Why I lift Heavy- Sarah

I don’t want to get “bulky”


The other day I was doing weights day with the 9am class and a new boot camper saw how much weight I was using for triceps.  She came up to me and said “I have a big fear of lifting heavy and that I will get bulky looking. You are lifting heavy but you don’t look bulky?”  I was reminded of what a BIG fear this is for women.  Many are afraid to really challenge them selves on weights day because it will make them bigger. 


So here are my thoughts and my story.


MY thoughts…


Some women look like man-beasts! That is super cool if that is what you are going for.  No one who has this look has done it by accident.  They don’t wake up one morning and go “wow, how did this happen to me?” There is a plan to get that way and it is not easy to do.  It takes time and dedication.  Most of that involves nutrition (eating a TON of protein and high calories) and more weight lifting than we do during boot camp workouts.


Some women do “bulk” up without getting a defined look.  This is from working out and eating more than the body needs.  So anytime you eat more than the body needs, guess what… you gain weight.  That excess has to get stored somewhere.


Here is the reality. If you are eating in a calorie deficit and working out it is almost impossible to GAIN muscle.  You will just be losing fat and your muscles will start to come out of hiding to make an appearance.  Our main goal is to maintain muscle and increase strength.  But in order to do that you have to be progressing in your weight amounts while lifting.


There is tons of research on it and I will let Jeremy and Andrew do all that fanciness.  I love to know how it all works but I am much more of a “let me see it in action”.


My story…


I grew up thinking strong was cool. I had two older brothers (6-8 years older than me) and I aspired to be like them.  In high school, like typical high school boys their main goal was to be “beef-cakes”.  The oldest beefcake had a weight set in his room.  It was pretty much his whole room and you had to be an acrobat to get into his bed. A typical day was hearing “groan, groan, grunt, scream” and the spin-doctors blaring from his bedroom door while they were lifting weights.


We also heated our house by wood. It was often a weekend chore making sure we had enough wood in the garage to heat the house.  I would stand with my little arms out as my dad loaded on the logs.  I kept giving the nod “one more”, and I wouldn’t stop until he had a proud and impressed look in his eye.  My arms would BURN and I loved that feeling.


In high school I had an eating disorder (anorexia). I lost pretty much all of my strength.  Surprise, surprise I was a cardio junkie.  It was all about calorie burn and trying to disappear. That is another story I can share another time.


Praise to God that phase of my life is over!!  Now I enjoy being strong and appreciate the ability of what my body can do.  I like to be a “sleeper”, surprise the boys with my strength. A while ago Jeremy and I were helping some friends move and they had a stinking heavy piano.  There were 2 other guys (who are in good shape) but Jeremy wanted me and only me on the other side of that piano.  That was such a cool moment for me!  Being strong is such a big confidence booster.  I have a good ability to know what I can and cannot do.  How to safely maneuver my body to use my muscles and not my joints.  I don’t fear injury because my body awareness is intense.  This credit goes to weights day.  It has given me a 6thsense. “Being able to size up random objects and say, I can lift that.”


Here are my facts... 


I was lifting weights before boot camp but not in an organized and tracked way.


When I started participating in boot camp almost 5 years ago I could squat 60 pounds.


Today~ my body is 5 pounds lighter and 8% less body fat.

I squat around 210 pounds (7~10 reps/ 3 sets).  My thighs are over 2 inches smallereach.  Now this doesn’t seem like getting bulky.  It seems like a pretty good deal.  My body is smaller, I have less fat and I can squat 150 pounds MORE than before!  Pretty cool!


Here is my super amazing secret #1.


I eat normal (I am not trying to lose weight so I eat to maintain).  I am not a perfect eater and do not have to log my food anymore.  I don’t follow any specific eating plan. I listen to my body and try to get fruits and vegetables in.  Most of you would gasp is you saw many “treats” I had in a week.  But I let the scale be my guide.  If it isn’t moving up then cool...I needed those calories to maintain.  If is IS moving up then oops...I better skip the ice cream tonightJ


Super amazing secret #2.


I work out.  I do the 5 days of boot camp and run 3.1 miles on Saturday. That is it.  That is all the time I have to invest in my week right now and it is plenty.  I also lift heavy and give each work out a high intensity.  I have the mentality... “let me see if I can give a little more, lift a little more…”  It doesn’t hurt to try!


Look around at your classmates too. The leanest ones are lifting heavy and trying for more.


So ladies (and gentsJ)...maybe add another 5 pounds to your weights and give it a try.  If it is too much then take it off and try again next time.  But what if you can?  You wont know unless you try!


There is a little glimpse into my brain. Hope it was helpful!


“The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38

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