Five Significant Ways Lifting Weights Transformed my Body, Mind and Health

Five Significant Ways Lifting Weights Transformed my Body, Mind and Health

I talk about it all the time with good intent

Like most women, I didn’t really have the backing to begin weight training.
To me, cardio was the best kind of exercise.
No one spoke about lifting weight to women in the 80s and 90s.
The vision of Arnold with his big muscles was enough to put a lot of women off.
Would I too, look like this guy if I lifted weights?
Looking back, I never really saw a lot of women lifting weights — and therefore,  I followed the crowd.
It wasn’t until I put on weight after the birth of my daughter, that I felt & looked horrible.
My body was somewhat saggy, I had no definition whatsoever, and I was a clothes size too big for my liking.
Every other mother I contacted regularly told me how challenging weight loss was after pregnancy.
So many of them wished to have their old bodies back.
One even mentioned her hips becoming a lot wider! Her old jeans didn’t fit anymore.
Well, I thought that perhaps I was heading in that direction too — but I gave the gym a try and changed my eating habits.
The first type of weight training I ever did was body pump — and I was hooked!
My journey with weight lifting started small, taking baby steps and building up my confidence until I worked with a personal trainer and then started my competitive bodybuilding journey.
Although this is not the correct path for every woman, I’m living proof that weight training can change your life.
Right now, as I’m recovering from surgery, I am itching to get back in the gym, lifting weights and sculpting my shape back again.
Once you start lifting weights, you can’t live without them.
Here is what weight training did for me.

One: It helped me build muscle tone, strengthen my whole body & trigger fat burning

I first started weight training to tone my flabby body & increase my fat-burning rate while at rest.
Slowly throughout the years, I raised my muscle mass while noticing I could eat more food without gaining any weight.
In saying that, this wasn’t my leverage to eat poorly.
 I ate more of the good stuff.
I snacked on nuts, had extra carbs, and different fruit and snuck in some dark chocolate regularly.
After a while, your body begins to optimise energy effectively.
As I tweaked this leverage, I threw Intermittent fasting into the mix, which took my results to another level.
Although this post isn’t about fasting, I wanted to give you the rundown of my continual learning and experimentation during the process.
Once you start building the foundation for weights, learning proper techniques, building a workout program and spending dedicated amounts of time in the gym, you too can begin to add some more methods.
If you are new, may I suggest a personal trainer?
It’s not the same going through an app. When you begin, guidance is critical.
Someone needs to show you the right way and increase your confidence levels to prepare you for when it’s time to go out and venture alone.
This is one thing that helped me supercharge my results.

Two: It helped me maintain my weight loss throughout my 30’s and now at 40

I am not the only woman to admit that dieting has been my never-ending failure throughout life.
Certain events during my 20s and 30s put me through an endless spiral of weight loss and gain.
I wasn’t what you would call “overweight”, but you don’t have to be in that category to experience dissatisfaction with the body shape you have.
Cardio can only do so much — and for years, I fell into the trap of dedicating my time and effort to this one thing.
That left me depleted, sick and unmotivated. Weight training had the complete opposite effect.
Suddenly, I felt better, my body changed, and I somehow maintained that baseline despite my weight fluctuations.
Our bodies won’t look the same every single year.
You may put on weight and lose it — but weight training provides stability for maintaining your shape and keeping your weight at a set point.

Three: It boosted my cardiovascular health

I’m very fortunate that my heart health has always been quite good.
Could that be a byproduct of all the weight training I’ve done throughout the years?
Many studies have shown that weight training is very effective in promoting heart health.
Data from more than 4000 people as part of a year-long study through the American College of Cardiology back in 2018 found that strength training was better at reducing a person’s risk of heart disease than cardio or other exercises — like walking or cycling.
It’s important to note that walking and cycling (or general low-impact cardio) are still necessary for good health.
So, don’t put your sneakers or bike away — keep pushing on to maintain good health. Plus, it’s good practice to change up your exercise routine regularly.
Another study in 2019, published in the Medicine & Science in Sports Exercise, discovered that people who did at least one hour of strength training per week had, on average, a 40–70 per cent lower risk of heart attack or stroke when compared to those who did not.

Four: It protects my bone health — especially when I move into menopause

Healthy bones are an afterthought for younger people.
But, think about the added benefits you will gain by weight training at a younger age and the leverage you will have when it comes to bone health.
Strength training helps to maintain those bones, so they are strong enough to lower your risk of osteoporosis and eliminate the chances of fractures.
Women are more susceptible to their bone mass becoming weaker and more porous, making them a lot easier to break in a fall.
If you are heading into menopause, estrogen decreases, making you more susceptible to osteoporosis.
However, it’s never too late to benefit from weight training.
Start today and build upon the basic foundations while decreasing your risk of osteoporosis.

Five: It helped me overcome my mental health challenges

This was probably an enormous benefit, more so because I’m very much an internal and emotional person.
I tend to take things to heart, which affects my mental and emotional state substantially.
When I feel anger or hurt, I take it out on my weight. Eventually, the storm within me seems to subside.
The magic takes place through the action of lifting weights and moving through your current limiting beliefs.
When your self-belief increases, you not only feel accomplished but a lot more confident in your own abilities to overcome current situations upsetting your mental state.
The most crucial lesson weight training taught me is that our limitations are set in our own minds.
We hold ourselves back from true happiness because we fear failure.
Weight training helps you develop a sense of mental maturity — because we are the byproduct of successful dedication to a goal.
That starts with a small amount of belief in knowing we can change our bodies, become healthy and enhance the quality of our life.
Once that begins to take shape — anything is possible.
That’s why I refer to weight training as my so-called “therapy” session, in which I turn my back to the world for an hour and focus on my mind and body connection.
I’m taking it back to what’s essential for my mental health.

Key takeaways

I have highlighted some of the most significant things which have helped me deal with everyday life and the constant battle to attain health and longevity.
Part of my journey stems from the loss of both my parents to cancer.
I lost my mum last year, and through her lifestyle habits, I can see how every decision she made regarding her nutrition played a huge part in her cancer diagnosis.
Although now it’s too late for my own parents, I hope to bring awareness to some life-altering possibilities that you can use.
I don’t recommend making massive changes but small decisions that will not only keep you healthy now but well into the future when transitioning to the next phase of your life.
When in doubt about life — just go ahead and lift!

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