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10 reasons why lifting weights has made my life better (and why it could make yours better too)

Written by Sarah on

"The free weights section of gyms seemed like no go zones to me, full of large grunting, scary looking men and even scarier looking equipment."

Until February 2020 I had never entertained the idea of lifting a barbell, never mind attempted it. The free weights section of gyms seemed like no go zones to me, full of large grunting, scary looking men and even scarier looking equipment.

That was until I started training at a small, friendly strength and conditioning gym where there wasn’t an extensive range of cardio machines to hide behind. The first time I went I was surprised and encouraged to see that most of the people training were women and they were lifting heavy weights with confidence and ease.

The coaches took the time to show me how to use the equipment properly and encouraged me to lift heavier weights than I would have dreamed possible, in a safe and supportive environment. The other gym members were friendly and motivating, sharing tips on form and technique, celebrating each other's successes and pushing each other on.

This was a gym where usually half of the other people training would be women, often not particularly big women and some of them would be lifting astonishing weights. Not just young women either, people trained there of all ages. It felt empowering and I always left the sessions feeling pumped – physically and mentally.

I soon realised the importance of using a barbell for compound lifts (squats, bench press, deadlift etc) and quickly began to notice progress and results: with my strength and flexibility but also with my confidence. I realised that I’d spent years missing out on the benefits of weight training because I thought it wasn’t for people like me.

Since then I’ve not looked back and here are 10 reasons why weight lifting has massively improved my life: 

  1. Carrying home heavy shopping (especially when you live at the top of a hill) suddenly feels a whole lot easier…

  2. ….as did moving house! Shifting heavy boxes all day and no aching muscles the day after as they were used to being worked and could therefore work effectively. Previous house moves had me waking up the next day feeling like I’d done 10 rounds in a boxing ring!

  3. Running feels easier and has made me less prone to injury – whether it’s for the bus or a 10km race, because my leg muscles are stronger and better equipped to protect my joints.

  4. My back and neck aches have significantly reduced, because my back and core muscles have strengthened and support me so much better than they used to…

  5. …which means I spend less money on physio and massages.

  6. My posture has improved. I spend so much time ensuring my posture under the bar is correct that it’s made me more aware of my posture generally and helped me develop good muscle memory.

  7. It’s helped my confidence and resilience in other areas of life, remembering on bad days that I am getting stronger every time I lift and lifting more than I ever thought possible reminds me that I can overcome other challenges.

  8. I regularly surprise people with how strong I am. Which is nice.

  9. It makes me train more sociably – I regularly lift with friends so we can spot each other and also catch up whilst we train – essential when friends have busy jobs and family lives.

  10. Most importantly, it makes me feel like a badass. Being a woman who lifts weights feels pretty awesome and empowering.

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