Today we live in a society which accepts people and their diversities. Women are not frowned on for lifting weights, age is not seen as a barrier, and body positivity is encouraged no matter what shape or size you are.
Despite this, positive change, mental health issues, and depression are widespread and health complications due to obesity are common. Olympic Weightlifting has helped me manage my weight, depression, anxiety, and low body confidence and it can help you too.
When I started Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit, I was 12 stone 8, unhappy, depressed, and I hated my body. Within 2 months of starting, I lost over a stone in weight, gained muscle, and I was generally more body positive. I started to love my body for what it could do, not just the way it looked. Not only did I see physical changes, but my mental attitude and mental health began to alter. I became happier, more confident, and looked forward to every day.
You are Never too Old
Olympic Weightlifting is completely inclusive and no matter what age you are you can give it a go. My mum (aged 52), my dad (aged 58), and even my Nan (aged 79) partake in Olympic Weightlifting and CrossFit. Weightlifting improves your flexibility, core strength, and muscle density which can all be extremely important for the older generation. Participation has a direct link to a reduction in falls and multiple health benefits.
You are Never too Unfit
Let me tell you about my incredible sister. She is one of my biggest inspirations. Plus she is an inspiration to so many people struggling with obesity, depression, and mental health issues. In 2016 my sister hit an all-time low and became suicidal. This was due to a number of factors including depression, obesity, and her struggles with bipolar disorder. In 2017 I devised a plan to steadily introduce her to Olympic Weightlifting and I managed to persuade her to join me in the gym.
She went from strength to strength. Over the next year and a half she lost 6.5 Stone, her mental health improved, and I can tell you now – she has never looked back. Today, me and my sister compete together as a team in many Olympic Weightlifting and CrossFit competions and we podium at many.
Not Enough Time?
I have an extremely hectic work life. I am a conveyancing and private client solicitor. Also, I have two gigantic dogs that require a lot of exercise. You can do a workout/technique session which is 45 minutes long and really feel the benefits. It will also give you a massive feeling of accomplishment. I get asked on a daily basis why, after working long hours as a solicitor I would go to the gym/garage and lift weights. The simple answer is because I enjoy it, it’s now a hobby, it keeps me healthy.
It also coincides with me meeting friends. Really what else am I going to do when I get home apart from sit and watch someone else’s life on Television instead of living my own? I know many people struggle to fit exercise in due to family commitments and children. But I truly believe if you want it enough, if you want to see change, you will make time. How many of you spend more than 45 minutes a day looking at your phone?
Body Image, Body Positivity, and Role Models
The body positivity movement is all over social media at the moment and I think it is great but I think it focuses too much on the way we look and not enough on what our incredible bodies can do! I can lift more than 90KG over my head and I can squat 145KG whilst weighing only 64KG (10 stone) myself and nowadays I really don’t care if I don’t look pretty doing it or if some men don’t find it attractive. Picture this, if I got attacked in the street I would most likely be able to pick up the attacker and throw them over my head. I don’t know what you think but I think that’s pretty badass.
When I have children, I want them to look at me as a role model and be proud and inspired by the way I use my body as a tool to achieve amazing accomplishments. I want them to strive to do things and not just strive to look a certain way. I want them to be confident, courageous, and strong enough to achieve everything they want. Most of all I want them not to worry about what others think and be unapologetically happy the way they are.
The best thing is all you need to start is a broom stick! After learning the basics, again you don’t need a lot of equipment, an Olympic barbell and some weights plates will do, perfect additions to any garage gym.
I urge you to give it a go. You won’t look back and anyway, what have you got to lose?