What has Strength Training Done for Me?Nov 20, 2018
What has strength training done for me? It’s a bit like the Monty Python sketch “what have the Romans ever done for us?” So many things – the obvious and the unexpected.
You may have picked up that I love strength training. I’ve had various stages in my life where I have worked out regularly, but none lasted the 10 years or so that I have been now. I realise how fortunate I am to have been able to work with a PT without whom I don’t think I would have delved into lifting heavy weights.
Strength training has become about so much more than just exercising – previous dalliances with exercise had always been solely focused on wanting to lose weight. Growing up I’d not really been into sport but into music. Music (cello & piano) gave me some amazing opportunities but obviously weren’t physically active. Interestingly I really wanted my children to be sporty/active growing up in a way I never had been mainly for health. They have all found different sports they enjoy and gained much more than I realised they would.
The three main benefits I’ve found from strength training personally are:
Made me physically stronger (the obvious).
Made me mentally and emotionally stronger.
Has changed my focus.
Strength Training has Made me Physically Stronger
This is an obvious side effect. What I have enjoyed about being stronger is how it has carried over into real life:
working in the garden – lifting heavy pots, bags of compost, barrowing logs etc I can now just get on with.
when we had ducks and chickens collecting their sacks of food and lifting them in and out of the car.
I still get a buzz if we get a delivery at home and I’m warned it’s heavy before I take it in.
So, everyday tasks in life are easier and that’s not taking into consideration the benefits to bone density etc. particularly as a woman. I can’t really explain the “buzz” I get when I lift heavy – deadlift, back squat or bench – it just makes me feel strong in every way.
Strength Training has Made me Mentally & Emotionally Stronger
This has probably been the greatest impact. An side-effect I didn’t expect or even realise was happening as it began. Physical strength was obvious – I could lift more. This side-effect sort of crept up on me.
As I was pushed into progressing with weights my confidence in the gym grew. This confidence has spilled over into real life. I knew the PT’s I worked with would not give me exercises to try if they didn’t believe I could do them. This made me confident enough to try, even if I was doubtful. That’s not to say that I don’t miss lifts sometimes – but so often it is because of what I am thinking at the time. Once I tell myself I can do it, invariably I lift it. It might not always be pretty, but I do it.
I’m more willing to push outside my comfort zone, more willing to try things in real life and believe that maybe I can do them. It has made me more confident to try new things and strength training has improved my determination as well. I can turn up to a session feeling pretty bleurgh and when I leave feel positive, confident and ready to carry on.
Strength Training has Changed my Focus
As previously mentioned, my initial reason for training was weight loss and to shrink. This is no longer the case. Strength training and lifting has aided my move towards a moderation way of eating. I have been amazed at what my body can do, and this has helped with moving away from a place of self-loathing. I want to nourish my body so that I can carry on getting stronger.
The numbers that concern me now are the kg’s I’m lifting – although I rarely find out until afterwards to limit mind games! The more I’ve lifted, the more excited I’ve got about the sport and want to progress. The number on the scales is irrelevant. I’d never really been proud of my body, but I do like telling people what I can lift and what my body can now do.
I like being strong, I like feeling strong. I like feeling powerful.