Is Powerlifter strength applicable in a fight
training »Strength training
Sundried Ambassador Emma Ludlow is a powerlifter and tells us how this has changed her life.
Some think it's amazing, but others are confused. "But you're not big," they might say. Or "that's a little scary."
Unfortunately, the myth persists that lifting heavy women turns into hulks. At 56kg, I'm proof that weight training won't look like the cover model on a bodybuilding magazine.
I started weight training around eight years ago. I had done a few kettlebell workouts at my local gym and was impressed with the tone and strength it gave me in a short amount of time. Training with a barbell seemed a natural progression. I was the only woman in the weights room, so I trusted blogs and online tutorials to teach me the basics of lifting, as well as a few personal workouts. This started an obsession that resulted in me becoming a personal trainer.
I was always too scared to go to powerlifting competitions even though the weights I lifted in the gym attracted attention. Other lifters encouraged me to compete, but I worried that I would lower myself. Then, about a year ago, I decided to go for it. I needed a new training goal and decided it was time to show everyone what I could do.
Related:The Benefits Of Weight Training
My first competition was a southeast regional one. I was nervous and made some mistakes, but got away with a bronze. However, after dropping a weight class and getting into the powerlifting rules, I started winning gold. I finished 4th in the British Championships last year and I'm preparing for the same regional competition that I made my debut in. I hope I can duplicate last year's performance.
Powerlifting training takes time and dedication. I hit the gym four times a week and when I prepare for a competition I keep pushing for better numbers. My diet is not restrictive, but I do need lots of protein for muscle growth and repair and natural carbohydrates for energy. I watch my weight around competition time as I'm on the high end for my weight class.
But every effort I've put into powerlifting has brought many rewards. Weight training and following a healthy lifestyle not only changed my appearance, it changed my life. It has helped me adopt a determined and positive attitude that permeates everything I do.
When my only goal was to stay lean, it was simply a matter of working off the pizza or cookies that I shouldn't have been eating. I would spend hours on the elliptical machine and not walk until I burned enough of that day's meal. For all that work, I saw little change in my body shape. My weight didn't budge and my body fat percentage was average.
Don't get me wrong, cardio has its place in any fitness routine, but my fixation on burning calories turned me into a hamster on a wheel. There was zero indulgence in the lonely hours on the elliptical machine. Exercise was a punishment for overeating.
Since the discovery of weight training, the gym has been a place where I feel empowered. Although my weight is still 56kg, my body fat percentage has halved from 26% to 13%. I looked my Boyish Physique transformation into a female hourglass figure, building shoulders and legs that an athlete would be proud of.
I've also achieved masterpieces that I never thought possible. A few years ago I was working on my first suit, now I can make 15. When I started working on my deadly lift technique with an empty barbell, I never imagined that I could lift over twice my body weight. These accomplishments are proof that hard work pays and rewards focus and consistency. In a stressful, fast-paced world where I sometimes feel like I'm pulling against the tide, it's easy to lose track of that.
Strength training has also completely changed me. I used to waste so much energy hating my body, comparing myself to other women, and feeling inadequate. I had a mini internal fight every time I put something in my mouth. Now I no longer look enviously at other women's bodies. When I see an athletic woman, I am inspired by her commitment. When I prepare a meal, I eat to nourish, repair, and fuel my body. The guilt is gone.
Lifting weights has enabled me to feel positive and energetic. Benefits that go way beyond looks. The basics of weight training are simple, and it's an activity anyone can do, regardless of age, skill, or fitness. All you need is a willingness to learn and a commitment to meet your health and fitness goals. Being consistent is the key to life changing results.
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