I love to weight train. Some people that ‘don’t understand‘ ask me why… Why do I love to weight train as (one of my many modes of) exercise? I think women mostly ask this question because they tend to avoid that mode of exercise like the plague for fear of becoming too pumped up or manly looking. I tend to turn inward when someone tells me these things and have a little chuckle to myself (I’ve tried the route of informing them of the truth in the past only to be shot down and shut up, so have kind of given up imposing the truth on non-believers who have decided that’s their truth). I think a lot of women also think that the activity itself of lifting heavy things in a sweaty gym is not a lady-like thing to be doing, or if they do decide to lift weights should be using the petite equipment in the “ladies area” at the very most. I personally LOVE to weight train, lift heavy things and push and test myself and my limits. If I do happen to be doing it at the gym (which isn’t often, as I do most of my training in my home set-up), I avoid the ladies area (it makes me a little nuts because its far too delicate for me with its little pink plastic dumbbells and weird machines to target just your thighs) and stay with the big boys in the free-weights section.
I find that weight training does many things for me from the physical, right through to the mental and emotional.
First of all, I love a challenge, especially a physical one. I’m a very Type-A personality and if I can’t do something 100% I really don’t want to do it at all, so when I weight train, I go as hard as I can. I find a lot of internal personal satisfaction from going hard, being good at it and having the body to back that up.
While I am doing the actual training, I don’t think anyone can argue with what endorphins do for you mentally, but I also get some truly great physical sensations that I’ve become addicted to as well. That tight feeling my skin gets when experiencing the ‘pump‘ is a major rush for me. Nothing is better than feeling like your muscles are going to rip out of your skin! There’s also the “burn” I feel while I’m doing my reps, as lactic acid builds up in my muscles from the heavy workload. I LOVE IT! Also, when I train, I try to hit failure as much as possible (the kind of failure where your muscle actually gives out on you, not the kind where you stop because it burns). When I do hit failure it is immediately frustration-inducing if I haven’t gotten all my reps in. I’m a pretty competitive girl so if I feel like my body is giving out on what my brain wants to do, I find I’m immediately competing with myself and pushing to get those weights up regardless of failure. So, at that point failure sucks. But after I get over my little internal hissy-fit having hit failure is awesome and I feel great that I pumped until I reached it!
So, if you think endorphins are addictive, try the pump and the burn! Try failure! I dare you! I sometimes refer to my training sessions as “beating the hell out of myself“. I go for the pump, the burn and for failure and always wind up with the endorphin rush as my reward! But, boy am I beat at the end of it. Sweat and calluses have become my personal badges of glory!
But wait! The fun doesn’t stop there!!! The next day brings some fun physical sensations, too. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is the kind of good pain I love, the pain that tells me my muscles did some real work and are now recovering and readying for the next onslaught I’ll bring it (likely the day after that). It’s the kind of pain that tells me I’ve actually accomplished something the day before and am moving forward in my training goals and progress and it makes me feel excited.
As far as the emotional goes, I get an enormous sense of pride from weight training. Every day at the end of a training session I walk away proud that I worked up a good sweat and got those heavy weights up again, proud that I’m doing such great stuff for my overall health and well-being. The day I decide the weights I’m working with are getting too easy and jack up the weight is definitely a day of extra pride for me. The stronger I get, the prouder I get. As well, there is nothing better for defining muscle than weight training. So, when I’m looking in the mirror at my well-defined arms, legs and (yes, I have them) abs, I’m feeling a lot of pride then, too. The more defined and lean my physique gets, the prouder I get of myself.
So, at least for me, there is nothing better than a good weight-training session (and I’m talking to you here too, ladies) to accomplish a lot of different goals not only physically but mentally as well.