Top 10 Reasons Why I Lift

Last week, Tara asked many of her readers why they lift. She then shared all of their responses in this awesome post (which, if you “like” my facebook page you’ve probably already seen, because I shared it there too!). This got me thinking about why I lift, but when it came time to comment on her post, I had a hard time coming up with a quick answer. There are many reasons why I lift, and fitting it all into a couple of sentences for a blog comment was tough! So I’ve decided to take Tara’s prompt and turn it into a post of my own.

I think there are a lot of ladies (and quite frankly, men as well) who don’t understand why ladies like Tara and myself lift heavy weights. “Do you want to look like a man?” Some people ask. Or, more frequently, “what are you training for, anyway?“, as if the only reason to train hard is to have a specific event or end point. The simple answer is, I lift for me.

training for life

Language! Sorry mom. 

The longer answer? Read on.

The top 10 reasons (in no particular order) why I lift are…

1.  It makes me feel powerful. Plain and simple. I’ve done many types of exercise in my life, and while I do enjoy other things besides lifting, none of them make me feel as powerful as when I have a loaded barbell across my back or when I lock out at the top of a dead lift. There is nothing like finally benching 100 lb, or finally squatting my body weight that I’ve experienced when it comes to fitness. Weight room PRs are purely about power and strength. That is amazing to me.

2. It helps me live life a little easier. I don’t struggle carrying heavy grocery bags home from the store. I can bike to work with a heavy bag on my back and not worry about it. I am able to lift heavy boxes and move furniture when moving day arrives, and I’m not going to cry about it or organize while the boys move the heavy stuff. Give me the heavy stuff. I promise, I can handle it. As an athletic trainer, I carry a med kit that runs anywhere from 30-40 pounds on a given day. That med kit goes with me wherever I go when I’m covering an event, so you’d better bet that lifting makes that a little bit easier to carry around.

3. I hate running. I’ve said it on here before, and I’ll probably say it again. I hate running. (see?) I’ve tried to enjoy running; I’ve tried to hit that mythical “runners high”, but it just isn’t there for me. You know what is there? “Lifters high”, if that’s even a thing. Big lift days leave me both exhausted and on top of the world, a combination that I’ll take any day of the week.

4. I find muscles to be aesthetically pleasing. This is purely personal taste. I find muscular people to be very attractive, while some people don’t. You might look at a woman with muscles and find her “manly” or “bulky”, while I will probably look at her and think she looks strong and beautiful. It’s just my opinion, and while I strongly support your choice to a differing opinion, I’ll still probably tell you you’re wrong on this one.  Just saying.

5. I love being able to say “no”, and truly mean it, when someone asks me if I need help carrying something. This one is not a catch-all. Sometimes I truly do need help carrying something (I’m not superwoman, as much as I’d like to think I am), and sometimes I just want someone to help out. But it is comforting to know that I usually don’t need the help, and that if there were no one available to help, I’d be ok. It’s also nice to see the look on some people’s faces when they see me carrying something that a girl my size “shouldn’t” be able to carry.

6. I can climb things. I know this sounds a little silly, but being able to lift your own body weight is truly a valuable skill in my opinion. I can climb ropes if I’m doing an obstacle course race, and God forbid if I ever got in a situation where I had to be able to pull myself out of somewhere, I know that I’m strong enough to do so. Pull ups can be life savers, and while I say this somewhat facetiously, it’s actually true in certain situations. (Like, say, being chased by dogs… or zombies… or if you happen to find yourself in the Hunger Games. You know, those types of real life scenarios).

7. I’m constantly working towards new goals. Just like runners who are on an endless hunt for race PRs, I’m consistently working towards PRs and new goals in the weight room. It gives me something to look forward to, and also a huge sense of accomplishment each time I reach one of these goals. 

8. Because I love to eat. You didn’t think I would leave this off this list, did you? I love food. Food loves me. You know what muscles need in order to get bigger and stronger? Food. You know what helps your muscles recover after a big lift? Food. You know what doesn’t help your muscles recover? Avoiding food like it’s the devil. Many different varieties of protein, fats, and carbs are all part of my regular diet, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

9. It’s good for the soul. This goes back to #3 in a way. I have never been able to find peace while running, and yoga, while I love it, isn’t my go-to stress reliever either. The number one thing that I’ve found that helps me when I’m stressed is lifting. There is something about the focus, the rhythm, and the selfishness of lifting that calms me and de-stresses me. It is my therapy, as running or yoga is for many others.

10. I like my shoulders. And I want to keep them this way (and also continue to improve them!).  I still have a lot to work on and I know I’m very far from perfect, but I’m proud of my shoulders every time I see them in the mirror. Lifting weights can make you see amazing progress, and can make you fall in love with your body when most people spend their days criticizing theirs. I still don’t love every part of me, and I know that that’s something I’ll work on forever, but lifting really has given me some nice things to focus my attention on in the meantime.

pudgy_02

Lady lifters aren’t anything new! This is Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, a famous female weightlifter from the 1940s. 

So now that you have my top 10, what are some reasons why you lift? Or if you aren’t as into weight lifting as I wish you are, what are some reasons why you run/yoga/zumba/etc? Do you tend to set more aesthetic or performance based goals? 

