Sally has been lifting for about a year now after a year of struggling to find focus at the gym for a year before that. She started at Forest Green gym but now trains at Anytime Fitness in Stroud and Nailsworth Strength and Fitness. In the past year, she has competed in two novice strongman competitions at Nailsworth Strength and Fitness and one not so novice competition for the British Heart Foundation in Southampton earlier this month. You can follow her on Instagram where she’s always happy to chat and help out where she can!
Day 3 in the caribbean and day 3 of pre-7am HIIT training complete. Whilst I sat looking out over the lake eating breakfast (1 piece of brown toast, eggs and bacon with a few slices of pineapple for good measure) I realised how much lifting weights has changed my life.
When I was here 2 years ago I was never up before 7am; breakfast was multiple mini pastries and pancakes with syrup. (Just to clarify – I’ll still be having those pancakes and pastries at some point because they’re awesome, just not huge piles and not every day!).I started my weight loss journey the same was as many other girls do; I joined Slimming World and ‘weight loss’ programme on the cross trainer, always followed by some kind of 30 day challenge….how dull! After that stopped working, I moved onto the next stereotypical step – cutting out carbs. Thank God I’m over that stage, carbs = life!! Luckily a male friend in the gym introduced me to the weights area and I started some lifting. I attended a few bootcampy at the local strongman gym and realised I had found my calling. I had a few personal training sessions to get some decent workout programmes and one year on, I have dropped 10% body fat, competed in 2 novice strongman competitions and struggle going a day without getting to the gym! I have an awesome trainer and the best training partner in the world – my best friend!
As great as it sound, there has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way. I am fortunate that I am strong and confident, so entering a male dominated weights room was never a problem for me; I lift heavier weights than some of them anyway! That said, I know a lot of girls would be nervous at the thought of being in this situation. My advice here would be to get yourself a training partner and do it together – trust me, it will be worth it!
Unfortunately, you are always going to come across people who don’t understand why girls would want to lift weights. “Don’t get too big” is something I hear all the time. My arms are actually smaller that a lot of my friends who don’t life (when I’m not flexing…), they are just a different shape. You just have to ignore those comments. Unless you’re pumping yourself full of steroids you won’t get too big, and you most definitely won’t end up looking like a man. The second thing I always hear is “your muscles are gross!” and I have a friend that always says this to me. Basically, you just need to tell these people to fuck off! Responding that their physical appearance is disgusting is socially unacceptable (I said it once, the whole room went quiet…) so just ignore them.
“Don’t get too big” is something I hear all the time
Onto competing..! I love to compete because I love the buzz! I have been asked a few times if I would do bikini comps and my answer is always the same – no. I love food too much! Strongman competitions are great; you get to eat all day, push yourself as hard as you can and the buzz is like nothing else I have experienced before. The other aspect I love about strongman is the community. The support from the other competitors at comps is insane and something I have never seen before. Each competition as the NSF gym feels more like a group of people trying to hit PB’s together rather than being in direct competition.
Training isn’t just about getting big muscles and competing for me though, the effect it’s had on the rest of my life is huge. I recently moved house which was much easier now that I can carry heavy boxes, and I can run around with the kids for longer as I’m far healthier and fitter than I have been before (I do cardio every day but we don’t need to talk about that…). I’m just all round happier with myself.
Also, I have an amazing bum…you don’t get that following a rubbish programme on the cross trainer and not eating carbs!
Being a beginner is scary but everyone has to start somewhere. Surround yourself with a strong lifting community – even if it’s not real life, connect with people on social media. Everyone is so friendly that people are normally happy to give advice on anything. Lifting is now my life. I have made so many friends through training and it has changed me so much!