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I’ve never been the most athletic person. While I did play some sports and make the effort to go to the gym in high school, that all changed when I got to university. This, combined with a love for the residence mac and cheese, led to me gaining a few pounds. In second year, my unhealthy habits stayed the same. Feeling sluggish and unmotivated, this summer I decided to take action. I began working with a personal trainer who introduced me to lifting.

I had always thought that weightlifting was just something that guys did when they wanted to get more muscular, or “swole.” Boy, was I wrong.  Weight training has many benefits, ranging from reducing feelings of depression to lowering your risk for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Here are some of the reasons why I love weight lifting:

 

It makes me feel strong

Before I started lifting, I didn’t think that I was strong. I never could have imagined what my body could do if I just pushed it hard enough. My trainer Kristy pushed my boundaries and didn’t let me give up at the first sign of difficulty, which really helped me to realize just how strong I am. And now that I’ve found this strength inside myself, I want to increase it and see just how strong I become. For me, weight lifting is like a competition with myself. Every session, I try to outdo myself just a little bit, whether that’s completing more reps with my personal best weight, or moving up to a heavier weight altogether. Realizing my body’s capabilities has been a great motivator and confidence booster.

 

There’s variation

There are many different exercises and lifts that make up strength training. There are two main families of lifts that I do. There are Olympic lifts, which are comprised of the snatch and the clean and jerk, and powerlifting, which is comprised of the squat, deadlift, and bench press. With so many choices, every session is different and exciting. Whichever you prefer, I guarantee you will feel more powerful!

 

It’s helped to boost my body confidence

I’ve never been particularly confident about my appearance. Lifting weights has allowed me to see past what’s in the mirror. I may not be the skinniest or fit with today’s traditional standards of beauty, but lifting weights has helped me see that I am strong and capable, and to love my body a little bit more because of this.

 

It goes against traditional gender roles

There has long been a stigma surrounding women who lift weights. Weight lifting is seen as a male dominated sport, used by men to bulk up and get more muscular. Women, on the other hand, are supposed to be skinny, and prefer using an elliptical to pumping iron. Today, however, more and more women are breaking the stigma and starting to use strength training as their preferred form of physical activity.

 

It’s satisfying

For me, there is no better feeling than looking at a weight I never could have imagined I could move and being able to lift it effortlessly. Being able to surpass my goals and set new ones is what keeps me coming back to the gym.

 

You may have doubts about weight lifting like I did but I recommend that you just try it and see if you love it as much as I do!

 

 

 

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Alex Hawkins

Western '21

Alex is doing a master's degree in library and information science. She graduated with a BA in psychology and criminology in 2019. She previously served as co-Campus Correspondent and President of Her Campus Western. Follow her on insta @alexhawkins65.
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