So this post is a little on the heavy side. If that’s alright with you, go ahead, read on 🙂
I love to run. And dance. And kickbox. I even like the elliptical. But when trying to lose the baby weight I was escalating up and up in how much cardio I did, with more and more intensity. At the same time I was eating less and less. Still, it’s pretty cool that I PRd a half marathon in the middle of a Chicago winter: brrrrrrrr!
Look at my lashes!
Enter weight training. I was always scared of being BIG. I was also scared of asking for things, needing things, having big scary emotions that might scare or inconvenience someone. I know, this is getting cheezy, but it’s important. This post is way personal.
I started reading up on bodybuilding and was SO inspired by the women, of all shapes and sizes building their bodies up, rather than just tearing themselves down. Brooke Erickson, Neghar Fonooni, Nia Shanks, and Molly Galbraith to name a few. Have you seen the girls gone strong site??
I don’t intend to bash long distance running, Pilates, yoga or any kindof fitness. It’s all good! It ALL can be life giving. But for me, the medicine I needed was serious strength training.
At the time we were able to hire a coach. He had me on a bulk right away. Gulp! Eating- a lot! At one point, I was eating 2700 calories. And hardly gaining a single pound, which, for once, I really wanted to gain. In pregnancy I had become more comfortable with gaining weight, but it was for my baby, and I had every intention of incinerating it all when all was said and done.
This time I just wanted to gain weight.
There’s a lot about my journey into bodybuilding that completely fascinates me for the change it’s evoked in how I see myself- and in how I approach the world.
I love how I look- but somehow my identity is far less tied up in it. Can you talk about freedom? Whether bulking or cutting, I’m still me, and I still like me. Can you imagine being free to like, even love yourself, no matter what??
I’m learning to eat and train for my goals, and to respect in my actions the intentions I set with my heart and mind. If I eat big, it’s because I want to. Not because I’m ‘sneaking’ something. And there’s no guilt.
If I refrain, it’s within limits, for a set period, in order to do something specific. It’s not part of a forever ever ever never again can I have something yummy regimen just because I think it will finally make me into someone lovable or valuable.
And then here’s the magic: I’ve found that being more in tune with what my body needs, and being smart about how to guide it, I’m more aware of what I need in the rest of my life, and I’m more in tune with how to take care of myself as a whole.
I am better able to ask for and accept help. I can say no, or yes, based on how I actually feel and think, rather than on how I think I should answer. I’m less scared of the risk that kindof honesty involves because I know I’m strong. I’m free to be me- isn’t that what they say?
I’ve been ushered into a new era where the starting point is radical acceptance. I no longer fight my feelings, my needs, my body like an enemy. At least, not like I used to. There’s sympathy, and understanding, and negotiation. I can laugh at myself, too. It’s not perfect- but isn’t that kindof the point?
How about you? Is your current workout routine, or lack thereof, tearing you down or building you up?
Is it easy for you to ask for what you need from others? If not, do you think this might be affecting your ability to reach your own health and fitness goals?
Also: do you have a favorite lift or exercise?
For me, I rarely feel so badass as when I’m squatting 😉