Winter. Cold, grey and the perfect breading ground for goals going out the window. Recently, a good friend of mine made a call out for a winter challenge to keep our heart, soul and mind warm over the next few cold months. Those damn winter blues are a killer, and it is so easy to fall into a couch filled, comfort food frenzy. Winter suuuuucks (unless you’re a ski/snowboard fuelled person). And those grey, cold days can play havoc on your happy summer brain. But – we can make it through!
Here are a few tips and tricks to help push through the next winter months.
Keep active. Probably the most important one to keep a fresh mind. A gym membership can be so helpful if you can’t get outside on those rainy days, but if the gym ain’t your thing, get active inside. You can find some GREAT workouts on youtube – 30mins daily is all you need.
Get outside. On those brief moments you have some clear skies – take advantage and get outside. Some fresh air and open space is all your body craves sometimes!
Stretch and breeeeeath. I have found so much solitude in regular stretch and breath sessions. Once again youtube is totally your friend to find some motivation and ideas from some beginner yoga. Or just go with your body, move where it wants to move and find your winter zen flow.
Speak! Keep up regular contact with those people that fill your soul. Talk out any blues your feeling and laugh laugh laugh!
Be warm. Don’t suffer being cold. My house is pretty chilly, but all it takes is a few blankets and a hot water bottle and I am toasty warm. Nothing beats snuggling up with a good movie on the couch on a winter evening. Warm toes means a warm heart – so keep your tootsies toasty!
Keep up with your affirmations. If you’ve been slipping with telling yourself how wonderful you are – write it down and stick it on your bathroom mirror! Even on those cold mornings you’ll find that burst of happiness.
Food. Ohhhh it’s so easy to eat all of the comfort food to help warm your cold cold toes through winter. But it’s not gonna help in the long run. Keep up your veges, your healthy snacks and regular eating…and then when you do indulge – enjoy every minute of it.
Winter doesn’t have to be dreary and cold – you can still make HUGE progress on your goals. So don’t give up!
What are your tips for getting through the winter months?
So you’ve decided to start. You’ve decided to add some exercise into your daily life, and become the healthiest you. What now? Let’s find that routine!
CONGRATS! You’ve made the best decision. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gym, or you’re wanting to get active in your neighbourhood – whatever it is, you’ve done it.
At the end of last year, hubby and I packed up our lives and moved back to my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. The move was a big step towards our goals and was absolutely so exciting to get back with my family and friends. We quit our jobs (and I said goodbye to my 5 hour commute) sold/gave away and dumped about 85% of our things, said some very tearful goodbyes and started a brand new life in New Zealand.
Routine was something I relied on very much back in Aussie. I would be on the train at 5am to go to work, get home from work at 7.30, and go straight to the gym, and then home for dinner and bed. Monday – Friday this was my routine. It wasn’t the best way to live, but it was what was needed to get to NZ, and get to our goals.
I think for any gym/life/body goals to be met, routine needs to be in place. Routines give a purpose, keep your driven and help YOU know when and how these goals will be met.
So what happens when you need to start a routine – what do you do? How do you put one in place that you know you will stick to?
Since moving to NZ my routine has been very, ummm, relaxed (to say the least). My husband and I are very much enjoying the unemployed life, and having been taking each day as it comes (to be honest I wasn’t actually sure what day it even was this morning).
But, this can’t last for ever and very soon we will both be back in the working life, and a routine will need to be set. I’ve got some pretty big goals I wanna hit this year with my lifting (helllooooooo World Championships) so I need to be hitting my training.
These are my main suggestions for starting a routine that you CAN and WILL stick too.
Decide the best time each day to work out. You don’t HAVE to be up at 6am on a Monday morning to workout, if you know that doesn’t work for you. Maybe you finish work at 3pm on a Tuesday and don’t have to pick the kids up until 5.30. Maybe you meet your friend across the road from a park for brunch every Saturday and you’re always meaning to go for a walk before brunch each week. Find your spaces each day and write in your workout dates – and don’t think it needs to be a 7 day thing – work in your rest days as well, if Wednesday is your busiest day, don’t force in a pump class at 4am if that’s not your thing.
Unfortunately, this is the hard one. DO IT. It will be hard, and some days you will feel like you’re forcing yourself to do it, but think about that end goal and get out there!
Don’t beat yourself up! Life is busy sometimes – family stuff, work, friends, parties – it will all get in the way, the most important this is to not let one missed workout ruin the routine.
