Tag: women’s strength training

Be Strong and Courageous

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The Deception

There is a negative force in all of us, and in the World, that teaches us to be weak. It says that we can’t do it. Some believe that this “voice” is the voice of negative parenting or some other authority figure in our pasts. I don’t know the secular origins of these thoughts, but I know that we are all influenced by them. I grieve every day watching people struggle, living so far below their potential. They believe that they “can’t”. Oh, nothing could be farther from the Truth. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. Very few of us have any idea of our strength. If we did, the “bad guys” would be rendered powerless. If we did, disease would not reign over us because we would live a different kind of life. If we did, we would work harder and longer. If we did, we would be in control of our lives. We would not be the victim of every evil ever imagined on the face of the Earth. We would be the Victor.

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Physical Strength

When we say that someone is strong, we are making a comparison to other people’s strength and abilities. As best as can be observed by scientists, allowing for differences in variables such as climate, diet and age, a man walking on a level road can walk 30 miles in a day. If this man weighs 150 pounds, he has expended the amount of strength that would be necessary to move 23,760,000 pounds 1 foot in 1 minute. (1) Our physical strength is much greater than most of us can imagine. We were designed to survive. We are not fragile organisms at the mercy of any other force. Where our physical strength stops, our intellect starts. We were designed to rule the Earth. That is not possible for a weak organism. Remember that the next time you’re faced with a difficult task.

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Mental Strength

In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural pathways are formed every second. (2) Can you see how we are designed to cope and survive? So often I see people who are just quick to give up. When you encounter mental difficulty, do not quit and stop trying. Push. You have untapped potential. Your brain, regardless of your assumed abilities, is more capable than you have discovered. An interesting thing that I have observed is that some animals do amazing things that humans would not even attempt when faced with a task of similar difficulty. The difference is that the animal never considers that it can’t. It only knows that it must. We should learn a lesson from them. Have you ever felt like you had no strength but went ahead and worked out anyway? Some of those times you will have the best workout of your life. You may set Personal Records that surprise you . That negative voice in your head will always try to hold you back. Use common sense, but if the task at hand is something that needs to be done, odds are, you can do it.

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Emotional Strength

Emotional strength is the ability to manage and grow through life’s challenges. (3) Patience, optimism, resilience, gratitude and confidence are emotional strengths. These traits decrease our chances of experiencing anxiety and depression which are known destroyers of physical and mental health. They lower our stress level which can impair immunity. They strengthen relationships which improves immunity. Even if you believe yourself to be emotionally weak, look back at some of the most trying times of your life. You survived. Again, you are much stronger than you know. Most of you have already survived life events where the odds were against your survival, but after a season of grief, you carried on. Life goes on. Life continues. Even though you felt like you could not live through that event, you did. Right now some of you are experiencing the worst days of your life to date and you can survive them even if you don’t want to right now. I heard something years ago that helped me put some things in perspective. “I thought that I was on rock bottom and I heard a voice say, “Get off of me!” ” There are times that I have to say, “Hmmm…it could be worse.” Although there are events that make you wonder if that is true, it usually is. I am an American and we are so spoiled in this great Country. If you are American, please don’t complain too loudly. Most likely you have never been too hungry for too long and I daresay, you could always access water. There are places with no clean water. Be grateful for your Blessings. Be patient with those who struggle. Tomorrow it may be you. Always remember, “This too will pass.” My Mother who suffered with poor health and the chronic pain of crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis always said that. She was right. Knowing that even the worst of times are temporary can alleviate a lot of anxiety. While looking at the bright side of optimism can be a difficult task, it is a beacon in the darkness that can guide you home, safe, grounded and breathing through the most difficult times. Optimism creates resilience that enables you to grow and flourish through life’s uncertain days.

