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Monday, November 17, 2014

That's Right, I'm Mentally & Physically Challenged | Weight Training Postpartum

There are innumerable things I have wanted to blog about -from sharing pictures of Tennyson and the kids, our latest adventures, to cute and mundane things that make life sweet.
But let's talk about weights.
Big.  Heavy.  Manly weights.

I started to get to know them -weights, that is- last summer.  With Brian's guidance, I began a regimen of lifting after my runs.  It lasted about 6 weeks and then became mainly a mental challenge that I didn't have the energy for.

Cut to a few days after giving birth.
Brian asked, if I was up for it, if I'd like to start weight lifting routine.  (He knew I'd be doing something to work off the baby weight quickly, getting back into shape for acting.)  It would be strictly a weight training routine.  The plan was to eat normally -don't do anything strict, eat as much as I feel like- and lift.  A post-partum woman with some extra weight and not a lot of muscle is the perfect blank slate to see the results of lifting, it's effect on weight (fat) loss AND, most importantly, physique.  As I've always wanted a butt (and Santa hasn't ever delivered on the request) I agreed to be his guinea pig.

Let me tell ya, walking into Brian's home gym space, surrounded by weights and bars and mirrors (oh, the dreaded mirrors) I felt as out of place and awkward as a grown man in a little girl's ballet class.  Wearing a tutu.  And sparkly lip gloss.

There are a lot of mental barriers to overcome.  First, it's "boy stuff."  Heavy weights, straining, bulking up, yada yada yada.  I mean, we girls like step aerobics, yoga, jogging with friends -stuff that makes you feel like "Whew!  That sure raised my heart rate!  I mean, at least a little.  See, I'm *sweating* -time for a shower and a glass of wine.  Aaaaaaand some chocolate -because, well, estrogen and stuff."
So weight training is a TOTALLY different mentality.  And it feels like life and death.  The PUUUUSHING, the physical and mental challenge in short bursts.  It's intense, man!

So, feeling like I don't belong in the guys world of lifting AND it being such a different type of challenge, I realized something important: it's all in my head.

I had to convince myself that, yes indeed, Kelly Cameron belonged around weights.  Seriously, this I say to myself every time I walk into our home gym.  "This is my space, too.  RaaaAAAWWR!"

Secondly, I have to mentally psych myself up for lifting.  I used to do that for running -and, being honest, it took my a long time to build up to running past 1 mile, then 2 miles, etc.

Lifting is about mental strength, and I've been learning that this mental strength doesn't just stay in the gym, it translates to every other area of life.

Busting your personal records (PRs in the, ahem, lifting world,) conquering a heavy lift session -those are EMPOWERING experiences, girls!  Like on Friday when I was mentally stuck on pressing 35lbs (yes, yes, you read above that I have NO muscle tone) I was determined (and scared) to bump up to 40lbs.  But.  I.  DID IT!  And the confidence from that personal win has been resonating in my heart all weekend long.  "YES!  I CAN do it!"

It's easy for me to let various challenges in my life defeat me.  "I can't do it.  It's too haaaarrrd!"  Or "I don't know the answer, what should doooo?  I'm stuuuuuck."  Whining is not becoming, but it's so eeeeaaasy.  

Weight training, along with my new mantra "I take responsibility for today," are helping me develop the mental strength to conquer challenges in the gym, as a parent, a business owner and a woman.  Those little "I caaaan't"s that used to debilitate me, I can now squash those as I flex my budding biceps and -judo chop!- "I CAN," said wearing Ray-Bans, head angled slightly to the left, whisper-yelled like Jack Bauer.  Or Michael Keaton as cheesy Batman.

The other really rad thing about weight training is having Brian as my coach.
For one thing, he's SO good looking.  I mean, who doesn't want to have a hot personal trainer?!  Secondly, he's as encouraging as all get out.  Feeling so out of place and "weird" in the lifting culture, I seriously feel like the old dude in the tutu and lip gloss surrounded by preschool ballerinas who are rocking their pirouettes.  And it doesn't even dawn on Brian that (snear) "Hey, sissy girl!  You're WIMPY!  You don't belong in a gym!  Go back to step aerobics!" Instead, we now have a shared activity (and every good marriage needs at least one shared activity, right?  That's what the books say.)  He's teaching me something, and I'm growing -physically and mentally.

And what melts me even more is that all the while as Brian's encouraging me, sharing his 25 years of lifting knowledge, he's holding our baby.  That, to me, spells the ultimate support.
Hot Trainer+Good Dad+Encouraging Husband = JACKPOT!

Though it's only been 3 weeks of regular lifting, I'm greatly encouraged as I'm pressed to reach new challenges in an area I never thought I could enter.  Ideally, I'd like to have the goal of lifting (almost exclusively) for the next year to see just how much I can develop.  Sticking with that will be a huge mental challenge, but I'd like to think that I CAN conquer it.

Here's to the challenge.  

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