by GRACE HUGHES in Tabata Times
1. Strength training has not turned me into the Incredible Hulk.
When I started this training, I was worried that my physique would become big and bulky. I thought that I was already quite strong. But I found out pretty quickly that I had a lot of work to do! Now I can push up, pull-up and plank with more ease than I ever thought possible. I’m definitely stronger and leaner, but not stockier than I was before. Plus, my trainers and fellow classmates have educated me on the benefits of good nutrition, so I’m eating more healthily than ever. (Well…most of the time, anyway.)
2. Strength training is not dangerous.
I was nervous when I started this kind of training. I figured that I was bound to damage my back or strain muscles when lifting weights or doing chin-ups. Not so. With the right instruction from great trainers I’ve managed to avoid any serious injuries since I started. If I have a little niggle, my trainers will show me some exercises to help iron out any pain.
3. Strength training is not scary.
When I first started, I was pretty frightened by the intimidating athletes in the classes. They all seemed to speak a language I didn’t understand, as they flexed their muscles and performed the exercises effortlessly. But, over time, I’ve enjoyed getting to know a great bunch of people and becoming more comfortable in the classes. Now part of the fun of my training is catching with my friends and sharing tips and ideas on health and fitness.
I’ve always been a runner, and I’ve found that strength and conditioning training has improved my performance as an athlete. I’m more agile, I have stronger legs, and I have a greater ability to push through pain. I also recently started practicing yoga after a long hiatus. My core is much, much stronger and my balance is greatly improved. I’m loving yoga as a complement to my training — both to stretch the muscles and to calm my mind and body.
5. Strength training makes me feel strong on the inside.
Over the last two years, I’ve pushed my body beyond its limits. I’ve taken on physical challenges. I’ve raced against myself. Somehow, after a tough workout, I feel that I can take on whatever the world throws at me. Work stresses. Commuting hell. Endless to-do lists. No hassle to a girl who’s just done burpees, push-ups and pull-ups at 6:00 am!
I read an article recently about the idea of “practicing fitness,” just like you would practice yoga or pilates — embarking on a life-long journey of discovery and fitness without failures or an end point. Continuously learning, improving, fine-tuning, falling and getting back up again. That’s the wonderful journey I’m on.