Self Care in Practice: Weightlifting

Self-Care in Practice: Weightlifting ~ Taking care of body & mind

So this month, I celebrated a milestone… one year of going to the gym {although I technically took the summer off to farm, but seriously close enough}. To go from an actual phobia of gyms to working out in one 2-3 times a week, has been a HUGE achievement. Two years ago, I would never have imagined myself doing any of that. I would have laughed/scoffed/possibly told you to f*ck off for suggesting I workout at a gym. There was just no way.

Of course, “no way” somehow turned into one of my greatest focuses for self-care.

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It’s hard to explain how it happened. A whole lot of random people & things just came together in my life at the perfect time. I knew deep down in my heart that I needed, wanted, to get myself moving again after years of dealing with my fibroids & physical discomforts. I wanted to feel strong. Inside & out. Strong in way that I’d never experienced before.

Enter two amazing ladies, my awesome hubby, and the local gym across the street from Sam’s preschool. Fellow preschool mamas, Karla & Katherine, had been doing a weightlifting program for a few weeks & they encouraged me to tag along with them. Just so happened that hubby had joined the same gym & was doing his weightlifting there too.

I’ll never forget the feeling that first day, stepping into the gym, a totally foreign atmosphere. I wanted to bolt. But there was the wonderful Karla, waiting to show me around and get me started. It was the beginning of a friendship that I am truly thankful for.

It was hard. I was sore. But I kept my mental goal simple: if I walked into the gym, I had succeeded. No matter how or if I even worked out. First, it was just about showing up. I know I’m not alone in that challenge, so for any of you reading this who are facing that. I get it. That’s hard. I spent 35 years not going to a gym, so I get it.

Show up. That was all.

 

Self-Care in Practice: Weightlifting ~ Taking care of body & mind

 

I had to be humble. Realistic. And accept my own limits. No comparing to what others were doing. For example, on the first day, I used the 45 lbs bar to do squats, unloaded, just the bar. I’ve never done squats. And I could barely walk for two days afterward. I went back to the gym and went down to the 15 lbs bar. Not embarrassing. Just realistic.

You are there to push yourself. Not compete with anyone else.

The actual workout we use is a weightlifting program called Stronglifts 5×5. You download the app, it sets you up with A & B workouts and you get yourself to the gym three times a week. Done. We do 5 min. minimum of cardio at the start, followed by a short bit of stretching, then onto the weightlifting. I take more time to stretch out afterward to help muscles from stiffening too much.

 

Self-Care in Practice: Weightlifting ~ Taking care of body & mind

 

I’m super proud of how far I’ve come! Me. Proud of myself. That’s some amazing self-care right there. The girl who has struggled with self-esteem since she was like 8 years old. Who always wore a t-shirt over her bathing suit or only wore a one-piece. Who was rarely comfortable in my own skin. Often embarrassed to wear even a tank top. Proud.

Stronger inside & out.

This summer, I did a thing. I wore a bikini top to the lake on a camping trip with friends. I stood there, with my imperfect belly, big hysterectomy scars and mama stretch marks, for all the world to see. What was different this summer from the previous decades, was not that I worked myself into tight abs or a six pack. I simply felt good in my own skin. Strong. Proud.

My journey is my own. You’ll have to find your way.

But you know what, as I stood there being my happy self at the lake, I received so many huge smiles from other mamas. Heartfelt, supportive smiles. Build each other up. That sticks in my mind.

And that’s why I continue to share my story with you.

. . . . . . . . .

My weightlifting numbers so far {mostly so I have something to look back at in another year}:

November 2016                         November 2017                  Personal Record

Squat: 15 lbs bar                                       Squat: 20 lbs dumbbell                 Squat: 75 lbs

Overhead Press: 15 lbs bar                     Overhead Press: 61 lbs                 Overhead Press: 61 lbs

Bench Press: 45 lbs bar                           Bench Press: 71 lbs                        Bench Press: 76 lbs

Pendlay Row: 15 lbs bar                          Pendlay Row: 97 lbs                       Pendlay Row: 97 lbs

Lat Pulldowns: 45 lbs                               Lat Pulldowns: 115lbs                    Lat Pulldowns: 120 lbs

Deadlift: 45 lbs bar                                   Deadlift: 180 lbs                              Deadlift: 185 lbs

*Still getting my weights back up to where they were before the summer… never taking a summer off again! Also, helpful to note that I have been challenged with a hip injury, which is why my squat weight is still way down. Focusing on proper form & not causing strain on my hip flexor.

After working out for a few months, I realized how much I loved doing Deadlifts. They are still, by far, my favourite exercise. I set a personal goal of reaching 200 lbs Deadlift by the end of this year! 6 weeks left to do the last 15 lbs!! Wish me luck! Next year’s goal… perhaps the clean & jerk. Sounds naughty, right? Tough stuff.

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