What powerlifting taught me about being a woman

Posted by Lex DelMonte on

Being part of something greater.

Lifting and belonging to a gym had opened up doors I had never even imagined. I soon fell into a loving group of friends who share the same passion as I do. Friends who push me to better myself both in and out of the gym. I am part of a family, one that only the gym can create. All sharing the same passion for health, for sweat, for pushing limits. The passion and fire that the gym has brought me all make me into a better person. Being conscientious about my health. Being more aware of my mental, emotional and physical state; not just going through the motions. I’m more than that.

Failure is a given.

Think back to a time that you really disappointed yourself. Not your parents, not your friends, just yourself. It sucks, right? I was terrible at feeling guilty all the time, feeling like a disappointment. Lifting has taught me that failure is a given. It’s going to happen and it’s a human flaw that we all have and go through. It taught me not to take it to heart and be so hard on myself. Sometimes I don’t get that 5th rep that I want so badly, sometimes I can’t even touch the weight that I want to pull, yeah it sucks, but turning that into fuel for your fire will do you a hell of a lot more good than pity will.

The female body is ground-shaking.

I remember being around 115 lbs, at the height I am ow (5’8) and thinking, this is it. This is all I’ve got, the best that I’m going to look. Then I discovered power lifting. I’m sitting at 152 lbs right now at the same exact height and feel and look better now than I ever have before. Men are generally imagined to be the ones pulling the heavy weights, getting a good sweat on; the only ones putting in effort. It taught me THAT was a lie. Ladies, we are so much more powerful than we can imagine. Whether or not it’s dead-lifting twice your weight, or put into a position where the choice is a tough one. We can do it. Don’t let stereotypes get in your way. YOU ARE MORE.

It is a therapy. It is my home.

I’ve always suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. And if any of you out there are under the spell of these as well, you know exactly what I mean when I say that we get into our own heads. Before the gym, there were times I wouldn’t be able to stop overthinking and stop being sad. Now, when faced with a complicated situation, or faced with these degrading thoughts, I step into that gym and push my body to the limit; forcing these thoughts out of me. Granted, we all have our days. But I have realized that this is my sanctuary, a place to come and heal, my body, mind and soul.

No limits. No pity.

Nothing in this life will be given to you. All the things in the back of your mind that you are striving for need to be worked for. We all make excuses, we’re human. Lifting taught me to kick my own ass and be my own hero, inside and out of the gym. There are days where my anxiety is killing me, breaking pieces of me away by the very second, but that’s no excuse. The iron doesn’t take excuses in exchange for effort. Just like anything else in this life, I find myself thinking of these excuses and do what I can. No pity for self.
It made me realize the things I can do, rather than what I can’t.

Do this for YOU and no one else.

I learned how to find myself and my own passion within a place I never would have thought of up until four years ago. The people next to you, who are more lean, bigger, stronger, faster, they can’t compare, because they aren’t you. Lifting has taught me to focus on myself, and what my own body is capable of. How far I can push it myself and to appreciate the process every step of the way. The process is beautiful, embrace it every step of the way. The rough days when you can barely make it up the steps because your legs hurt so badly, the sweat rolling into your eyes, the countless days of clean eating and no fast-food. Embrace the effort you are putting in and love every step of the way.

Defining yourself.

I’ve stopped pushing myself to be someone I am not. The weights don’t lie. You can’t step into that gym with the false or wrong mindset. I’ve stopped being this idea of a what a “lady” should look like. I rewrote it to fit my own design. Strong. Powerful. Independent. Smart. These are the qualities that define who I am. These are what make me proud everyday when I wake up. Stop looking for others to support who you are, stop looking for approval. Look yourself in the mirror and figure it out for yourself, because I can promise you, what is there is amazing.

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