This week I feel broken. I’ve woken up shattered, hungrier than a horse and aching all over. Oohhhhh am I glad it’s almost the weekend…
There’s also a huge sense of achievement though as ‘testing week’ has just come to an end.
At my gym they programme a 12 week strength training schedule with a week of testing at the end.
It isn’t a competition and there’s no rivalry. It’s all about testing against your personal benchmark and aiming to be a little better than last time and if anything just to track your own progress.
The atmosphere for that week escalates with a heady buzz of adrenaline, testosterone and hyperactivity and everyone is psyched up spurring each other on to see how their hard work is paying off. What a week it has been watching everyone get some epic PBs!
Previously I thought a gym was just an unhappy place of torture that you had to visit occasionally to be fit. It turns out that’s just how you feel when you haven’t found your ‘thing’ yet.
I discovered that training with heavy weights works for me. I don’t have to spend hours doing boring cardio to get fit (and that makes me very happy).
Being 5’3″ and around 50kilos I never imagined that this would be something that would work for me or that I’d enjoy so I’d encourage anyone who’s still looking for their ‘thing’ to give strength training a go!
I’d dismissed it for years thinking it was just for people who were already strong and fit but I’ve learned that anyone can grow and train their muscles to become stronger. If anything it’s made me smaller and stronger. There’s also psychology behind challenging yourself physically to make yourself mentally stronger and I’ve definitely seen a huge difference in my mind set/drive and stress levels as I’ve increased my strength training. Training isn’t all about losing weight although for me this type of training means I can eat an absolute bucket load while still staying in shape!
Thinking back to my first few sessions when lifting a 5kg dumbbell felt alien. I couldn’t get my head around the bench press, squat or deadlift. It took me ages to add weights to the 15kg Women’s training bar but I persevered. I tried deadlifting and squatting with a box behind me so I could learn the technique. With deadlift my instinct was to just try to pick it up which is why I could never lift more than 30-50kg. Once I got over the fact that you have to stick your bum out as you bend (it feels really weird but it works), powering up with your leg muscles and pushing the floor away from you means that you can lift so much more. Now deadlifts are my favourite! I’m still working on my confidence and technique for my bench press and squat but they’re nudging up slowly.
This week’s numbers: Deadlift: 110kg Squat: 70kg Benchpress: 37.5kg Chin ups: bodyweight. Progress is slowing now, but I’m mega happy with those numbers and I’m not trying to be a record weight lifter!!!
I don’t write about this stuff to brag or for a ‘well done’. It started as a personal diary to keep some accountability as it was all new.
I felt daunted by the world of fitness for a long time. There can be a lot of ego, competition, Instaglamness, ripped people with their tops off and a whole load of 20-somethings blogging about it – which can alienate some people.
When you enter your 30’s it can all seem that bit harder with work and life and everything in between and that weight doesn’t seem to fall off quite as easy as it did 10 years ago.
As a 30-something and a late starter with fitness – if I can help one person find their ‘thing’, or encourage anyone sitting on the fence to give it a go that would be epic!
I’ve recently done an interview with Women’s Health Mag about starting strength training and how I try to keep fit and eat healthy while working full time which should be out in May.