When I tell “regular” people I’m training for a strongwoman competition, the most common response is “Why?” I usually respond with: why not!
In all honesty, I love being strong. I love feeling like a badass and ripping heavy shit off the ground. In my previous training, I felt strong – but not like this. Strongman training is so different to regular barbell training because it feels much more ‘functional’ (gah, I hate that word!). Like if for some reason I had to push a car, pull a truck, lift some heavy ass objects over something, move a body, etc, I’d be able to do it.
There is something empowering about walking around knowing that you are strong. Not “strong for a girl” or any crap like that, but just STRONG.
Last night I asked on Facebook/Twitter why you all lift weights. To my pleasant surprise, most of the reasons were not related to aesthetics. I think a lot of us get started with weight training to transform our bodies (which obviously works!) but it’s not the reason why we stay. Here are the awesome responses I got:
Anna – I love the feeling you get when you hit a new PR, that fizzy nervous feeling when you’re about to attempt one (esp on squats or deadlifts) then the pride you feel after achieving it. I also love feeling like a badass – esp when using chains and stuff to train with and knowing that I can lift more then most of the guys in my regular gym.
[Side note from Tara: I went and watched Anna compete in powerlifting last weekend. She is the definition of badass with a 120kg squat, 62.5kg bench and 130kg deadlift – after less than a year of heavy lifting, might I add!]
Laura – To be a bad ass. Duh. 😉
Teresa – Love the way it makes me feel strong and it has given me more confidence in thinking that I can do it
Jo – To get ridiculously strong.
Kerri – Badassery, which leads to self confidence. For me anyways!
Megan – I like that it makes me a faster runner, I like that it will help me be healthy well into old age, I like looking lean and strong, I like being able to eat a lot!!!!
Nicola – Look good, feel confident, have focus and goals…to feel dedicated to something, know that not many ppl can / do / could dedicate. To feel special and be different
Sam – Clearly, I adore the badass-ness and the confidence that develops with lifting weights. Physically, I’ve seen more progress with my body shape in the last 1 1/2 years of focusing on weights versus 4 years of being a cardio junkie – I look leaner despite being heavier (so I know I’ve definitely developed some muscle) and I think parts of me (my booty) are a lot more shapely than they were a year ago. And, I love how I can bring in all my groceries in one trip, no problem 😉
Arien – Definitely ego, but I want to keep up with my new farm job, too!
Julie – Never really thought of it … As I’ve gotten older is been all about what my body CAN do NOT what it looks like. And call me crazy, I actually enjoy it! It’s my sanity time, away from kids, work, hubby, it’s my time just for me 🙂
Kimberley – I’ll jump on the bad assery/self confidence bandwagon too. Lifting just makes the rest of life easier – mentally & physically. I can’t imagine my life without it.
Jemma – Cos I love it! It makes me feel great & I hate any cardio that doesn’t involve dancing or horses!
Chelsey – To look good naked Haha! But in all seriousness I love hitting new PR’s and constantly having a new goal to reach for. I also love the mental toughness that comes from lifting and the dedication it takes to become better.
Gabby – I lift because I CAN – I appreciate that my body can do things. I lift to be strong – it’s comforting to know I can help others, pick up my husband if something happened, do things by myself. I lift because it’s empowering & straight up AWESOME. 🙂
Carly – I lift so I can eat more. True story. (Oh and I love my muscles and being strong, too 😉 )
Hayley – Cause I like how strong it makes me feel and look. And I’m with everyone else – I like to eat 🙂
For me, it is about so much more than looking good.
Probably the only part about my job as a studio manager that I dislike is taking the dirty towels to the drycleaner. The bag can get quite overfilled, and people (including other trainers!) are often commenting about how strong I must be to carry that thing. To hold a friggin’ bag of towels, are you kidding me?!
This is just one instance of many where I have been made to feel like a fragile woman, who needs help lifting and carrying things. Yesterday I went and picked up an empty keg so I can practice my keg tosses. The bar staff offered to help me carry the keg to my car. Imagine the look on their faces when I told them that not only did I not have a car, but would be carrying that thing about 45 minutes away to then throw it above my head. HA!
I love breaking the stereotype that women should be weak runners who occasionally lift barbie weights. I love it when someone underestimates my strength and then watches me wide-eyed as I lift something they couldn’t.
I currently have a number of goals I’m training for in relation to my competition, but my favourite is when my coach said on Monday: “I want you to aim to beat almost all of the boys during class in four weeks time.” Let’s just say I can be quite competitive, especially when it comes to outlifting men, so it is on!
Lifting has made me so confident, both physically and mentally. I know that I could take care of myself or others in an emergency.
I love that when you are lifting heavy, nobody cares what you look like. Powerlifting/strongman isn’t about having 10 per cent body fat or perfectly-capped shoulders. The only thing that matters is hitting your totals and dominating the weights.
Another thing I love about my gym is that people aren’t afraid to eat pizza and drink beer after a hard training session. They are there to get strong, and the rest is just a bonus. Lifting heavy also allows you to eat more and indulge in what many people would shy away from, while still rockin’ a hot bod.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I love lifting weights because at the end of the day it is you against you. Even though I will be competing against other women (and competing with men for practice!), the final competition is against myself. It is about challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone, lift weights I never imagined possible, and push myself to always be bigger and better. That is the beauty of lifting: the iron never lies.
So if you haven’t already chimed in, tell me: Why do YOU lift?