About two months ago, I stumbled upon a video on Instagram of a young female, breaking a junior record for her weight class at a powerlifting meet. The move? A sumo deadlift, at 328 lbs.
I must have replayed the video several times, because with each viewing, I was amazed at her ability to pull that much weight. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it was possible, but rather that I doubted my own power so much that I couldn’t help but wonder, perhaps, if I could do it myself.
It only took the first time seeing that video to say, “Whoa. Now how can I do that?”
I spent a lot of time on the internet (and quite honestly, when I should have been working AT WORK) doing my research on powerlifting and what it involves. I would have saved it for something to do when I got home but I was too eager to become well-versed in this new world… and my computer at home was dead anyway. I’ve gone through several profiles on Instagram, following these individuals and studying their videos of the different lifts and being excited for them with their own personal records. I have even left a few small words to basically make it known, “You are an inspiration to me.” I used to have so many preconceived notions of what powerlifting is and who did these things, but I’ve been wrong about every single thing I used to believe. This wonderful community on this phone app has shown me a whole new perspective.
Before my interest in powerlifting, I had never stepped foot into a real gym. I don’t count my community college’s gym because it was a class with a requirement to log a certain number of hours. By the end of the semester, I did not have enough hours because:
- I was not motivated enough. I wanted to get into fitness but at the time, I would have preferred sleeping and eating, as opposed to being stuck in a crowded gym with a bunch of sweaty little bros.
- I was incredibly unhappy in my relationship and it was a class I was sharing with my then-boyfriend. We didn’t get along outside of the gym and we generally didn’t get along inside either. I blame it on the lack of lifting. Couples who lift together, stay together.
prince swolemate will come.
- I was only doing cardio. It’s not fun to do thirty minutes on the treadmill, thirty on the elliptical, and maybe twenty on the bike, while pretending to stretch in a corner on a dirty, stinky mat for ten. It was SO BORING. In addition, I truly had no idea where to start with weights and I was too intimidated to ask for help from someone.
Needless to say, that was a waste of a credit and a very unsatisfactory semester, but it was still a learning experience. The basic lesson? Don’t waste your time fearing something so much that you let it paralyze you. The more you learn about it, the less frightening it can become.
Now two months ago, when I decided to get into it, I knew plenty of guys who were into weightlifting. However, the idea of having any of them help me was simply something I did not like. In fact, the guy I was seeing at the time was pretty built, but something about asking him to train me didn’t sit well with me. I ended up opting for a person trainer who didn’t know me personally, and while it’s really expensive, I’m glad I did it. It was money well-spent and definitely worth it.
Having a trainer like mine turned out to be just what I needed. We have a good trainer/client relationship and he really takes the extra care in listening to my goals and what I wanted to get out of our sessions. Sure, he’s been paid to do that but this guy actually has a passion for helping other people towards their fitness goals. He loves to hear about the progress we make on our own and he often likes to boast about his clients to the other trainers. On top of that, he would take care in asking me how I was doing, and would listen to my stories about rough moments in my day, and talk to me about them. He was supportive. He showed me more care than the boyfriend who ran for the hills the moment I showed signs of having emotions.
If there’s one thing I have learned from THAT experience: If your significant other can’t put up with the times you’re feeling down and out, they aren’t very good partners to begin with. You need balance. You can’t be the only one putting up with the other’s bad moods, then have to deal with that person disappearing when the roles are reversed and then find yourself in the dumps ALONE. It goes both ways. Otherwise, say hello to a perfect breeding ground for resentment. As an aspiring powerlifter, I choose not to allow room for negativity. To me, that means:
- I will be proud about any progress I make in my own numbers, and not by comparison of others.
- I will motivate and cheer on my fellow powerlifting friends, as they work towards their own goals.
- I will show good sportsmanship, in and out of the gym, meets, competitions, and in life.
In such a short span of time, I have learned an incredibly great deal of information, through my trainer and also quite honestly through the supportive powerlifting community on Instagram. My numbers have gone up and each time I break a new PR, I get a great sense of accomplishment and I am always amazed by my own strength. Just the other day, I was pulling a 95 lb deadlift.
Not even six days later, I ended up making another attempt and pulled 170 lbs. This is something I never thought would be possible for myself.
As someone who was always used to feeling weak and powerless, I have a new-found confidence, due to the realization of my strength and my own abilities. I feel happier and more inclined towards positivity and I believe in myself more. My new training partner is all about having a positive outlook on life, as well, and I find that surrounding yourself with like-minded people will breed more positivity. Powerlifting has done so much for my body image, my emotional well-being, and my enjoyment of life. It helps bring fulfillment to parts of my life where I felt empty.
I hope that everyone involved can say the same.