Growing up I never considered myself to be a ‘natural athlete’; I was outdoorsy, and spent a fair amount of time kayaking, hiking and camping with my family but I was always a little on the chubby side. One summer in high-school I went on a kayak-camping trip with my mom and sister, (most of which I spent maybe half the time kayaking (if that) and the other being deadweight while my mom paddled) and during that trip I wrote in my journal that I wanted to take up running when I got home and get more into sports… That lasted for a week? maybe two? before I quickly gave it up and went back to my old ways.
Had someone told me then that by the time I graduated university I would have competed at 2 World Championships and 5 National Championship for Ultimate Frisbee, 3 National level Cheerleading competitions and would be a competitive Crossfitter and Olympic Weightlifter I would have told them they were nuts (or had the wrong person). But 9 years later that is exactly where I am.
Admittedly my brother and sister had to force me out of the car at those first Ulimate Frisbee tryouts (I was so terrified of embarrassing myself), but I made the team and haven’t looked back since. Did I have to make sacrifices? Yes. Miss out on parties because I had practice the next day? Oh yea. Do I regret any of it? No. Each and every moment of it, every early morning practice, every party I couldn’t go to was worth it for that amazing competitive feeling of being completely and utterly alive.
That being said, I realize a lot of people don’t want to be competitive but that doesn’t mean they should follow a completely different training philosophy when exercising. An effective training program will target your weaknesses, improve your strengths and teach you the mental toughness to push yourself when it it gets hard (both inside and outside the gym). But more importantly exercise should be fun, something you look forward to doing because otherwise sooner or later you’ll stop showing up.
… Do I think everybody should lift weights? challenge themselves to learn new movements/exercises? and train at high intensities? Hell yes they should. Whether you’re a high level athlete and or an ‘average every day person’ who wants to get into better shape will benefit from constantly varied, high intensity functional movements. The difference should be in the level of training intensity and amount of weights lifted rather than the type of exercise itself. Weighted squats, deadlifts and shoulder presses aren’t only useful inside the gym, those movements translate over pretty well to the real world (how else could we get up off a chair, pick something up from the floor, or lift heavy objects to put them over our heads?)
Most people (myself included) find the idea of about starting a new activity intimidating – fear of the unknown, of looking silly or not being good enough – but we shouldn’t let that stop us. No one is perfect at something from the get go – remember we all crawled before we could walk (and before that we just sat there are drooling) – but with practice those once unfamiliar movements will become easy and effortless and we will become faster, stronger and more aware of our capabilities.
Since I got involved with Crossfit and Olympic Weightlifting I’ve started to see the benefits of strength training and how it transfers over to activities outside of the gym in a way that doing strictly cardio never did. But more importantly through Crossfit I have met some of the most attractive, confident and self-accepting individuals that I have ever had the privilege to get to know by surrounding myself with people like this I’ve learned that
Westside Barbell Certified Crossfit Powerlifting Trainer
Crossfit Level 1 Certified Coach
CSEP Certified Personal Trainer
NCCP Assistant Coach in Training
Standard First Aid/CPR/AED Level C