I never thought I’d be the confident self-assured girl in the gym in the free weights area. However, I’ve been weight lifting for two years now and I simply love it…so here’s how my journey began.
I’d struggled with my body composition, didn’t have a lot of confidence and I felt intimidated by the free weights area of the gym. I guess I have my younger brother to thank for sparking my interest. He had (and still has) a passion for lifting; so he tried to help but in my head ‘I was doing it wrong’ ‘I can’t lift heavy enough’ ‘people are probably laughing at me’. I couldn’t have been more wrong! It was all in my head!
Because of these issues, I stuck mainly to cardio machines. The cross trainer was probably my favourite though now it’s probably the machine I dislike the most. I struggled to keep my weight down, so I took part in a lot of cardio classes as I thought that was the only way to burn body fat, again, I couldn’t be more wrong!
Also I did enjoy boot camp sessions, and though there was a lot of high intensity cardio there was also some weight lifting involved. I wasn’t confident with my technique so I chose very light weights, which didn’t really challenge me. Burning fat is great, but I started to ask myself how do you tone and gain definition? The answer as I now know is to lift weights!
It was the power of social media that really got me started. I happened to see a post on facebook advertising for a female only weight lifting class for beginners called ‘Barbell Booty’ and who doesn’t want a great booty?! So I signed up!
In this class there was a range of females with different fitness abilities and different ages but all there for the same reason, which was to learn technique and form. I started very light but for me, this was good.
You need to know you are doing something correctly before you start increasing your weight. You will then find that during this learning process (which is long term) your strength will increase. I still took part in my boot camp classes, but I challenged myself more as my confidence grew from what I had learnt and put into practice.
The teacher of the boot camp class I went to noticed I was challenging myself more, but little did I know, she was a power lifter and often competed. After a few weeks, she had managed to talk me round into competing in an upcoming event which wasn’t long away, and so the real training began.
The weights that I started at which were heavy for me at the time, are now my warm up sets, but this is from progression. You have to remember one key fact… EVERYONE started where you are now, progression takes time.
I’ve often heard these said, and they are so true;
“Nobody said it would be easy, they said it would be worth it”
“You are your own competition”.
I also learned that you must never compare yourself to others, everybody’s body is built differently and not everyone has the same goals.
From the start and up to now, I have gained so much, yet there is still so much to learn and gain. I became fitter and a lot more confident. By looking at fitness in such a different way; I don’t do it because I feel I have to, I do it because I want to and I have personal goals to reach.
I look at my achievements and it drives me to push myself more. So far, I have won the Northern qualifying powerlifting competition for my weight category, I became a personal trainer; I take more notice in the way I train, my diet and how my body has changed. I always look at new ways to improve or work to bigger goals.
Sometimes I don’t feel as strong as I may have felt before a training session; sometimes I plan a session and maybe I cannot endure what I set myself up to do – so I change it, listen to your body. You don’t need to lift heavy weights to burn fat, shape and tone. You can use weights in so many ways to see and feel results.
So get to your gym, pick up your weights, sweat, make your body work and enjoy it! I can guarantee, the feeling you get, the burn, the ache, it’s all worth it!
When you’re next in the gym talk to one of the fitness team about weight lifting and how you can incorporate it into your training programme….I promise you won’t look back.
There’s a new weight lifting course for women starting shortly at Kimberley Leisure Centre. Such is the demand for places we hope we’ll be able to do some courses at Bramcote and Chilwell leisure centres.
Natasha is a relief fitness instructor who works at Kimberley Leisure Centre.