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Confidence

Self-confidence is probably the most important emotional strength that you can acquire. When we “trust ourselves’, we not only attempt what others won’t, we do what others can’t do. During devastating events and circumstances, instead of giving up, we are constantly reformulating our game plan because we “know that we can do it.” While this trait is critical in every area of our lives, it comes to play strongly in strength training. When I first began training, I was weak. Although I worked for a major weight loss company, I was losing muscle and strength fast because I was spending a lot of time on the road and missing workouts. When David presented me with the programming necessary to build strength I assumed that I could do it. I never doubted, even though this kind of lifting is formidable. Heavy lifting is just that, heavy. It pushes you to your limit. As I adapted and grew, my confidence soared as my physical strength increased. Learning to step up to the challenge taught me that I am capable of anything. In a heavy squat, I learned that all I have to do is stand up. That’s how life’s battles are. We may be on the ground when the weight hits us but when we engage our muscles and exercise our strengths, we can stand up. Whether you are a strength trainer or not, the same is true for you. Just stand up. If you are lacking in confidence, working to improve it will make you more aware of your God-given strengths and abilities and make you more aware that you can survive the hard times.

1-Visualize the outcome that you want and work towards that end.

2-Affirm yourself, pat yourself on the back. Give yourself that “Atta Boy!” for every small step that you make towards realizing your potential.

3-Stretch your limits every day. When presented with a difficult task, don’t back down. As Nike says, “Just Do It!”

4-Question your inner critic. When that voice says you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t, answer that you can, will and should.

5-Make arrangements for success. Sometimes this is so simple and it’s something that we frequently overlook. I have been working out in the same batch of workout clothes for 2 1/2 years. Those clothes made me feel frumpy and hindered me mentally. In heavy lifting, your mind is everything. “Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will.”-(unknown). Yesterday I bought serious workout clothes that will cause me to work harder to wear them well. Make provision for success. I have my gym equipment in my basement so I don’t have an excuse to skip workouts. I have had people say, “Oh, I don’t have that kind of money.” Really? I’m the sole supporter in my household on an L.P.N. income. I put my money into what builds my confidence. I don’t eat out except on RARE occasion. I don’t buy clothes that I don’t need. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. I put my money into my health and welfare. Use your resources to build your life, not destroy it.

6-Above all, in order to build your confidence, take care of yourself. You will be more confident in a healthy body. If you need to make sweeping life changes to live your best life, do it. I made radical changes in March of 2018, escaping a terrible life situation and becoming my own best self-advocate and have never looked back. You are the only one who can create the body and life in which you want to live. This is an ongoing process. Constantly look for ways to improve your health and your life. Unless you test your strengths, you will always think that you are weak.

You are stronger than you know.

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(1) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/human-strength/

(2) https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/brain-architecture/

(3) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-pregnant-pause/201901/understanding-your-emotional-strengths

Lessons of the Iron

When I first got my inspiration to write about continuing to push through a weight loss plateau, I wondered if that was enough to write about and then I realized, that’s only one lesson of the Iron. The weight loss plateau is only one of thousands of difficulties that the Iron helps me to overcome. When I first began my journey with the Iron, my first question was, “How long will this take?” My wise trainer hesitated and kindly responded, “The rest of your life.” Thank you, David, that truth has sustained me and caused me to push when it’s hard, damn hard.

The weight loss plateau responds to the same tactics that the Front Squat responds to, diligence to pursue the goal regardless of everything else. It doesn’t matter if I feel like it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hard thing to do. The Goal is everything. The Goal is all. The method that I use to get there doesn’t have to be pretty or comfortable. The truth is, lofty goals are hard fought and harder won. How many people find a hard fight fun or comfortable? Very few, I would imagine, but we all want to win. We all want what we want. Those of us who are willing to persevere when it’s hard are the ones who will be victorious.

When I first began lifting I had some pretty quick “Newbie Gains”. It’s encouraging and it makes you feel like a “Lifter”, but when the progress slows and you’re struggling and fighting for every quarter pound gain, you will know whether or not you really are a Lifter. I found myself doing what a lot of folks do. stopping short on my squat. I was fighting the weight all the way to the floor, trying to control the descent. All that got me was an uncommitted squat, you know, the kind where you look at your video and think, “Wow, I should be lower.” We do that in everything. We take on a difficult task and do it pretty well but don’t go all in. You can do that but you will never get what you came for, in the squat or on the job or on a weight loss program or a relationship or anything else. It’s all or nothing if you want all it’s got to offer. I have learned to give it up to gravity, drop like a rock, don’t fight the process and then…all I have to do is get up. It works for everything, go all in and get what you came for and be strengthened. You will get up stronger.

