope, I’m not talking about the ones they teach you at the gym. I’m talking about a proper squat so that you can get the salad bowl from the bottom of the cupboard. I couldn’t jump rope. And I fell on my face when I did a handstand the first time.
Here I was, 42-year-old women who couldn’t jump on a trampoline with my kids, without peeing in my pants. I was clueless.
But I loved every moment of it. I researched all the movements on YouTube. I wanted to know exactly how you do it, what you do, and what it’s called!
3 Months before the IM703, I ditched my traditional IM endurance training for a CrossFit Endurance training program. It was the best thing I could’ve ever done. I never ran more than 1 hour, nor did I ever cycle more than 2 hours in any training session. It was amazing. It suited me. It was a flippen huge struggle to make time for a 4-6 hour bike ride when you have kids in the house. It saved me from going nuts.
The only downside was, one year after I started, I completely ditched my running and cycling. I became addicted to the sound of weights being slammed onto the barbell. I became addicted to the one-hour rush, the chalk on my hands and the sweat angels on the floor.
But that was not all…
It woked something up in me.
I became bolder. I started walking with my shoulders back and my head held high. I cannot explain it. You must experience it to understand it. I would see people’s heads turning. People are staring at me and I absolutely luv it! I feel like “Yes…yes…look!!!! I freaken worked hard for this. I am not lying on the couch the whole day like you do”. I started carrying the 20kg bag of dog food over my shoulder and delighted myself in the look on their faces. One guy even told me one day I make the women look bad. And I’m thinking to myself…no dude…I think I make you look bad.
There is something majestically and truthful that happens, when we push our bodies to do things we’ve never done before.
It chased away the fear
I started feeling fearless. I’m not afraid of men and their filthy remarks anymore. I could probably put them down now if I must!
Lifting weights occupies a mental space that’s unlike anything I’ve ever found in a gym, training program or even a nutrition program. Although nutrition is super important, lifting weights just puts you a cut above the rest when it comes to tenacity and keeping on. You become strong and powerful and can chase away your demons during that one hour.
It introduced me to lovely, hardworking and committed people
My bad ass girlfriends and I are going through the same emotional and physical battle. It showed me there is a place for everyone. We don’t ask questions. We commit. We cheer. We celebrate together. We help. We support. We cry together. We laugh together. In the moment, it doesn’t matter why. We are just there for one another.
I never ever had anybody next to the field at school cheering me on. You know, like a mom or a dad. I never had anybody next to the field screaming ONLY MY name. I can imagine how many adults are out there that have never experienced it either.
It forced me to face my weaknesses.
And it’s ok. There’s no judgement. You try. You fail. You try again. You fail again. You try again. Nobody is hushing behind your back because you tried several times. Nobody is crucifying you because you didn’t do it right the first time. Nobody thinks you’re a dork. And it reminds me that we ALWAYS have something we can do better. Every. Single. Day.
It pushed me beyond my limits.
I learned about my mental weaknesses and the crazy voices in my head. After 42 years, I’ve learned to shut them down for once and for all in my life. I learned what visualization really meant. I learned that even though I am lying on the floor in my own sweat, grasping for air, that I could still reach inside myself and go to that next level. And do one more rep. It’s about resilience, strength and courage. Something that’s not being taught in modern society anymore.
It changed the way I viewed my body.
I hated every ounce of my body when I was younger. I felt fat. It felt as if my boobs were size D. I felt ugly. Now?
I love what I see in the mirror every day. I feel tough. There is no piece of fancy clothing, no expensive skin care routine, no diet, no pill, no nothing, that can bring that genuine feeling of health.
Should you try it? Hell, yes you should. Is it possible that it isn’t for you? Probably.
But you won’t know until you’ve tried it.
Photo credit: @leopoldfrechowphotography