Move Over Gym Bros: 3 (Non-booty related) Reasons to Lift Weights

As a 20-something woman I am as easily susceptible to social media trends and influencers as the next girl. I’m not ashamed to admit it, the whole reason I started going to the gym was because I was after that highly coveted booty all fitness models flaunt. You know the ones: perfectly sculpted legs clad in the newest #sponsored GymShark leggings, protein shaker in one hand and an iPhone in the other. 

I was never an active kid growing up, and my fitness journey up until about a year ago was purely for aesthetic reasons. I was constantly trying to outrun the fat kid that I grew up believing I was, and I’ve tried all manners of workouts and fad diets in my attempt to banish her from existence before I stumbled upon weight training. 

And boy, have I been enlightened. 

Now before I start sounding like I’m pitching weight training like some sort of mythical snake oil, hear me out. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration for me to say that yes, lifting weights did change my life. What was initially a mission for aesthetics ended up being so much more, and here’s 3 reasons why. 

1. You learn more about your own body

Learning how to lift weights has taught me to embrace my body as a friend. When I was younger I looked in the mirror and all I would see were my fat, cellulite dotted thighs, cursing everything from last night’s dinner to genetics. My body was not what I wanted. Why couldn’t I be a part of the population blessed with superior metabolism? I spent a majority of my life working against my body instead of with it. 

Then someone who taught me how to lift put a barbell on me and told me to squat, and in that moment I realised how amazing it was that my knobbly thighs were the things keeping me from buckling. As I would progressively pile on more weights over the months, it was my previously hated thighs that would yet again pull through, pushing me back up when I thought they couldn’t possibly take any more. 

And because my body was performing for me, I understood better than ever before that it was my duty to take care of it. I started paying more attention to what my body was telling me what it liked or disliked; what was good fuel and what wasn’t. 

While I’m sure this realisation can come with any sort of physical activity that you enjoy, weight training just happened to be the one that flipped the switch for me and if you haven’t tried it already, now’s the time to start! 

2. It keeps you motivated and disciplined

You may be thinking that lifting weights is a test on physical strength, but the phrase “mind over matter” really rings true here. What I’ve realised was that our bodies are capable of handling much, much more than we think. Our minds are the key players to help push our bodies to its limits. I may look calm when I squat, but in my head is Terry Crews screaming “DO IT! DO IT!” and that keeps me going (hey, whatever floats your boat!). 

So weight training for me is as much a mental exercise as it is physical. Even if the last rep hurts all the way to Valhalla, your brain is what pushes your body over the edge. You leave every session sore and spend a few a week gingerly lowering yourself onto the toilet because your legs are jelly, but feeling your newfound strength gets you to the gym the next week to do it all over again. 

3. It’s just so god-damn empowering. 

If you’re still not convinced, I hope this would be the most compelling reason to begin. Lifting weights has shown me my strongest self. There first time I held what was my own body weight over my shoulders I felt like there was nothing more satisfying than just knowing that I’m able to. That mental exercise that you’ve been practicing while carrying heavy things? It definitely translates to everyday life. Setbacks are just real life equivalents to that one last, grueling rep (Again, Terry Crews is my own personal cheerleader). Life got you down? Channel all the frustration into that chest press. 

Eventually you’ll get so used to doing difficult things that nothing much gets you down. Hell you may as well have been training to be a real-life 21st century warrior princess who don’t need no man to carry her 30 kilo suitcase up the stairs at Shinjuku station, among other (obviously way more important) things. And if some douchebag asks if you even lift, you can look him straight in the eye and say “Yes. Yes I do.” 

So whether you’re looking to be fit for summer or well, forever , give weight lifting a try!