Why I am Proud to be A Girl Who Lifts
As a woman today, feeling strong and powerful is more important than ever. While I aspire to be empowered in most aspects of my life, the place I feel most empowered is in the weight lifting section of the gym. No feeling compares to lifting a new personal record, or being the only girl in the weight lifting area and feeling strong.
It can be intimidating to get started, but the process is totally worth it. Before I started, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to feel strong physically in a way I have never truly felt before. I am lucky to have a close friend of mine who learned how to lift weights from her “dude bro” of a younger brother (Whitney Simmons on youtube is also a great place to learn from). The first few times were quite challenging, watching my friend on the squat rack lifting 135 pounds on her back like it was no big deal,but it inspired me. I saw the inner strength of her personality that came from her passion for lifting. And it got better. I looked forward to Friday night leg day when the gym was empty, and cooking a delicious post workout meal together afterward.
Six months later, weightlifting has become an important part of my identity and has made me feel stronger than ever before. My advice to others is to start small and persist, even when you don’t feel like you are getting stronger, you are making progress. Before you know it, the weight lifting area can be your happy place too. I love starting my day in the gym.
For anybody who would like to start lifting weights, I have some tips. Proper form is super important to avoid injury, so I recommend asking a friend to help you out, watching youtube videos, and/or taking classes at your campus gym; mine has BodyPump for example. Start small, and focus on your form. It's better to try a smaller weight and go up than to hurt yourself by starting with something way too heavy. It depends on your current fitness level, but try starting with two to three days a week of lifting and each day focus on a different muscle group--I like to focus on my upper body one day and my lower body another. I usually do two of each a week and some cardio, but I have been doing this for a while. For a beginner, I recommend starting with some cardio and a set or two of lifting and building up to a longer weightlifting routine.
I am so thankful that weightlifting has given me a place to continue to develop into a strong, empowered woman ready to take on the world. When I hear the “Girls Who Lift”, I wear that label with pride instead of seeing it as something distinct from men. Moving into my dorm this week, it felt good being able to carry the heavier items up three flights of stairs with no problem at all. Girls who lift are a powerful group of women and are to be celebrated.