Sometimes people come into your life when you least expect it. These special people inspire you, support you, and encourage you to be the best version of yourself. When I met Angela, I thought I had just met myself through another person. I don't think we could be more similar if we tried. As my big in Chi Omega, Ang has showed me what it means to be determined, dedicated, and whole-hearted in everything that I do. I have learn countless lessons from her, and one of them is her stance on lifting. She somehow managed to sum up what my blog is all about- staying fit and not skinny. Does fit mean never touching a piece of junk food and running 10 miles a day? Absolutely not. It's about finding balance and Angela has a great story to tell about just that. So here I have for you a piece Ang wrote called "The Girl's Section." I hope you can get just as much out of it as I did:
“You’re going to look like a boy”, “You workout in the boy’s section?!”, “You might get bulky”. These are all common stereotypes of women who like to lift, and I’m guilty of once believing them. Recently this year, I realized that I wanted to cut back on my running and learn how to lift. I used to be a running addict. I ran my first half marathon last year, and continued to run because I loved it; AND I STILL LOVE TO RUN. But I took running to a whole new level. I started to have joint pain in my knees, felt very fatigued, and had a hard time doing my homework at the end of the day because I was so tired. I finally decided that I wanted to work out my body in a different way; I wanted to change it up. I called upon one of my guy friends who is in the power lifting club, and asked if he would give me a few pointers and workout with me for a couple months to show me the proper way to lift. I have been lifting with him for 2 and a half months, and I have nothing bad to say about it.
At first, I was nervous to go into the weight room. This is usually deemed as the “boy’s section”. I felt out of place and nervous to be lifting lighter than the rest of the guys. Over time, my confidence built up and I became proud of myself. My friend Ryan gave me so much encouragement and started me off with smaller weights to begin with. Now I have not only been increasing my weight, but also increasing my strength. I have never been happier with my body. I always thought running would burn fat and make me look fit, but I was wrong. Muscle outweighs fat. PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT! Over the past 2 and half months I have gained so much muscle that I can see the fat shedding off my body. I feel stronger, healthier, and mentally capable to keep pushing through. I actually enjoy going to the gym and look forward to doing new workouts. Before that, I would dread running 6 or 7 miles to then feel exhausted by the end. Now, I enter the gym excited to make gains and push myself to increase my weight. It’s one thing to say you’ll do it, but actually doing it is so rewarding. I’ve noticed muscle gain and I feel increasingly better by the end of the day.
So when girls say, “you workout in the boy’s section?” you need to say “NO, I workout in the girl’s section”. Girls can lift. I think it’s attractive. You won’t get bulky, you won’t get huge; you will get stronger. Lifting challenges you to be better than yourself and to push your limits. I’ve felt more satisfaction with lifting more than I ever did with running. I’m not saying cut running out, because you need cardio as well. I would say that I cut back my running from 7 days a week to about 3. AND, I will also say that I am more fit than I was before. I’m actually seeing abs form! Muscle is good.
As a dietetics major, I’ve learned a lot about nutrition and health in my four years. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize that muscle outweighs fat and that good carbohydrates are beneficial to this growth. With a balance of carbohydrates and protein, muscle will keep building. You can’t deprive yourself of the essential nutrients your body needs to grow. With lifting, I’ve noticed that I’m hungrier throughout the day; and that is OK! When you build muscle, your body will crave good carbohydrates and require essential fats and protein to keep building. I supply my body with healthy nutrients throughout each day to enhance the results from my workout. I feel accomplished and my body thanks me for that.
I’m very proud of my little, Grace Bruening, for starting this blog and letting me share my little story. I went through a similar path as her, always wanting to be skinny and have a perfect body image. I was completely wrong and didn’t treat my body correctly. There were times where I didn’t want to eat carbs or eat at all. That’s a problem—that’s a horrible problem and a horrible way to treat your body. I’m happy to say that I’ve overcome that feeling of always wanting to be thin. You need to find a perfect balance between diet and exercise and you’ll see results. I don’t want to be skinny; I want to be STRONGER and HEALTHIER. I encourage people to try lifting. You can still run, you can still bike, but pick up some weights… you won’t regret it. I’ve watched myself transform over the years and now I can’t stay away from the weight room!! Be confident in yourself. I didn’t realize how much I would like to lift before I actually had the courage to pick up the weights. I will always be a lover of running but if you’re like me and you are getting bored, try something new. I’ve never been happier!