Lift, baby, lift

Dear Team Flyer,

Here is part two of Emily’s lifting (and uplifting) story! Be sure to check out part one right here. And let the good times and good lifting roll!

How to Lift Like a Queen (continued)

Lifting helped me realize how incredible my body was, which in turn made me want to help heal it and take care of it to the best of my ability. It helped me realize how nutrition plays such a key role in our lives; how important stress, hydration, and sleep are. It really made me do a 180 and start to take care of myself for the first time in my life.

I couldn’t lift well that day if I didn’t eat enough.

I couldn’t lift well tomorrow if I didn’t sleep well tonight.

I didn’t want to hurt myself or my goals by not taking care of me.

Lifting really made me love exercise again because I was no longer punishing myself, but rather celebrating what my body was capable of! 

It was no longer about the number on the scale, but rather the number on the barbell. 

I saw my body for this powerful and capable machine and not for how much I weighed or how many calories I could burn that day. I no longer loathed going to the gym. 

I didn’t eat less so I could be less; I ate more, so I could lift more.

If you’re struggling with body image or self-confidence, try lifting. Especially if you feel like you’ll never love yourself or the body you were given… because that was me. I really didn’t know if lifting would help my problems, but I just had to try. You just have to try. But, you have to try safely.

GET EDUCATED

Lifting can be very dangerous if not done properly. Don’t just show up and start throwing weights around town! Do your research. There are so many YouTube videos, articles, heck even documentaries on lifting. Make sure you know what you’re doing before you enter those gym doors! Also, be sure you’re not mimicking your boyfriend’s routine.

While learning from my boyfriend was super helpful, he was also aware that I was a girl, I was smaller, and less experienced, therefore, I needed a program geared towards me and my starting point/goals. What helped me was loving to learn it all! I just dove in and wanted to know what movements to do to target this muscle or how to get the most of this workout, etc.

You can find tons of programs online, but make sure you’re comfortable with and knowledgeable about the movements involved. The last thing you want to do is injure your body when this whole journey is about healing and celebrating it!

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My favorite resources for women and lifting are here!

BodyBuilding.com – This is much more for the gal who REALLY wants to dive into lifting. BodyBuiliding.com is packed with information regarding programming, nutrition, tips and tricks for recovery, safety videos on how to properly lift, etc. They have tons of incredible research and information.

Shape.com – 4 Week Women’s Lifting Program Shape is more for the girl who is wanting something a little less intense! I use Shape.com workouts all the time if I am looking for something that may take a little less time or is more simplistic in the movements and intensity! A great website to find articles on women and lifting, as well as, tons of meal ideas for the lifting gal!

BreakingMuscle.com – Another great resource for women and lifting! BreakingMuscle is geared towards helping women break the stereotype that weights will make you bulky or unattractive, when in reality, they will make you a strong, confident machine:) This website also has tons of nutritional guidelines on how to properly fuel if you are a lifting girl!

Do not overdo it.

This one was hard for me. I had come from sweating like a mad woman for hours on the treadmill to lifting 4 times a week and doing barely any cardio. I had this stigma in my mind that if I wasn’t sweating and running for days, that I would see no progress in myself. I found the opposite to be true. Lifting weights is really hard on your body in a great way! What I mean is that you burn a lot more and you will see greater results by doing just enough. Don’t overdo it.

You’re going to be really sore when you first start lifting, so don’t go in there and deadlift 200 lbs. your first day! Start slow and steady and give yourself time to see how your body will react and recover. Even if you feel like the workout or the weights are too easy at first, give it time. You can always increase the weights, reps, or intensity later, but lifting weights is a whole new ball game compared to walking on the stair master, so go easy at first.

Do not compare yourself.

There are a million and one ways that you can get into lifting. You may decide you want to solely focus on your legs and booty. You may decide you want to take a more power-lifting approach and really work on squatting, dead-lifting, and benching.

You may decide you want to do a lot of reps at lower weights verses less reps at a heavier weight. Whatever you decide is what works for you and your goals, and that’s what matters! Don’t compare yourself to how others look or what they’re doing in the gym.

Their health and fitness journey does not concern you, so don’t let it derail you! Focus on your aspirations, your workouts, what makes you happy and what you enjoy to do! Everyone starts in a different place and has a different end, so focus on your gym path and not the paths of others.

Do not cheat yourself

Eat enough

This was easily the hardest thing for me. I didn’t want to eat. I definitely didn’t want to eat more! But, I had too. I had to fuel my body. I wanted to recover; I wanted to really get good at lifting. I wanted to see all my hard work pay off. I wanted to show off my progress. I had to eat and I had to eat more.

This is where I cannot stress enough that you MUST get educated. You need to be eating sufficient calories consistently and making sure you are getting the proper macro-nutrients (fats, carbs, and proteins) and the proper micro-nutrients, as well. Don’t think you can eat 1000 calories every day and lift for 2 hours. You can’t and don’t allow yourself to do so.

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Lifting requires energy, energy is food, and ultimately, I never felt or looked better than when I started eating properly, lifting properly, and stressing about cardio, calories, fat, and sweat way less!

Sleep More and Stress Less

Make sure you’re getting ENOUGH and QUALITY sleep. This is the vital time when your body is rebuilding and recovering. Also, make sure you’re managing your stress. When it comes to lifting or taking care of yourself in general, stress plays a huge role in well-being!

You’re way more likely to get injured or to take twice as long to recover from a workout when you’re stressed out, so learn to manage your stress as best as you can and get that good night’s rest! 

Rest enough

I know we already talked about sleep, however, when I say ‘rest enough’ I mean ‘don’t push it’ and ‘take care of yourself. If you’re feeling insanely sore and lifting this weight hurts you, stop. Everyone recovers differently and at their own pace, so especially in the beginning rest enough and be kind to your body.

If you feel like you can only do half of the workout today, then only do half or if you’re really feeling like a nap this afternoon, take a nap. When starting any new fitness routine, you have to give your body time to adjust so make sure you are resting properly to recover fully!

Drink enough

You need to hydrate especially if you’re a sweaty gal like me when you work out! Make sure you’re drinking enough water in and out of the gym to help with recovery and digestion in your body!

Do not quit. 

Building muscle takes a long time. That’s why when women tell me they’re concerned with being ‘bulky’ I almost want to laugh because it would take YEARS to ever be ‘bulky’ and even then it most likely would not be possible. Women’s genetics don’t want us to look like a man and lifting won’t change your genetics.

If anything, lifting will make you look lean and strong, but even that attainable goal takes a long time! Keep going. You may feel sore, you may feel discouraged, you may feel silly, keep lifting anyway. Results that are worth it take time. That’s what makes it hard, if it were easy then everyone would be doing it. It’s not easy and it is worth it.

Now go and lift like the beautiful, strong, capable, and inspiring queen you already are <3

I hope this helps you begin to see your body in a new light the same way it did for me:) Strong, capable, powerful, and above all else, undeniably beautiful and worth taking care of!

Sincerely,

XO Emily

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