GIRLS CAN LIFT

A Dainty Diary of Lifting


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The Death of King Ego

I have spent the better part of this week chasing off a chest cold, and on Tuesday all I wanted to do was lie in bed with my man servant bringing me an endless supply of chicken noodle soup. Unfortunately I live in the real world and I’d promised to teach someone how to deadlift. This particular pupil is the self-appointed “King of the Gym”, despite the fact that he has only been hitting the gym for the past year and has yet to perform a single squat or deadlift.  The very fact that someone is so self-deluded that they can vocalize this thought is both hilarious and definitive proof that his ego is larger than the ocean.

I didn’t think it was even possible to contain that much self-absorption in my tiny commercial gym. Then again the more time I spend lifting, the more I wonder whether lifting causes an ego pump. Everything I’ve ever read by an internet tough guy suggests that’s the case. And it’s not as though Mr. King of Gym is uncontested. There are guys at my gym who spend the majority of their workout ‘mirin their own ability to flex: pulling up their shorts to show-off their quads, looking in the mirror for every single tricep push-down and curl, flashing the double bicep and side chest poses and then perfecting their duck face. Ladies, you can quit feeling self-conscious in the weight room. Trust me, most of these guys won’t even register your existence.

Maybe that’s a little harsh. King Ego was actually a pretty good student; he obviously knew he was out of his depth when it came to deadlifting, and he listened to the feedback that we were giving him on his form. If he was able to set his ego aside for an hour, then why am I ranting about it on the internet?

Looking back, I think there is a touch of irony in the fact that I resolved to be more confident in 2013. Is my self-confidence really lacking? Even though I can’t work up the moxie to go on a date and even though I doubt my ability to put up numbers until I’ve actually done so, there is a recurring scenario which would suggest that I am in possession of an inflated ego. You see, there are not many dudes in my gym who squat or deadlift. But when someone – a regular or a resolutioner – steps into the rack beside me, I inevitably feel the need to engage in an unspoken battle of one-upsmanship. I need to prove to all of the guys at my gym that I am simply stronger and therefore better than them. And my dick is longer. That’s certainly not the attitude of someone who lacks confidence. It’s just plain arrogance, so you can just call me “Queen Ego”.

If all those bodybuilding bros are guilty of being self-absorbed, then so am I. And this verdict is certainly not news to me. I am a very competitive person by nature. Sometimes a competitive spirit is beneficial. When I see girls who are lighter than me putting up bigger numbers, I use their strength as motivation to work a little harder. Part of the reason I workout with  a team once a week is because I never feel like I can let myself stagnate or fail when others are watching. Strong people make me want to be stronger, plain and simple.

Yet, on the list of things that will make me stronger, “ego” doesn’t even merit an honourable mention. What do I need?

 

  • Consistent and smart training
  • Balanced nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Motivation
  • Support

That’s all. And letting my ego dictate my training is neither consistent nor smart. Strong people make me want to be stronger, but why do I feel the need to prove myself to weak resolutioners who will vanish in three weeks time? Why does it matter if 105-lb girl who’s been training twice as long as I have can lift five pounds more? It doesn’t. I need to remember that what matters is that I push myself to do what I know I can do, and then improve on that. What matters is being able to put up big numbers at meets, when it really counts. And it certainly will matter if I try to push myself beyond my limits and injure myself, all for a little ego boost.

And so, I do hereby renounce my title as Queen Ego – and not just because the King is openly gay.


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Missed Texas Method Intensity Day: 260×4

Something good happened this week: I finally went on a decent run. I ran 5K in a Kenyan time of 35:40. Not my fastest time ever, but since I’ve done almost no running in the past 6 months, I consider running a continuous 5K a huge first step.

But a lot of not so good things happened this week. I’m feeling sick, tired and overworked this week and I’m trying to run on a caloric deficit. Let’s add my first squat failure on Texas Method to this giant pile of suck.

Honestly, I’m feeling so beat right now that I’m not sure whether I’m pissed or just sad that I missed this, since 255×5 felt so easy last week. I’m leaning towards switching to triples next week so that this isn’t technically a failure. Then I’ll ride out my triple progression as long as I can before taking a reset.

