One word: weightlifting. You may think, ok, no way will I try this… just hold on and give this a read.
It was about a year ago exactly that I was introduced to the squat rack by my boyfriend. This is something he had been doing for a solid 2 years, so walking up to this intimidating structure was second nature for him. Well, it wasn’t for me. At all. I did not want to go anywhere near it. For a while I looked on from a nearby elliptical as he squatted and deadlifted A BUNCH of weight.
Over and over he told me that it was okay to be scared, but that I couldn’t let that keep me from trying something new and possibly extremely rewarding. In order to become more acquainted with the subject before stepping foot in a squat rack, I did some research. My boyfriend told me about a few individuals on YouTube (Alan Thrall and Ben Rice), who are professional lifters and have some great pointers. I watched these extremely buff weightlifters squat and deadlift hundreds of pounds and realized that even with as much weight as they lift, they had to start somewhere too and even now they shake and go red in the face… and it looks difficult for them. Ok, so this was making me feel a little better. Even professionals look like they’re putting their all into it.
I asked my boyfriend about that… I mean, shouldn’t it be pretty easy for them to lift that weight since they’re buff and have been doing this for years? NO! Of course not, he said. When squatting, let’s say 80lbs, becomes easy, add weight… 15 more lbs maybe, and it gets that much more difficult all over again. Honestly, I felt much better knowing that even these guys had to use all their energy and strength to squat or deadlift.
Realizing this, I became more mindful of my personal strength. The mental confidence I gained from watching multiple videos and talking to my boyfriend motivated me to commit to going to the gym to try out the squat rack!
That fateful day I chose to walk up to a squat rack with support (my bf) by my side, I felt like I could envision my self doing a simple squat and deadlift. I had watched so many videos to help me get mentally prepared to do this. Even though I hadn’t completed a squat or deadlift at this point, I was confident in myself and had my boyfriend there to spot me.
Time to squat… Deep breath, step up to the bar, position the hands, ground the feet, FEEL CONFIDENT… get under that bar, BREATHE, position the bar on my upper back, and SQUAT!!!
I did it! I got a few sets of squats in – the 45lbs bar + 15lbs on each side (75lbs total). It was the best feeling, I can’t even describe it. I felt so strong and accomplished that my body is capable of such amazing things and that I took that step in committing to trying something new that I saw as intimidating.
As for deadlifting, as I got my feet under the bar, finding the right spot to start lifting was difficult… Until my boyfriend taught me proper form and explained to me why it’s a full body exercise. I used my arms to connect with the bar, I engaged my core to steady my body and keep my back straight, I grounded and pushed through my feet, and engaged my back muscles to ensure not all the weight was being put on my spine, while using my gluteus, hamstrings and quads to drive the weight off of the ground. I kept re-watching deadlift videos to pump myself up. After going back to mentally practice and prepare, I approached the 45lb bar with 20lbs loaded on each side.. I took my time, cleared my head, engaged my muscles and…
I did it. Successful deadlifts after successful squats. That day was pretty awesome. I felt so strong and SO fatigued. Pretty sure I ate a bunch of food afterward and possibly took a nap! Ha!
I want my experience to motivate you! As I said, I was completely intimidated by weightlifting a year ago! And today I’m not afraid to walk up and do 5 sets of squats at 115lbs. It takes time and patience to form a relationship with the bar. But it can be done, and happily!
Professionals who lift weights had to start somewhere to get where they are today. If anything, they should be motivation and proof to you of what the human body, YOUR body, is capable of. It’s always good to switch up workout routines now and again, and I really believe that everyone should try at least one solid barbell workout.
There are just a few things to remember when approaching these exercises. First of all – you are capable of doing it. It’s actually really fun and rewarding. Second – it’s a learning process, so be patient with your body and mind. Stay confident in your commitment and your form. Keep your mind strong and keep your muscles engaged. Third – it’s ok to fail and not be very good at all when you first try it. My bf told me how he had to reteach himself how to squat after a full year of progress because his form wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. As long as you’re committed to learning and getting stronger, you will succeed.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, for a spotter, for advice. People who look like they know what they are doing and are lifting more weight than you could have a few good pointers. See them as help and not intimidation. <– That right there also takes confidence, but be strong. They started somewhere too, just like you are. Remember: Confidence and form.
I’m here for anyone who wants more advice and help or guidance and positive thoughts. Comment below! Also check out the links of those two individuals I highlighted above and the hyperlinks in the text.
P.S. when you start weightlifting regularly or adding it to your routine… eat more food. That is one joy I found from incorporating these exercises in my routine. They take A LOT of energy and food gives you energy So IF you wanna lift (more) weight, THEN eat more (healthy) food. (i.e. eggs, veggies, all the meats).
Until next time…
*If you liked this post and look forward to more similar posts and others about awesome foods and life struggles, subscribe to be a follower with your email! 🙂 *
“If you change nothing, nothing changes.” – Tony Robbins
Cheers! Happy Saturday! 🙂