As a young female, I was not expecting to fall in love with weight lifting the way I have. It’s a rough sport, tearing up your hands and bruising every inch of your arms and legs at some point. I have gotten criticism and opposition from friends and family members. Through all of these oppositions, one thing has stayed true: I do love this sport.
I have always been active throughout my life, but have not been seriously passionate about an activity since my high school volleyball days. In January of 2016, I was going through a tough experience and was lacking self-confidence and direction. I was struggling with personal relationships; I just broke up with my boyfriend that had introduced me to weight lifting, and I felt lost. It made me lose so much confidence and positivity, and that proved difficult to overcome. That was when I decided I needed to make a change: I got a personal trainer.
I found her on Instagram and slid into her DMs asking if she was taking on any new clients. We met up in person, and I was convinced. The confidence, strength and honesty she portrayed so effortlessly made me think; “I want that. I want to think like her and have her mindset.” I wanted not only a strong body, but a strong sense of self and a positive attitude about life.
The following week I went to my first session with her. She has group sessions with clients, so there could be anywhere from one to five other people training alongside you, and I loved it. We all became so close, shared our goals and dreams and became physically stronger together. When I started seeing results is when it really hit me: putting your whole body and mind to something is a test of character. I stuck to my meal plan and my training plan, and I was actually proud of myself and the person I was becoming. I was stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there without caring about how others perceived me. I was becoming comfortable just being myself with these other girls who shared a passion with me, and eventually I was comfortable around everyone.
Naturally, my social media reflected this new interest, and I began to post more about fitness as well as follow other fitness accounts. It was then that I realized how biased people can be toward women in the fitness industry. My trainer posted a lot of goofy pictures and videos of us while we were together, and it started to get her a lot of attention in the social media world.
I would see a lot of positive comments of course, cheering us on and admiring our work ethic, but the negative ones have really stuck out. Here are few comments and responses I have seen or used myself:
“You look good how you are now.” “I like to push myself and learn how strong I can be mentally and physically”
“Don’t get too big and manly!” “Lifting actually makes women curvier, not that it is any of your concern”
“Why do you eat and drink that protein stuff?” “Why do you eat fast food and sugar?”
One common theme I have seen is that men tend to comment on this a lot more than women. My theory is these men are either bored or lack self-confidence and feel threatened that a woman could be so strong, perhaps even stronger than they are!
Through my whole experience with lifting and the fitness industry, I have learned that the only way you can be happy is if you follow your heart and DO WHAT YOU WANT! Do not let others stand in your way or bring you down in anything you do in life.