Even though I go to crossfit now, I still feel like kind of a loner when I'm lifting. Sure, cross fit does some heavy lifts, but I have been practicing starting strength since July and have been making some slow gains. I go to my local YMCA to do my lifts and often feel like some kind of pariah down in that dank room with all the men. I practice pushups, pull-ups, turkish gets up, kettlebell swings, cleans, push-jerks, presses, various barbell squats, and deadlifts. Lately I'm stalling on my squats, and a trainer there swears it's me psyching myself out. I will keep it up, but wish I knew more girls so I had someone to relate to.
I want to hear from some ladies to get some motivation! How'd you start lifting? Tell me about your routines, struggles, and successes!
asked bypwitty (145)
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on April 01, 2013
at 12:22 AM
Hey. I started heavy lifting over the past 2 years or so. I come from a fairly serious running (40-50 mi/wk) background - however, I'd say my exercise regimen has become much more moderate over time. I happen to think that starting strength is a great starting point. I will say that I think it's mostly geared towards those (I'd wager mostly men) looking to bulk, but it doesn't have to be.
I now like to train more seasonally. I started with following Rippotoe's 3 days a week, 3x5 program - squats, deads, bench, press, power cleans. I do this during the winter and don't really run - maybe a few miles here and there. From what you are writing, all of those exercises are good, but they are not starting strength per se and may detract from making gains on your core lifts. Personally, I'm okay with that, but you should just be aware you won't progress as quickly if you add other stuff. At this point, I also do pulls, dips, push-ups and some assistance/conditioning work - but, then, it's not strictly "starting strength" either. I've stopped progressing linearly at this point, so I vary my programming to include lower and higher intensity days. With starting strength, which, even with the heavy lifts, is still fairly high volume, I've added a bit more lean muscle/a few pounds over the course of a few months. Now, I've continued to maintain and increase gains on slightly higher intensity programming (fewer sets/reps heavier weights) and maintain my overall weight. I should add "weight gain or loss" has never been my goal - just to improve fitness and strength, though I have improved overall lean muscle mass/fat mass ratio.
Also, I have found it to be particularly helpful to include a "deloading" week ever 4-6 weeks. I believe Rip recommends an 8-12 week cycle, but it's helpful for me to go easy (75% or so) more frequently (YMMV).
Now that it's getting to be spring here, I will probably want to go play outside more - run, hike, bike, etc, in which case I will probably decrease my lifting intensity.
on April 01, 2013
at 12:19 AM
I started lifting with my rugby coach in college, moved on to globo-gym in college doing the same thing on my own, and finally found Crossfit. My box had a definite strength bias, and the owner had lots of olympic lifting experience, so I fell into that for a while. I loved it! I've also been through Wendler 5-3-1 cycles, etc. I do more Crossfit these days, but the strength lifts are always my favorite.
I think most of what I wanted to say is that I love out-lifting other girls at my Crossfit, and when I lift elsewhere, I am totally fine with gym bums thinking I'm a badass. (I'm also pretty small in stature, so I think it's especially surprising when I can lift something heavy.) I used to be intimidated by other weightlifters, but now that I know what I'm doing, I just don't care. I'm also a bit of a weightlifting evangelist--whenever the SAD-eating, out of shape women at work complain about how terrible the treadmill is, I tell them "do some squats!" Being strong is a godsend for metabolism. They have no idea. (Also, running sucks.) In fact, aside from the rugby, my main motivator for working out used to be so that I could eat more. Now I guess that's just a given :)
on March 31, 2013
at 08:13 PM
It all started when I was anorexic. As the number on the scale went down, the number on the barbell/kettlebell/what-have-you had to go up or else I had failed. Back in those glorious days, I did primarily isolated movements like bicep curls. Suffice to say, I never gained much strength. Fast forward until I was hospitalized, and the treatment program had a sort of "exercise as reward" set-up. You get to a certain percentage of your ideal body weight, and you're allowed to stretch under supervision. Get to a higher percent, and you can walk for ten minutes at 3 miles per hour. The final progressions were "weight-lifting" with three and then five pound dumbells. I still laugh to this day.
Anyway, after I was discharged, I maintained my weight, which allowed me to return to my compulsive exercise regime. Cue chronic cardio. I did this while eating the diet love child of paleo/primal and conventional wisdom: nothing but chicken breasts and vegetables. After months of eating those foods at home, I mustered up the courage to eat those same foods at a restaurant (progress!). The restaurant I went to happened to be next to a crossfit, and, naturally, anything remotely exercise-raelated piqued my interest. So then I started crossfit, ate paleo, and lived happily ever after.
LOL NOPE. I got stronger, sure, but I also got overtraining syndrome. I felt weak and mediocre for struggling to do what I used to do for hours a day and for weeks on end. I don't have a success story. What I do have is this need for balance and moderation???the bane of my existence???because I know that not destroying myself physically keeps be in a better state mentally. Besides, I'm no longer on the verge of death, and I guess that's at least an improvement.
on April 01, 2013
at 05:00 AM
I started lifting almost two years ago. I had already starting eating paleo, and walking 5 miles a day. I had lost quite a bit of weight, but had more to go. At first, I felt very conspicuous. I was over forty, fat, and female. It was definitely a boys club. Most pointedly ignored me. Some were a bit rude. But whenever I felt out of place, I would remember that my daughter was 10lb 7oz when I had her. Vaginally. With no meds. So screw it, I'm tough as hell.
Now I outlift many of the men. I am strong, and extremely proud of that. And I hope that more of the women at my gym start lifting heavier.
I pyramid my workouts, and I do 2-3 days a week. I still walk, and ride a bike. I eat well.