How Powerlifting Has Changed My Life & Can Change Yours
You may have read a smidgen of my roller coaster fitness story in a previous post but I haven’t shared much about my powerlifting journey. I’ve been at it since mid 2018 & I absolutely love it. Powerlifting has pushed me beyond what I thought possible, requiring a discipline & focus I didn’t know I was capable of.
How It All Started
I developed an interest in being physically strong at a young age. I remember rearranging furniture in a room at my grandparents’ home. Whether pretending or not, they always seemed so impressed by my ability to move things independently. Their shock & enthusiasm made me feel special.
I played sports through the years-basketball, softball (I loathed softball) & then ran track my first two years of high school. I was a pretty fast runner but lifting weights during practice is where I rediscovered my love of physical strength. Fast forward to adulthood, two kids, knee & shoulder issues, & you have a version of me that has (once again) found her love of muscle.
My father introduced me to powerlifting. He told me about the #StrongLifts5x5 program. It took me a while to try it but when I took it seriously, I was hooked. I remember looking at his Olympic barbell & getting a lump in my throat. It weighs 45lbs & intimidated me. I didn’t think my petite frame could handle that huge bar & then add weight to it!
There was only one way to find out.
I followed the program precisely & gradually increased in weight, strength, & more importantly confidence. Allow me to re-emphasize the gradual changes in strength, etc. You have to be patient with yourself, disciplined, forgiving, & listen to your body.
Nothing in fitness progression is a sprint!
After months on the 5x5 program, I felt I needed something more. I soon discovered another program that propelled me to the next level. Now, the petite woman once afraid of an empty barbell can squat & deadlift more than her own weight. My eyes are on 200lbs. Let’s go!
Youtube fed my new fascination as I searched for tips on lifting & powerlifting in particular. That’s when I found her… #MegSquats. Life forever changed!
I was blown away by Meg’s strength, muscles, beauty, & sense of humor. I wanted to soak up all of the information she offered. I love that Meg celebrates feminine strength on various levels & totally demolishes the notion that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights or look buff.
Soon after incorporating her tips in my 5x5 workouts, Meg launched a program, Stronger By The Day . It started as $5/month but by the time I came across it, it was up to $8. Not only is the program super affordable, it is unmatched so far. You receive new workouts each week & they come with a suggested warm-up, individual exercise breakdowns, demos, & substitutions for each movement.
There is also a “members only” Facebook group for the program. It is undoubtedly one of the most supportive & informative groups I’ve ever joined.
(I apologize for the blurry photos! These will be updated soon.)
Powerlifting is a weightlifting/strength sport where people compete in maximal lifts (3 attempts) for squats, bench press, & deadlifts. I’ve never competed nor do I plan to, but the training is phenomenal. I may change my mind at some point, however, I’m content competing against myself for now.
What Has Changed For Me
I’m in awe weekly with how much my body has changed. From the way I look to what I can now do, the effects are amazing. Improved core strength allows me to lift better (kids, groceries, random items, etc). My arms, shoulders, back, & legs are stronger & more toned. I feel my body can now really do what I expect it to. For example, we have a king-sized bed. It was once a challenge for me to lift the mattress when changing the sheets. Now, I have no problem.
It’s in the everyday tasks that you really notice a difference & your overall improvement!
Okay ladies… this one is for you… in the bedroom changes. There is almost nothing physical that better core strength, leg strength, & greater flexibility can’t improve. As you increase in strength & endurance, you’ll find renewed excitement in your sex life. You may even find yourself able to do things you couldn’t do before. Of course, these improvements apply to men as well. Bottom line… Strength training matters! So do it & remember I told you so!
My daughters (2 Peanut Butter Girls) have seen me active all of their lives. When they were younger, we often went on family bike rides, long walks, & I’d do cardio workouts at home. Although intentional cardio is still an important aspect of my fitness journey, weightlifting is my focus. Both girls work out with me & with their grandparents who are also very active.
Physical fitness is a big part of our lives & I pray my daughters continue to make it a priority as they grow. Typical child-like fun fills their days (running, climbing, etc) but you’ll find them at any given time doing a workout they’ve found on Youtube. They pull out mats, light weights, water, & get to work! Yoga is one of their favorites but we admittedly don’t do it enough.
It’s only upwards from here I hope. As I mentioned before, 200lb deadlifts & squats are my current goal. As of a few weeks ago, my Deadlift max was 170lbs & squats 140. Each week I’m stronger, so it’s time to max out again. I don’t plan to stop at 200lbs but having a goal keeps me focused & intentional with my workouts.
Aside from powerlifting, I’m looking to add boxing to my fitness routine. I’m in search of a decent punching bag that’s relatively inexpensive. Rock climbing has recently piqued my interest as well but I’m not sure how far I’ll pursue it. Heights & hanging off the sides of mountains isn’t really my thing. I’ll have to keep it indoors or stick to amateur activities. *shrugs*
What I’m sure of is my love of lifting & how beneficial it is. Women are very prone to osteoporosis as they age so strength training is medically/scientifically recommended. Our bones are thinner & smaller than men’s. Diminishing estrogen levels & menopause lead to bone loss. This is already a factor for some women in my family & I’m working hard to avoid it as much/as long as possible!
You don’t have to lift heavy weights in order to benefit but doing some form of resistance training & weight-bearing exercise will take you much further. Along with your age & race, your lifestyle plays a huge role in this. The more active you are, of course, the better!
Do you lift or have a fitness routine? If so, what’s your physical activity of choice? I’d love to expand my choices.
If you have any questions about my fitness journey so far, leave it below, message me via social media, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.