Today, I’m writing about something very close to my heart. Over the past two years I have found this as a hobby which I feel is very beneficial – lifting. Be it powerlifting, crossfit, normal weight training, etc. I’m talking about this in the context of females, and disclaimer: these are applicable to me, and not to anyone else, if you have any other ideas or things you would like to tell me, feel free to let me know.
Firstly, WHY do I lift?
Well it started when I was heartbroken and looking for an outlet to vent my frustration. Thanks to the friends I hung around a lot with, mostly guys, I was introduced to this world with a 4:1 ratio of guys to girls, one that sounded like a lot of heavy metal clanging sounds, like there was constant booming, grunts and god-know-what other sounds, smelt like stale sweat, etc. The gym.
Of course it was weird, heck, I’m still sorta scared of public gyms, everyone’s larger than me, taller, huger, enormous at times. And I was this little skinny girl who had no idea what hit her. But I decided then that I would try this once, and maybe, I might actually like it. So I did. I begun, squatting with an empty straight bar (not even the Olympic barbell), just the small 5kg one. The journey ever since has been fulfilling, though exhausting and burning.
So to answer the question, I lift because it is not just a hobby, but a lifestyle. From training for fun, to test out weights and machines, I realised my body responded, I gained weight (finally surpassing the terrible underweight zone), I gained confidence, I loved the spirit of the sport, the need for that utmost determination for that one, last, rep…and there’s so much more. The friends, bros for life, the way you would push yourself so hard only to realise you cannot walk or move out of bed the next day, and then proceed to stretch those painful doms (sobs). It’s been satisfying, beating no one but yourself, and I relish those moments.
Coming from a really tough background, I gotta say, lifting empowers you. It makes you feel like if you can pull that weight, you can do anything. It’s also a commitment, a promise to your body to eat healthy, to stay fit, to not shove anything you see that’s edible down your throat, because your body will hate you for it. Also, it helps me (full of underweight issues in the past) to eat more, because you get hungry from lifts, and to eat in larger amounts, which helps me gain weight, and stability. and definitely makes you look sharper (YAY).
Secondly, Am I afraid of social stigma regarding female weightlifters?
At the start it was weird, people either gave me the woah or what-the-heck reaction. But it’s been a while and after proving to yourself that with God’s grace and strength (literally) you can do a lot of things, I think people get used to you.
I still get weird comments – it’s a norm – like ‘why so hardcore?’, ‘you freaking weird’, ‘lift for what, you so skinny already’… and many more.
I think it is important to understand that I do not lift to be skinny, I lift to get out of skinny zone – to be fit. Secondly, why so hardcore? My answer is – why not? Everything in life, if you believe it is worth doing, then it is worth going all the way for it.
There will be the stigma – people who tell you that
1. weightlifting is a waste of time,
2. It is for men not for women – it is not nice for women to BULK UP (dude, women don’t bulk up unless they really want to and choose to, btw most of us train because we want to stay fit not compete)
3. everything/anything else that they think that has gotta do with the term ‘feminine’
The bottom line is this – if you really have an interest – even a faint one – in something, go and pursue it. Just do. You’ll not regret. People may say what they will, but your passion is made up of what you love to do. So do it.