Or I’ll just take up marathon training and wallow in self-pity over my failure to squat. Just kidding. Ain’t gonna happen.


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This is not a post about my New Year’s resolutions

This post does not contain any New Year’s resolutions. I can prove it. Today is January 4th. I would have posted on the 1st if they truly were my resolutions, see?

In principle I support the idea of resolutioners. I started New Rules of Lifting for Women on January 4th – which means that the first time I set foot in the weight room was a year ago today. I stuck with it and made a positive change in my life. I encourage other people to do the same, especially when getting started is the hardest part. I still think that first squat with the empty bar felt like the heaviest squat I’ve ever done. So if other people start their journey at the beginning of a new year, I certainly cannot fault them. But that doesn’t mean I can’t complain about the fact that my otherwise quiet gym is overrun and I feel like I’m playing Resolutioner Bingo every time I go to workout.

  • B5: Shirtless dude.
  • I27: “Running before weights is the best way to lose weight.”
  • Free Space: Someone’s mom tells me I’m going to hurt my back deadlifting.
  • G51: A gentleman using the flat bench for something other than its intended purpose nearly decapitates himself.
  • O74: Old women in the locker room talking about how they just want to lose 10 lbs, but they ate pancakes for breakfast.

B-I-N-G-O!

What do I win? More importantly, where do all of these resolutioners leave me? Am I forever branded as a resolutioner? I can’t exactly “resolve” to get fitter if I’m already doing that day in and day out, can I? And do I really want to become just another person who gets punched off with a bingo dabber? Not really. I mean, I had this big list and a blog post all ready. It was called “13 Goals for 2013” – see, they weren’t even resolutions, they were goals. Weight loss and fitness related goals that looked and felt like resolutions but were most assuredly not resolutions.

So, why am I ignoring all of my “goals” only four days into the New Year? Well for starters, I may have accidentally leaked some of my goals to the press. When people who are much smarter and stronger than myself heard about my resolutions goals, they very kindly told me that I was an overambitious idiot who was setting 5-year goals for a 1-year time frame. Then, I read a bunch of articles that confirmed my suspicion that resolutions are actually kind of stupid  and you shouldn’t make them. At that point, I had to take a step back and re-evaluate my definitely-not-resolutions-that-were-maybe-sort-of-resolutions.

To quote myself, “I can’t exactly “resolve” to get fitter if I’m already doing that day in and day out” and even if it takes me 10-years to achieve my goals, they won’t change. When I do reach those goals, I’ll set new goals. If I don’t reach those goals by December 31st but I made progress towards them, I won’t beat myself up – I’ll just continue working towards them. In that sense, I know I’m no longer a resolutioner because I know that what I want to change doesn’t change with the clock.

But there are still things in my life that need to change. If I’m going to make a New Year’s resolution, I don’t need to be hung up on my monster squat. I need to worry about the person who exists outside of the weightroom. I’ve expounded before on how lifting has improved my life, making me more confident changing how I see my body. In that sense, I’m just a statistic because people are beginning to take note that girls who rock the weightroom improve their lives. But lately I’ve been feeling like I live my life as two separate people: one at the gym and one everywhere else. When I’m in a squat rack I feel like I’m can conquer anything because I know how to squat and I can move a lot of weight. I’m equal to all of the guys in at my gym. But outside of the weightroom, I still feel like the same old me – who needs to be making New Year’s resolutions to be less stupid, fat and lazy. I feel like society is always telling me that overweight people are somehow less than people – and I’m included that group. And sometimes those voices are the loudest voices in my head, yelling unless it almost seems like it’s true. Where is that girl who deadlifts twice her bodyweight when I need her to convince me that I’m awesome? I’d really like to carry her with me all of the time.

Fitness-related goals are easy in a sense. They’re hard work, but it’s easy to set measurable indicators of your goals and progress. How do I set a measurable goal of improving my self confidence? I don’t know the answer to that, but I resolve to figure it out this year.