I have so many tips and ideas that I look forward to sharing, but the topic I want to bring the most attention to on this blog is weightlifting, so that’s where I will begin. I honestly think it’s where everyone should begin once they’ve made the commitment to transform their life.
Since weightlifting is about strength, I need to tell you what the word ‘strength’ encompasses to me. ...because I am continually working on all forms of strength. I want my outer physical strength to reflect my inner strength, if that makes sense?
There are many kinds of strength, but I will address the four that I have been working on lately.
✦ Inner Strength - Do you enjoy your own company? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Work at this. There’s beauty in it. And a hell of a lot of peace.
✦ Emotional Strength - Are you emotionally strong enough to discuss the ‘tough stuff’ like a mature adult? And by the same token, are you emotionally tough enough to hear the ‘tough stuff?’ Maturity and growth can only take place if you’re adult enough to handle it.
✦ Mental Strength - Do you crumble under stress? Or man up to the challenge? A few weeks ago Brian told me about a guy in his mid-40’s (mid-40’s!) who quit his new job because he hit a deer on the way to his first day on the job! (!?!?) I’d like to know how those two are even related and how he’ll be able to cope in the face of larger challenges. Wow.
✦ Physical Strength - I truly believe that the previous three come together to manifest themselves as physical strength and well being ...or lack thereof. By improving physical strength I don’t mean just muscles. I mean strengthening tendons, ligaments, bones, and the neurological system. I want my physical body to withstand that silly concept called aging. I want my physical vehicle to be healthy enough to keep up with all of my ambitions! Side note: to address a common misconception, I’d like to admit that I have actually become smaller as I’ve become stronger.
Weightlifting is just part of who I am. I have always loved physical labor and being productive. I have always been drawn to strength; I am not okay with feeling weak. Ever. At the risk of making myself sound crazy, I’ll also admit… I’m fairly certain I was a farmer in a past life, or in multiple past lives. As I’ve tried to think of a way to sum up and share my weight lifting goals and style with you, I keep thinking, “I just want to train and strengthen myself like a farmer!” Strength is instinctual for me.
I had periods of time in my twenties that I was able to go to a gym and lift weights. But this was not consistent since I didn’t always have a gym membership. In those times where I didn’t have access to a gym, my outlet was running. I was content with this since I find another piece of who I am running alone on gravel roads, but the weightlifting beast inside of me did not die... he only slumbered. Then came a loooong 6 year stretch of time (more about this in future posts) where I didn’t get to do either of these! I had to suppress both facets of myself that make me a sane person. That was difficult. Again, more about this in future posts.
When that dark time ended in August 2015, Kelly had the opportunity to finally be who she wanted to be. August 2015 was the beginning of Kelly’s comeback story. And she went with it! She shot right out of the starting gate and got after it full-bore. The beast inside didn’t slowly wake up or even pause to stretch and yawn first. He stood right up, got going, and unleashed himself immediately! Boy did it feel good. One and a half years later I still have that drive and am actually going at it stronger than ever before.
Like I said, weight lifting is just a part of who I am. I never have to scrounge up motivation to go do it. I’d go do it more often if time allowed. I love how it makes me feel. I love that my breath is clearer and ‘higher’ toward the end of heavy lifts than it was walking out to the garage prior. I love how it fills me with energy for the days between lifting (Recovery and neurological fatigue are a real thing.... very real. Even still…. I have more energy overall compared to if I didn’t lift at all. This level of energy increases over time as well.).
In my twenties when I was lifting, I didn’t ever progress past 25 pound dumbbells or the 45 pound bar in the rack. But fast forward to the period of time between August 2015 and now... as the beast within me got going, I have made the following progress. This is only one snapshot in a long journey, as I’m only getting started! I went from a broomstick (!) to an empty bar squat (45 pounds) to a 155 pound squat. I went from being a complete newbie at deadlifting to a 165 pound conventional deadlift. In the farmer’s walk I went from carrying 20 pounds in each hand to now carrying 80 pounds in each hand. I went from being a newbie at the overhead press to doing 65 pounds for a set of 5. I can now push the Prowler (a weighted sled with TONS of resistance) with 160 pounds added; when I started it was all I could do to get that bitch to move a half a block and back...empty! I am currently lifting the Rolling Thunder (which is a one handed deadlift using a 2 ⅜ inch revolving handle made by IronMind - used in grip competitions) with 68 pounds added. I couldn’t do one full chin-up when I started (I used resistance bands to assist me) and now I can knock out a set of 6 body weight chinups or sets of 3*2*1 with a 10 pound plate belted to my waist. I moved from carrying and loading a 25 pound plate to a 40 pound bag of softener salt, to now carrying two 40 pound salt bags taped together.
I have accomplished this progress in just two 75 minute workouts per week. And honestly, within this 16 month time frame, there was a 5 month ‘break’ from weightlifting (that will never happen again!!) where I enjoyed running on the gravel roads in the summer. I am solar powered, if I haven’t already mentioned that! Anyway… I get to work out twice per week and my husband gets to work out twice per week. This is all that our weekly schedules and crazy-full-plates allow. One of us corrals the kids, makes supper and starts the bedtime routine while the other enjoys alone time killing iron in the garage. This is what works for us. We look forward to the day when our kids are old enough to afford us more time to work out AND the time to work out together when we wish. Time will also eventually allow them to spend some time out there with us, building strength at their levels! You’d better believe that I will train my daughter to squat, deadlift and press! I think I’d better create a post about this in the future, too, because I believe everyone would benefit from a base of strength in these compound movements! Until we get more time to spend working out and training, my husband and I very much appreciate what the other does to allow us this amount of time, what little it is. It sure as hell beats the 6 years of NO working out I had to endure. Bleh!
I look forward to sharing with you what exactly I do each time I work out, as well as more about weightlifting in general. Some topics I plan to address include:
*How a beginner should begin
*Basic whole-body movements to include
*My detailed weekly workouts
*How to structure your lifting schedule/program/plan
*Tips for each particular movement
I will leave you with a very simplified and general summary of our workout plan. The other night Brian and I were once again trying to reign in our focus and ambitions, as we often do because we have the desire to go out and do it all! By this I mean, there are so many different lifts, programs, theories, progressions plans, and avenues we want to pursue, yet we only have 150 minutes per week to devote. We needed to bring ourselves back to our most basic goal… and he summed it up perfectly when he said this…
“As long as we pick up something heavy off the ground… and make it heavier the next week; push something heavy over our head… and make it heavier the next week; and carry something heavy… and make it heavier the next week and/or carry it further the next week, we should realize we are successfully progressing.”
I loved it. I wrote it down immediately and knew I had to share it with you. What I love most about it is that it really bridges the gap between those who are beginning and those who have done it for years…. and really everyone in between. Offer yourself some grace wherever you are in your weight lifting journey and remember that you’re kicking ass at it as long as you’re accomplishing something and progressing a little each week. Now, go lift something!
Today's 155 pound squat.
January 2, 2017
Today's 205 pound partial.
January 2, 2017
I am a wife, mom to two and teacher. I have a lot of things I'd like to go after in this lifetime!