Weightlifting and better body image: A self-love story

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a little self-love story about a selfie.

I took this selfie last week because that’s what people in my generation do. We take selfies. Come at me.

I wasn’t looking to share it. I was only hoping to capture myself at a moment in time and see how my body had changed since I jumped full speed ahead back on the power lifting bandwagon this year. I wasn’t too pleased with what I saw. Thick waist. Thick arms. Do you even have hamstrings? Do you even lift?

The selfie was soon forgotten as I went to the gym with a lot of anxiety about the heavy squats written in my program that day. Long story short, I progressed through my sets of heavy squats with ease and hit a new PR of 160 lbs. for one set of three with my trainer as a spotter/witness.

I looked at that selfie again while I was stretching after my workout. No longer did I see a thick waist and arms. I saw a badass strong woman with a bumpin’ booty and killer quads who just squatted 160 lbs.

This is why I lift. For me, and for a lot of women who lift, the pride of reaching an appearance goal or a body measurement goal could never compare to the sense of accomplishment we feel when we grow stronger.

This is what gets women hooked on weightlifting. My body image was in a dark place when I started, and I don’t think that’s unusual for women who start lifting. When you’re new, you hit PRs on PRs on PRs. It feels amazing. You want more. Your focus starts to shift solely from how your body looks to what it can do. By then you’re hooked and you keep lifting, even when the PRs start to slow. And soon enough, you’ll probably start to notice your appearance has transformed as well.

Stay fit,

Marisa

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