Try something new: Weighlifting

Today I am covering weightlifting. I know lifting weights makes us women bulky and turns us green – but that aside from that there are one or two benefits. I’m not going to go over those benefits, I am simply going to bring you English teacher Claire Meynell’s experience of lifting weights as I think that’s a lot more fun!

So, Claire, why did you decide to start lifting weights?

I have always been fairly active – I used to play hockey when I was younger and before I had children. I belong to a local gym and have tried all sorts – running, spinning and so on. Last year I broke my foot and put on quite a bit of weight while I was off. I wanted to get back into the gym so started going again. After a while I was finding it a bit boring – I had a couple of online friends who lifted and thought I would like to give it a go. I asked a girl who was lifting in my local gym about who trained her and she pointed me in the direction of the club that I now go to!

Brilliant. So now you’ve started, outside of the sport itself, what other benefits does it offer you?

The club that I belong to is like a family – the place is much better when it’s lively and not quiet. There’s a genuine sense that everyone wants each other to do well – there are much more experienced lifters who coach some of us newbies from time to time and it’s great when everyone stops what they’re doing whilst someone else tries for a PB! I also can’t get any phone reception in the basement so I have to switch off and focus on the lifting rather than my life!

Sounds perfect, a supportive atmosphere is so important. Apart from the above – why should people give it a go?

Because you make such progress in such a short space of time for a start. There’s loads of information out there about how lifting heavy helps with bone density – especially in women over 40 so, if for no other reason, that’s definitely worth it! I haven’t ever experienced the kind of family feel in any other sport I’ve tried. And I don’t need to run anymore!

Not that there is anything wrong with running hehe! Now, you’ve convinced us that it’s a good idea to get started – how do people go about it?

You may find that your local gym offers lifting classes – my one didn’t really. Or see if there is a local club. I was really daunted when I first went to the basement but once you get over that ‘newbie’ feeling you really do start to feel a part of it. My trainer may kill me for saying this but it may also be worth checking out CrossFit classes in your area as that gives a mix of cardio, HIIT and lifting – these places may be a bit easier to find!

I think it’s natural to feel a bit daunted when starting anything new, but if everyone gave up at that stage we’d never get anything done – and like you sad, that feeling doesn’t last. Now, we’ve taken the brave first step – are there any key words or rules that a newbie would benefit from knowing so not to feel too silly?

I’m still learning! It’s worth watching the other people at the gym carefully – I have learned how to strip a bar properly and track my workouts through asking other members of the club for help. Racking your weights and keeping as tidy an area as possible is a courtesy as well as for health and safety. I know not to cross in front of other lifters when they are in the middle of a lift – there are all sorts of little bits of etiquette that you only really learn as you go. I would definitely advise you to go for it – and remember everyone in that gym was exactly where you were once – and you will get to where they are! I started off lifting 30Kg in a deadlift and I am now able to lift 85Kg (only once granted but still!)

Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your experience Claire.

If you are keen to start lifting as mentioned ask at your local gym / club or start at a smaller level in the gym or with a personal trainer and build it up from there. You are unlikely to regret it!



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