When I started lifting weights 30 years ago, I was one of only a few gals in my neck of the woods who were lifting.
Oh yeah, I thought I was pretty hot stuff. I entered a bodybuliding show just shy of my 30th birthday…and won. Body building was in its infancy, so it was all new, fun, exciting. I weighted all of 108 pounds.
Then, for many years, I trained in smaller gyms, and again, I was out-lifting most women there…so I still thought I was pretty hot stuff.
Fast-forward 20 years and I became very ill, and I couldn’t train for about 8 years (which I describe in my book One Rep at a Time). A long, hard road, to be sure.
But when I finally got my health back, I went back to the gym, and boy, was I in for a surprise. There were TONS of women lifting, and while I was glad to see it, my body and my results, paled in comparison. They were out-lifting me 2 to 1!
That was when I realised, I had been a big fish in a small fish bowl for many years. All those years of training while living in remote areas – Banff, Whistler, Sun Peaks, my home gym – meant that I wasn’t keeping pace with the rest of the women lifters out there…and they had surpassed me!
So when I decided to go back into competition at the tender age of 51, I started looking around the Internet. I visited other gyms and watched and learned from other women who were big fish in their own right. And I was humbled….just when I thought a 25-pound dumbell shoulder press was great, these women were lifting, 40, 50 and more. (Yes, many of them were natural). And they weren’t overly huge, but they were extremely tight, toned and sexy!
So about 2 years ago, I upped the ante. I got serious. I no longer wanted to be a small fish anymore. And I teach this to all my clients ( this is what we’re working on in my latest group of 10 and 12-Week Challengers….Intensity!)
Sooooo many women are afraid of lifting big, and I suspect that way in the back in my mind, perhaps I was too. But there’s no easy road. Body parts droop and drop if you don’t work hard to keep them toned and lifted up!
Do yourself a favour: watch other serious women train in the gym, women with bodies that you would like. Even the internet isn’t a good place to look because the women are doing ‘promo’ videos and they’re there all day long, so they use smaller weights to be able to complete a days’ work.
Now, I’m glad to say I’ve increased my dumbell shoulder press to a clean 35 pounds….and I’m aiming for 40 pretty soon! And the extra effort is truly showing itself now in more rounded delts, firmer triceps and legs that (finally) are starting to grow. How nice! (Yes, I’m still only 112 pounds).
Now, if I could just lift up that saggy butt a wee bit more…
PS My 6-week Lift n Lose and Women on Weights in-gym programs start again November 5th! Come join us!