Monday, July 27, 2015

What I really learned at my first powerlifting competition and why I may never do one again....

So, yesterday I made a blog post about my first powerlifting competition. In that posting, I spoke about in some detail about effing up my first lift and a PR in my deadlift. While both of those things are true, I realized that I learned so much more than the actual lifting would indicate. So this is what I really learned from my first powerlifting competition and why I may never do one again.

First and foremost, my biggest lesson was there ain’t no one that looks good in a singlet. It really is not a fashion statement. Not a good look for any one, unless you are a cute little eight or nine year girl or boy, then it might be kinda adorable, especially when you are hitting weights bigger than some of the adults I see at the gym. Yeah, for them, it might be a good look.

Second and most importantly, I realized again how I have a great support system. I just can’t thank the people that came out to support me enough as well as those that were cheering for me from afar. I love you guys. It is funny how support comes from places you never would have thought. In my case, I do have family that loves me and I know this. My husband, of course, is unrelenting in his support but with my family beyond that, we have not always been able to show love to each other. We come from a heritage of very stoic people. But the morning of the competition, two of my brothers messaged me that morning to wish me luck. I love that. One of my brothers said one of the most important things to me in the past month or so. That failure is measurement of the mind and success is measured in the heart. I need this to always stick with me because it is important to know that YOU and YOU alone get to measure your success. I long have thought, unless I measured up to the world’s idea of what a success story is, I could not declare that I was one. No more. I am a success story…I’m just not done writing it.

I also have neighbors and co-workers that have seen me in the worst shape of my life and cheered me on as I made the decision to change. I have walked many miles with some of them. I have traveled and camped with some of them. There have been many encouraging emails sent between us. With them, I now feel totally comfortable being me. Although many of them could not be at the competition, I still felt their presence. They are like family to me and I love them.

Then there was the simple act of buying living social deals that brought into my life some of the people that support me no matter what. Who knew that a five session kettlebell deal would turn into friendships that have transformed me in ways I never expected. At the time, I don’t even know what possessed me to sign up for the deal except I knew I need more challenge in my life. I didn’t even have an idea what a kettlebell was other than the 8 pound one I used at the gym with my first trainer. The women that I met via this class (which by the way I continued well beyond the living social deal) have been with me as I have pursued many goals. They have seen me climb to the top of buildings, around stadiums, and to the top of mountains. We have had fun times around a camp fire and the dining room table, in front of a canvas or craft table, and just being with each other. They have seen so many changes in my life. I can confidently say that without them I would NOT have been at the powerlifting competition. I would not have done any of the events I have done to date without the encouragement to do the first one. They saw in me the strong woman I did not know I could be. I love them more than they will ever comprehend.

And of course, there is my gym family. Many at the gym that I am at now do not know how far I have come but I am always surprised by how many do. This is another group that knew how strong I could be before I even realized it myself. I will always be thankful that they have not given up on me. If it weren’t for a 90 day challenge at the gym and surprisingly a spin class demo, I would never have discovered just how much I love lifting. We had just had the team fitness class demo the week before. I loved it but was not willing to spring for the extra fee for the class. Then the next week it was the spin class demo. They were going around showing people how to adjust their bikes. No one came to help me and I had no clue what I was doing. I was walking out, when Ben (the team fitness trainer) stopped me and asked where I was going. I was frustrated by the bike. He took me back in and showed me how to adjust the bike and I made it through the class. I sensed right away that he was someone who wouldn’t let people give up. I knew I needed someone like that helping me figure out the next steps in my fitness journey. I signed up for team fitness and never looked back. Ben also introduced me to my first personal trainer at this gym, who really helped me come out of my shell and actually start enjoying my time at the gym. The trainers at the gym helped me see the beauty of lifting heavy weights, to understand how to do lift without injury or too much stress on my body, and to push towards goals. I am so grateful for each and every one of them but in particular for the ones that I have worked with over the past two years.

The third lesson I learned by doing the powerlifting competition and why I may never do one again is that I love to lift. I want to lift because I love it. I want to perform a good squat because it’s a good squat and not because there is a rule in a competition to get to certain depth. I want to deadlift without being told I have to wear long socks (I hate long socks). I want to lift heavy but I want to do so in a way that I don’t hurt myself and not just to be better than someone else. I want to break PRs but when I do so, I don’t need to be in front of a bunch of people that don’t know me. I want to train because I want to be strong. I want to push myself to new limits because it is only in doing so that I can grow. Mostly I just want to lift because I love to lift. I love to see my body get stronger. I love to push myself to new heights and new goals.