Prior to my birth, my dad competed in Olympic-style weightlifting, and he continued to lift as a hobby for many years after. Growing up, our garage walls were covered in posters of hairy men demonstrating proper technique for the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. (Could they have come up with dirtier names?) And at one point or another, all of my immediate family has engaged in some form of weightlifting. Perhaps it’s our short stature and resulting low center of gravity, but in some ways I feel like this sport is in our blood.
I’ve bounced in and out of gyms over the years, never staying as true to the sport as I would have liked. Too often, I’ve allowed my eating disorder to thwart my attempts at a better me. Recently, however, I decided to incorporate some light lifts and bodyweight exercises back into my routine, and I am so glad I did.
No other activity has ever proven as effective in increasing not only my physical strength but mental endurance and feelings of hope and empowerment. When I am able to turn my attention to fitness and health, my brain’s idea of the “perfect body” quickly changes from pale and skeletal to toned and rosy. Lifting is not always the most pleasant activity (oh god, squats…), but I’ve found there’s nothing like cranking my music to 11 and busting out a few sets of deadlifts to make me feel seriously badass.