Like many people when I first started to learn about fitness, lifting weights was NOT part of my workout plan. I was all about that cardio life and zero about picking up anything heavier than ten pounds. Flash forward 5 years and now my goal is a #300 squat. Very far from my previous goals of doing endless amounts of cardio.
I didn't step foot into a real weight room until I had a friend that introduced me to "bodybuilding". At that time in my life I was struggling through an eating disorder and had no desire to get "bigger". Little did I know it lead me on a journey I would never trade for anything in the world, Picking up the weights and being able to press them overhead was POWERFUL. For the first time in a long time the weights gave me instant gratification of a job well done. I was hooked, and that's and understatement.
My journey then lead to a figure competition and now to the powerlifting lifestyle of just lifting heavy and being strong. Training is who I am, it's what I love and is what I need as an outlet. Lifting gave me my confidence back. Nothing can compare to that “I can take on the world” feeling when something intimidates me but I do it anyway. I’m anxious – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot – every time I approach the barbell especially on my AMRAP set days. And the weight is always a little scary but if it doesn't scare you it's not shaping your mindset. It seems silly, but I’m surprised by how heavy-heavy lifting is.
You learn focus. There is so much to think about in executing a lift and so much danger in over-thinking it. If I let my mind wonder during a deadlift or squat, it’s all over. In that magical, in-between space of thinking/not thinking, there is freedom. A focus that’s meditation. As my core tenses, my mind relaxes. And when it’s really going right, I can’t think about anything else, and I’m not really thinking about anything at all. I just am.
I also lift because I want to take care of myself. The thing about lifting heavy stuff with our muscles is that it also makes our bones, tendons, and ligaments better equipped to handle whatever we dish out. I fully intend to carry my own groceries, move furniture myself, be able to change a tire and move anything that stands in my way. Having the freedom to be able to take care of yourself is what makes life worth living.
I don't worry about if I can or cannot lift the weight. I attack it like any challenge in my life. I make a choice to do my best and not let it defeat me. I brace myself for anything that can happen and I execute with passion and peace of what I have grown to love... the weight of the bar and the strength my body has.