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19 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons Why I Lift

  1. I’m so glad I inspired you to write this! All of your reasons are great, and I agree that it’s hard to sum up why I lift in only a sentence or two. Back when I couldn’t lift, it made me appreciate it all the more. I’m constantly amazed at what my body can do, and I never feel happier than when I’m in the gym. ‘Normal’ people say that is depressing, but they obviously don’t understand how wonderful exercise can be 😀

    • Not being able to lift definitely makes me appreciate it that much more! And it really is true, people who don’t lift or train regularly don’t usually understand how someone can love it so much… I just can’t imagine NOT having the gym in my life!

  2. I love reading this list! I’m not as big into lifting as you are, but I definitely agree with #1, 8, and 10. My favourite workout is definitely running though and I love it because of the peacefulness I feel while running and the feeling of accomplishment when I reach a goal!

  3. I’m more of a runner, but since the heat of an NYC summer has sent me to the gym most days I’ve really gotten into more strength training. (because the treadmill is well… a hamster wheel) I still only lift less than 20lbs on each arm but I’m considering hiring trainer to teach me how to lift heavier! If you have any resources for beginners I’d love to check them out!

    Inspiring post!
    Georgie @ http://init4thelongrun.com

    • Awesome, thank you so much and I’m so glad I’ve inspired you a little bit! I’ll have to search through the blog but I know I’ve got some posts with some beginner material. Also, if you check out Tara’s blog at Sweatlikeapig.com, she has some incredible posts for weightlifting that are geared toward beginners (set up, form, etc.). I would also definitely recommend finding a good quality trainer to help you out at first, having a second set of eyes on your form for the big lifts can seriously mean the difference between strength and injury. Good luck on your journey… and Don’t you dare say “only 20 lb on each arm”… You are lifting 20 lb with each arm girl! That’s great! Everyone starts somewhere, and everyone makes their own progress. Cheers!

  4. I’ve always been terrified of the weight room purely because I had no idea what to do. But, when I started crossfit, I fell in love with all the lifting we did for all the reasons you listed above (except #3…I am a runner, and I love it). There is nothing more satisfying then declining the male cashiers offer to help me carry a 30# bag of dog food to my car, only then for me to effortlessly pick it up with one arm and walk out, in heels and a skirt. That is power 🙂

    • I love that feeling too!! I had a grocery bagger tell me recently that the bags were “very heavy” and that I should get a cart. I just politely smiled, said thanks, and picked them up. Love it! And I’ll admit, I was deathly afraid of the weight room at one point too, and I’m not even really sure what made me get over that.

  5. Sometimes (pretty much all the time) I swear you’re reading my mind and typing those thoughts out. Agree with all of this! I love feeling strong and powerful! I starting lifting as a form of injury rehab/prevention- then it turned into part of my training program for riding (being able to deadlift/squat my body weight really helps when working with 1300lb animals, even just in confidence levels) but it’s kind of addicting and even though some of my friends think I’m nuts (and yet they tell me they want to look like me)- I wouldn’t be happy without it in my life!

    • Haha, I know what you mean. I’ve gotten many comments that start with “I love your arms/shoulders, how have you done that” and then end with “But I can’t lift weights, I don’t want to get bulky”. It’s like the whole world has been brainwashed! Glad to know that I’m reading your mind… and I’m glad you’ve been able to incorporate weight training into your equestrian program. I haven’t ridden since I was young but I know that it requires a LOT of strength!

  6. I LOVE the “Abbye Stockton” Photos, how inspiring. Your reasons resonate with me… and inspire me to get my booty back to the gym… vaca is OVER. 😉

  7. I started working weights when I got into fitness age 13 (it was probably illegal to let someone so young in the gym but hey … it was in France) and as far as I can recall I’ve always strived to be strong. At that very vain age I also really wanted my veins to pop out like Angie Jolie in Tomb Raider haha.

    I agree with you that it is very calming – one thing I also love is the intense recuperation your body does after a heavy set. Does anyone else find themselves yawning a lot as your body works super hard to get oxygen to the muscles (or something like that). You don’t get that with running in my mind – you just get tired and depleted. Unless you do sprints. Which are awesome.

    Excellent post and lovely blog throughout – keep on lifting and writing, lady 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Sophie! Wow, I didn’t get into weigh lifting until I was about 25, I can’t believe you started at 13!! I do find myself yawning a lot during some lift days too…I can’t tell if there’s actually a good reason behind it or if I’m just super tired 😉 Again, thanks for stopping by!!

  8. OMG!! I am soo happy I found your blog!! This is an awesome post. # 3 I hate running, is the only one I can’t relate too.. lol. I am a marathon runner who started getting serious about lifting 6 months ago. I started lifting to be stronger so I could run faster, injury free, in natural barefoot running shoes. I not only became a faster runner, but my body has totally transformed. I love it!

    • Yay, thank you, and I’m so happy you found it too!! I’ve really tried to love running, but with little success. I did get myself to the point where I was able to do a 10k, but I hated every second of it 🙂 I love hearing about runners who start lifting, it really can make a huge difference in your performance!

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