I was a chubby kid, with almost non-existing ability to do any kind of physical activities (mostly due to psychological reasons more so than physical). The word Gym was putting the fear of God in me! I hated it, well rather I was afraid of it. For me it was just another opportunity for people to make fun of my subpar running, jumping and squatting skills. It felt like I was stuck because I wanted to go and do sports, I wanted to try new things and maybe show my friends that I was actually pretty bomb at basketball.
But I was too scared to look clumsy or what if, omg, I couldn’t do it all together?! I was also worried that playing a typically male – dominated sport like basketball will make me look even less feminine. So I never even gave it a serious try. This will be a tendency I will stick to in the future when it came up to sports.
Actually, it wasn’t up until a couple of years ago when I timidly decided to dip my toes into the gym pool. I started slowly. First, it was Zumba. I figured I can’t do much failing with something that was a lot like dancing. As is turned out I liked it and it made me want to try something else. So I went a step further. I started doing cardio. Surprisingly it wasn’t as impossible for me as I thought to go through 30 min of running on the treadmill (not saying it was fun, but I could do it). I was starting to gain confidence. I remember looking at my gym’s schedule and all the courses they had.
You know how they color the classes in different colors depending on how difficult they are? I had started with my light pink Zumba square and I had worked my way up to dark pink and HIT Cardio. I was feeling good and proud as I should have been. The dark pink courses were not easy. But I figured – well, cardio is all I need to lose weight, so I was good. I did not even look at the blue squares that had Body Bar workout written all over them. Nope.
I have seen the class and it looked like a bunch of women sweating their buns off doing squats and lifting weights. In my head I was thinking – well I am already big enough with my broad shoulders and bulky thighs; I definitely don’t need muscles too. Therefore I immediately decided that I would hate it. I had enough trouble lifting myself; I did not need to lift additional 10- 15 kilos while I was exercising. So I promptly acted like the blue squares did not exist. No, weights for me, thank you very much.
Well, as it happened one day I went to the wrong class. Imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw all those bars and weights. I was sweating before I have even started exercising. But I was already there so I decide to give Body Bar a go. After the class, I was almost expecting to grow some muscles and become even bigger on the spot. In all honesty, on the back of my mind I had this voice telling me “Yeah, but didn’t you feel powerful, strong and healthy why you were lifting the barbell?” And after I was able to catch my breath I concluded that I actually did have fun doing those exercises.
It felt good, that I was able to go through the “DARK blue- colored class” and crush it! I tried something new in the gym, something intimidating and I was actually not that bad at it. It was important to know though – will this kind of exercises actually help me on my weight loss journey? Where weights good for me? So I asked the instructor and what she told me was a surprise: MUSCLES BURN FAT. Yes. That is correct. See, I figured (after I did some reading) that by doing only aerobic exercises you lose fat, but your muscles go with it as well. Yes, the scales are showing less, but it does not mean that you necessarily look better. My research told me that lifting weights increases your metabolism. This means you burn through calories faster even when you are not moving.
But the point of this post is not to tell you what positive effects, incorporating weights and barbells could have on your body because frankly, I am not a bodybuilder or an instructor. My advice on this would be to consult with a specialist. The reason I am writing this though is to let you know that you should never shy from a certain kind of exercise in the gym, just because you are bigger and you feel like you will look silly or incapable. I get it. I know it is not easy to forget that 15-year-old girl in gym class that could never do her 60 crunches or runs those 300 meters. Well, guess what – you are a grown woman and you are capable of anything.
I also know that lifting weights over your head that make you look like a powerlifter is not cute and you are probably afraid you will look even less feminine. But I promise you that the moment you try it, you will see that it is quite the opposite. You will feel strong, even more motivated. So my advice to all plus size girls here will be – lift those weights, baby. Show them who is the boss and don’t be afraid to look powerful. After all, as Beyonce said – “who rules the world? Girls, girls.” and you will need those hard-earned muscles for that.