I know people who hack around, doing all kinds of random resistance training and say that they lift but really don’t have the strength or the appearance of a lifter. Again, they are not committed to pushing and pressing through hard times. When it gets really hard, they do something else. Sometimes they will quit squatting or deadlifting and do the newest, dumbest, trendiest thing that they saw on YouTube or at their gym. God, if I see one more video of a trainer having someone squat on a ball while struggling to hold onto a barbell I think I’ll scream. The first thing that you need to understand is respect for the weight, it is relentless. Don’t do stupid stuff. Have an established program and stick with it through the hard times.At David’s Way we promote the idea, “Live to lift another day.” While lifting can be done safely, it requires forethought and diligence to safety and form. While our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, they are not indestructible. Respect the Iron. Speaking of form…

The day that I finally gave it up to gravity on my Front Squat and let it drop me was one of the happiest days of my life. Believe me, that’s saying a lot. I am 63 and live a full life. I grew up during the pursuit of happiness of the hippie era. I was a little young for some of it but that just made me more determined to experience my share of the good times and I did. I have traveled a bit, I have a son, I work three jobs, I write, I enjoy my dogs and am always up for a laugh. The day that I squatted below parallel on my front squat was still one of the best days of my life. Conquering that fear of descent changed my entire life. I knew that if I could trust myself to handle that weight, I could trust myself to handle anything. It was hard. I have learned to embrace hard things. The Iron has taught me that. Almost every worthy pursuit in life is hard. If we only do easy things, we won’t reach our full potential. The Iron makes me grow, muscle hypertrophy and mind hypertrophy. You gotta love it.

Living David’s Way, eating a low carb, (NOT keto), high protein, nutritionally dense diet and working out hard requires me to eat ENOUGH. Yes, now I am always concerned about eating enough. I have been a size 22. I have been 60 pounds overweight at my heaviest. I always had to worry about eating too much because I ate sugar and other simple carbs that contained too many calories and provided little to no nutrition. I was always hungry and craving something else. I was never satisfied. Now my biggest nutritional concern is making sure to get in all my calories before the day is over. I cannot lift if I don’t eat enough calories. Every bite that I eat is nutritionally dense and I have no cravings and rarely get hungry. I see food as fuel that is created to make me healthy and strong and by eating nutritionally dense foods, it does. I am finally free of the perpetual sadness that a “Dieter” lives with, I am not deprived. I am nourished.

There are many situations that we face in life where we can’t see the end of the journey. In order to reach our destination, it’s mandatory that we just trust the process. We get on the interstate and trust those road signs that tell us how far it is to our destination. We can’t see the destination, but we know it’s there. We trust the interstate system. The journey of The Iron is the same. I know that my destination is there. I know the shape and appearance of the body that I am furiously pursuing. I know the perfect form and ease of motion that awaits me. I know the strength and confidence that this journey brings. I just have to trust the process. The Iron has made good on every promise. It will continue to deliver as long as I trust it. My confidence and self-esteem is formidable. The Iron has made it so. I have made changes in my life that some people find astounding since I began this journey. Instead of “winding down”, I am “winding up”.

I almost never go to the doctor because I don’t remember the last time that I was sick. I take absolutely no medications. The financial impact of this alone is staggering. Good nutrition and The Iron is my first medical insurance. I don’t remember the last time that I needed the other kind. I spend my money on things that I want, not things that I have to have to stay alive. Neither of my parents had good health. My dad developed cardiac issues early in life and my mother was always sick. My good health is not genetic. It is choice.

Our choices are the most powerful tool that we have to create a healthy life. Every moment of every day we make choices. What would happen if you always made the choice for health? I challenge you, try it and see. Before beginning any weight management or exercise program, always have your doctor’s permission.

I love this hex bar for deadlifting. I use this one right now. https://amzn.to/2r2umcZ