I’ve always been athlete. I’ve played sports — both competitive and recreational — for pretty much my entire life.
I started lifting weights and working out pretty early too. My mom started bringing me to the gym with her when I was 14, I was lucky to have such a positive, healthy role model.
But despite my athleticism, I haven’t always been confident. I actually struggled with my body image for years. I spent countless hours and years of training obsessed with losing weight and trying to change the way I looked.
It was exhausting.
And I never seemed to make any headway with my training.
There were a few things that helped me turn that all around, but one of the things I credit most was falling in love with powerlifting.
When I started lifting for strength gains instead of just training to change my physique, a few things happened…
I started caring less about “the numbers”. I quit focusing on things like my bodyweight, dress size, and percentage of body fat.
As I got stronger and continuously set new PR’s, I gained confidence that I never thought I’d have.
I stopped obsessing over my diet and restricting my intake and started eating for performance.
And the funny part is… I started seeing more than just strength gains. My physique changed too. I gained muscle. I leaned out. Suddenly I started noticing all of the aesthetic changes that I had spent so many years chasing.
And instead of feeling exhausted, I felt strong, energetic, powerful, and empowered.
Powerlifting has taught me so much about myself as a woman and as an athlete.
I think other woman can benefit from it just I like I did. In fact, one of the ways I approach training female clients with fat-loss or physique-based goals is to help them make a similar shift.
Here are five reasons why women should lift heavy (or consider training for a powerlifting meet)…
1) Lifting heavy helps you build the body that you really want.
Many of the women that I’ve trained over the years came to me after having tried popular fat-loss or physique transformation methods that failed to work for them. Things like bodyweight home-based workout videos, light-weight high-rep weight training, group fitness classes, and hours upon hours of cardio just to name a few.
(Hey, I tried many of them myself over the years too.)
Despite their best efforts, they never really built the body that they truly wanted — strong, lean, and athletic.
Contrary what many people believe (and what many “fitness gurus” will tell you), lifting heavy will help you build a leaner, more defined physique. (And in case you’re thinking it… NO it will not make you big, bulky, masculine or viking-like.)
2) Lifting heavy helps you get outside your comfort zone.
Too many people get caught in a hamster wheel — doing the same thing over and over again and not getting results. It’s because things that are familiar are comfortable, they’re easy.
But the real magic happens outside of our comfort zones. We need to push our limits and force ourselves to tackle difficult or uncomfortable things in order to experience true personal growth.
Heavy lifting can be intimidating and it can be uncomfortable, but it can also challenge your body in new ways.
Facing that challenge head on and seeing the gains that come along with it will give you the confidence to push the limits of your comfort zone in other areas of your life too.
3) Lifting heavy translates into useful everyday strength.
Think about how many times a day you have to pick something up of the floor, move something across a room, or sling your kid over shoulder.
Getting stronger will help you more with everyday tasks than you realize.
You’ll finish your days feeling healthier and more energetic.
4) Lifting heavy eliminates the stress and negativity that comes with physique focused training.
First, let me tell you that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your physique. But… It can become a negative thing if you’re intensely focused on changing it or if you associate your self-worth with it.
The process of fat loss or physique change is inherently stressful because it’s often accompanied by negative body image, anxiety and restrictive dieting. When we combine these things, our bodies feel threatened and we get an overall increase in cortisol — a stress hormone.
Cortisol plays a key role in fat lass because it’s involved in releasing energy to be used as blood sugar drops. Cortisol should be high in the morning and should slowly drop over the course of the day.
When we’re fixated on our bodies and on restrictive dieting and when we train too intensely or too frequently, cortisol stays elevated all the time, impeding fat loss and muscle gain.
Heavy lifting can help relieve this stress because it shifts our focus to strength- and performance-gains instead. This shift improves regulation of the HPA axis that governs stress and hormone balance, which in turn, allows fat loss to happen without the struggle, negativity, and deprivation that often goes along with physique-focused training.
5) Lifting heavy makes you feel like a f*cking superhero!
This reason is my personal favourite.
Lifting heavy and setting new PRs makes you feel like a total badass.
Anytime that I’ve taken on a new client that hasn’t lifted heavy before, their confidence skyrockets as they get stronger.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing the look of accomplishment and elation on my clients' faces when they get their first strict pushup or pull-up, deadlift their bodyweight for the first time, or set a new personal best bench press.
Heavy strength training helps you realize what you’re truly capable of. It helps you find confidence that you never knew you could have.
Lifting heavy has been a great thing for me for all of the reasons that I’ve listed above and then some.
…And I think that it can be a great thing for other women too.
Are you ready to experience the awesomeness that is heavy strength training? Are you ready to get crazy strong - inside and out?
I'd love to help you out! Click the image below to learn more.