On my usual gym visit tonight, minding my own business, doing my thang, I realised something… something quite profound for me, it marked a massive shift in my attitude towards exercise and fitness.
So let me start off by setting the scene here: I headed to a 6.30pm Body Pump class, and realised that I wouldn’t have time tonight to get in my usual cardio before the class; be it either a run or a stint on the spin bike. At first, this made me feel a bit uneasy- “but I have to get a sweat up and get those endorphins pumping! Weights aren’t even worth doing without a bit of cardio, it’s not really a complete workout!”
My thinking, friends, was way off, and I couldn’t have been more wrong, and this all came to me tonight.
I’ve only recently, within the last year or so, gotten into weight lifting, and I’m really enjoying it as part of my exercise routine- emphasis on the part. In the past, I’ve been the biggest cardio girl you’ll meet, blindly believing that the only way to get in a good quality workout, was to pound the treadmill or pavement, or hit up the spin bike or elliptical- and go hardcore.
For me, the indicators of a worth-it visit to the gym were rivers of sweat, struggling to talk because I’m puffing so much, and that endorphin high that is so often associated with high intensity cardio exercise.
Over the years, we’ve been bombarded with information by the media, which has eventually been proven to be misguided, and destructive- “the only way to get fit, and keep in shape, is to go hog-wild with the cardio! Run your butt off, spin your legs off; who cares if you resemble a little hamster on crack on the treadmill!”
I admit, as an impressionable, young lady, I’d fallen victim to what false information was constantly fed to me. I totally believed this was the only way to do it! And run, spin, repeat I did!
Flash forward back to my Body Pump class tonight, and the instructor, who was absolutely amazing, was encouraging us to add that little bit of extra weight to the bar than we usually would; we came here for a reason, and we should push ourselves, test our limits.
I thought, “you know what? I’m going to go for it. There’s no point dragging my butt to the class, and not aiming to improve myself and achieve a goal every time I come! There’s no reason I can’t leave every class proud of something I’ve done.”
And let me tell you, really, genuinely challenging myself, leaping out of my comfort zone with my weights, I experienced this elation like no other: the determination in everyones eyes, the instructor telling us there was no way we were giving up- not now, the music pumping…
My legs were burning, and I’d actually worked up a major sweat… something I’d never thought possible from weightlifting! I even got the heartrate sky high!
I had this profound sense of achievement, like I’d stepped up to the plate and delivered, which we don’t always take the opportunity to do, as it’s so often to get stuck in a bit of a routine and go through the motions.
Tonight, I experienced a new kind of high- I felt like a strong, capable, determined woman, who wouldn’t let anything in the world get in the way of her and that goal she’s chasing.
I would’ve never thought this was possible through weightlifting, I thought I could only be proud of myself if I added another kilometre to my run, or if I could add another turn to the resistance dial in a spin class…
But I’m happy to announce, I’ve discovered a whole new love for weightlifting, and how strong and accomplished it can make you feel.
I mean, let’s be honest, wouldn’t you love to saunter into the weights room, with your pink weightlifting gloves, and give all the guys in there a run for their money?! I know I would. 😉
I don’t doubt for a second that this pride and strength I felt tonight, was way better than any huffing, puffing and sweating from a cardio session.
Just think, would you rather have that feeling of being proud of yourself, that was caused by genuine belief in yourself and pushing your limits; or feeling good purely from endorphins, but not gaining any self-worth in the process, or growing as a person?
I love that women everywhere are embracing strength over being skinny, and favouring this amazing sense of achievement over being able to fit into that size 8 pair of jeans.
I know what would make my life much more content, rich and fulfilled. 🙂