Yeah, that’s a bit of a stretch from the Mumford & Sons song lyric but I’m drawing a blank today guys. Anyway, on to the meat of the blog post! I have a bit of a long and storied relationship with the art of weightlifting, I started around age 14 in my required high school gym class. My gym instructor also just so happened to be the head coach of the girl’s weightlifting team for my high school (what a crazy random happenstance) and after seeing me excel at it in class began to try to talk me into joining the team. I politely declined, as I was focusing on my other sports at the time (bowling and softball) but this is not where our hero’s story ends. By my junior year of high school, I had finally given in to his begging and joined the team. Before that though, I decided I enjoyed weightlifting enough to want to us a couple of my electives to take the school’s weightlifting class.
My sophomore and junior years of high school I took weightlifting for a semester each, and really took to it. By the time my “beginning powerlifting class” (which is what they called the second half of your second semester of it) ended I was maxing out my bench press around 130 pounds. When I joined the girl’s weightlifting team that winter though, I was in for a rather rude awakening as I not only had to bench press in competition but also had to learn the “clean and jerk”. Now if you’ve never seen this performed, I fully encourage you to look it up because it’s absolutely ridiculous and should’ve been a form of medieval torture. For the lazy, here’s a link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU6fhAg49y4). With time, I learned the motion and was able to do pretty well with the clean and jerk, but I excelled more at the bench press finishing out my senior season at 145. I placed 4th but didn’t qualify for state but I was pretty happy with my progress.
Showing off the guns in high school, I was quite spirited.
The great thing about weightlifting was that it really helped me excel at my other sports (by this time I was throwing shot put and discus for track and still bowling). Weightlifting had become something I genuinely enjoyed and continued to do throughout my off seasons in high school and I dabbled with in college. Every once in a while I would pick up weightlifting for a bit when I was going through a gym phase, but I always felt it wasn’t helpful because muscle weighs more than fat and yada-yada-yada. So I ultimately decided that this time around on my “epic weight loss journey” I would skip the weightlifting for a bit, or at least until I had lost what I considered to be an adequate amount of weight.
When I was nearing this magical “adequate amount” sometime in late February I decided that once I returned from spring break I was going to begin adding weightlifting back into my fitness regimen. I consulted my handy-dandy personal trainer/roommate extraordinaire, Will and began with a 4 day split. Initially I was doing arms, cardio rest, back/shoulders, cardio rest, chest, legs, and one day of full rest. I kind of throw abs in there once or twice a week on varying days, but core workouts are super important. Now keep in mind that on the days I was lifting I was also doing about 20-30 minutes if cardio. So I was working out 6 days a week, which is a lot sometimes. After a bit of progress I decided to condense my chest and leg days into one day, creating a 3 day split and giving me optionally 2 days of rest. In actuality I still sometimes end up working out 6 days, but it gives me more days to run between lifting which is nice. I typically do 2 lifts per muscle group during workouts, but I’m considering adding a third in the near future to add diversity and such to my plan.
In the 3 months since I started lifting, I’ve made great progress and definitely noticed some big changes to my body. I’m happy to report that even though I’ve been gaining muscle, I continue to lose about 1.5 pounds a week which in my mind means I’m losing way more fat or something. I may not be ready to max out my bench press at 150 or anything anytime soon, but I’ve made quite a bit of progress and I feel stronger than I ever have both physically and spiritually/emotionally. I’ve definitely found my muscles are much more noticeable/defined then they were in high school, though it probably helps that I weigh about 50 pounds less. I recently discovered that my collar bones sort of stick out which was a new thing for me and I still get startled by occasionally, and that’s probably because my deltoids and trapezius muscles are gaining definition.
I’m pretty proud of the progress I’ve made, but I continue to make the most ridiculous faces when I flex.
I’m not an expert on the matter by any means, but given my history and experience with weightlifting I’ve kind of designed my own lifting program and it’s worked for me. If you have a working knowledge of the subject, you can totally make a plan for yourself. If not, I encourage you to reach out to someone who does know or the internet or whatever resource possible to find a plan that works for you. I’ve definitely tweaked my lifts over time, sometimes it takes a bit to figure out what works best for you. If any of you would like to share your lifting plans or have (very basic) questions, leave them in the comments or send me a message. Happy lifting!