3 reasons to start lifting weights, that have nothing to do with a 6-pack and will CHANGE your fitness journey!
Do you have specific goals for yourself for lifting weights? I.e. lose 10 lbs, build your booty, or get rid of the excess weight around your midsection?
There is nothing wrong with having goals like this, and they might be your way to motivate yourself to start lifting weights and maintain a fitness routine.
But let me explain why I steer away from the main focus on these types of goals. Goals that might have you step on a scale more than you like; and might kill your mojo (and sabotage your lifting weights progress!) while you’re at it.
First of all, let’s be honest. I like how lifting weights gives my body shape.
But that has become ‘icing on the cake’! A by-product of a fitness journey that FEELS GOOD! One that provides me with so many benefits that are NOT related to the aesthetic chase, and has given me habits for LIFE.
This however, wasn’t always the case. When I was younger, I didn’t have a healthy relationship with food (food and caloric intake consumed ME vs. me consuming it).
How much I ate, and what food I was still going to eat was always playing in the background. I had a lot of “good” and “bad” choices.
Fast forward to me becoming a mom for the first time.
Over the years, I had started to put a lot of effort, time and energy into healing that relationship with food (and ultimately that relationship with myself), but now postpartum anxiety started to enter, stage right.
To summarize: my (still) shaky self-worth now moved from a focus on my body, to this new role as a mom. It had me riddled with anxiety (sleep deprivation and hormones were not helping too).
I started to pick up running and that became one of my biggest self-care strategies.
I would be present in my body vs. stuck in my head.
Anxious energy would be able to move through my body.
I would BREATHE deeply.
It provided me with endorphins and dopamine on my most sleep-deprived days.
My runs provided me with a lot of clarity about my thoughts and emotions.
I started to add mini-workouts at home and fell in love with lifting weights.
I learned to practice self-compassion, and it all added up to me feeling mentally and physically stronger.
Why am I sharing this? Because my journey with all of this led me to change my career as a Social Worker to a career in the fitness industry.
I wanted to support women with their fitness journey, and offer an angle within the industry that does NOT feed into (or foster) an already critical inner narrative around body image and self-worth.
Are you looking for some motivation to start lifting weights? Perhaps you would like your fitness journey to feel less obsessive and gain lasting motivation and create habits for LIFE?
Here are my top 3 reasons to strength train:
1. Mental Health Benefits.
Exercise can help reduce stress, improve your sleep, increase your self-confidence and cognitive function, alleviate anxiety and depression and increase your energy.
Lifting weights is such a great way to force yourself to slow down, to be mindful and present in your body and connected to your breath and muscles.
But also: it can be a big confidence booster! It’s empowering to find yourself being able to use heavier weights, or to pull off an exercise that was too hard to do before.
Shifting your focus on your abilities and improvements in strength (vs. the scale or measuring tape) can improve your body image and mood.
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Your body might change in the process, but your worth is off the hook.
2. It helps you participate in your daily living and other physical activities at a higher level. Now AND at an older age.
Yesss! Building a strong, optimally functioning core (and that goes way beyond crunches -anything between your shoulders and knees is part of your core, including your lats, glutes, abductors/adductors, pelvic floor!) is a big part of that.
It helps you carry those heavy groceries, keep you balanced and stable when you walk on an icy surface, shovel that snow (Canadian over here! ;)), run faster AND stay injury free!
3. Improved posture.
Let’s face it, in our daily life we might hang out in not-optimal alignment. Think sitting behind your desk with rounded shoulders, looking down at your phone or laptop for hours at a time…This can all affect the position of our spine, and create weakness and tension in different parts of our bodies. Aches and pains, injuries, low energy, even pelvic floor dysfunction can be due to prolonged poor posture. BUT, the good news is that we can offset these imbalances by strengthening and stretching the affected areas.
So there you have it. 3 reasons that can take your focus away from the scale or a measuring tape, and instead focus on how you want to FEEL. Tune into your body, your inner-chatter, be kind to you and enjoy the journey! Your body might change in the process, but your worth is off the hook.