The first few weeks are the hardest – find your support crew, find the people who are going to keep you accountable – and let them help.
Enjoy it. This is such an exciting time, and keep some variety in your life! Try out that spin class, try run for a few moments during your walk, or increase your weights. Just make sure you are enjoying it!
Pretty soon, it will all be as normal as your morning coffee!
There comes a time when you really just have to say enough. For the last year and a half I have been doing a very insane commute, 2.5hrs into work and then 2.5hrs back home again. Many have called me insane. But in about 7 weeks’ time that is all going to change, I have handed in my notice and it’s time to get back to a normal lifestyle. A new job and hopefully 8 hours sleep at night.
This morning I realised just how desperate I am for sleep. Normally I have an alarm that wakes me up just before my train stop in the morning. This morning I slept right through it. I went all the way to the end of the line – which is about another 4 stops past mine, and then came back into the city. I woke up just before the train was pulling into my station again. I was absolutely out to it. Didn’t hear a thing.
I am SO looking forward to not being tired. I’m so looking forward to being able to get up in the morning and go for a walk, and then eat breakfast at home. I’m looking forward to having some ME time that isn’t surrounded by 20 odd strangers. I’m looking forward to spending some more time with my fiancé. SO MUCH to look forward to!
Not enough sleep has a TERRIBLE impact on the body. For me, the biggest impact has been on my adrenal system. Cortisol is the stress hormone, it looks after your bodies reactions to everyday stresses. You cortisol is at its highest in the morning, when you wake up, to get you started for the day. There is an increase of up to 50% 20 – 30mins after wakening – this is known as the “cortisol wakening response” As you go through your day your cortisol naturally decreases, allowing you to keep a regular sleeping pattern and fall asleep at night.
When you are stressed, your adrenal glands secrete cortisol which can result in a rise in blood pressure, glucose levels, heart rate etc and you are meant to return back to normal after a period of time. When you are in Adrenal fatigue, your body is constantly secreting cortisol in a state of stress, and never really returns to normal. And after a while, your body can’t produce enough cortisol – bringing on fatigue, lack of enthusiasm and a general “burnt out” feeling.
You can imagine what this can do for someone who is trying to also lose weight. NOT MUCH.
One of the major signs adrenal fatigue which I have really noticed, is at night. I am SO sleepy in the afternoons, I wake up enough to smash through my training sessions, and then I head home. I get home pretty tired, cook dinner, and then BOOM 11pm hits and I am AWAKE. Getting to sleep is a mission, and then it all starts over again the next day. It’s rough. So get your sleep people.
I set some goals last month to help keep me focused during the lead up to Nationals, and one of those goals was to be in bed by 11pm. Rest is key to recovery and bigger lifts! I’m doing well so far!
Thanks to my amazing coach Mark, I have the most amazing program taking me through into Nationals. I’m actually pretty damn lucky when it comes to trainers. Mark is constantly answering my questions, explaining things over and over again, re writing my eating plans when I don’t understand, and is generally just an awesome human.
Thanks to his expertise, I’m feeling stronger every session, and can really see some massive potential in my lifts. I’ve just gotta put the work in now. No excuses. I’m really working to get a minimum of 5 hours in the gym each week and smashing through my strength sessions. I WANT to be the best. I WANT to lift the heaviest. I KNOW I’ve got it in me.
A lot of people ask me how I do it. How I manage to get myself to the gym every day after work, and where I find the strength to then lift such huge weights. As I’ve said before…passion is a huge part of what gets me through. I LOVE lifting, I LOVE talking about it, watching it, thinking about it. My poor work colleagues get the run down every day after my sessions. I’m not sure I could do what I do without the passion.
This Friday my fiancé and I are heading back to NZ for a holiday. I’ve got 3 weddings over the week, and we are going to take some much needed time out together. We get married in 8 weeks, and still have a bit to organise! I WON’T be taking a break from training. If anything I’ll be training harder than ever as I will have a bit of time! I’m really looking forward to hitting some Christchurch gyms!
Final bit of exciting news for thegirlwholifts. PRORAW7 invite!! ProRaw is a yearly event – where the best of the best compete, and I got an invite. SO SO SO HAPPY!
Cardio is my friend. Cardio is my friend. Cardio is my friend. *repeat till you believe it*
This journey has been breaking itself down into chapters. Different challenges that have hit, that have changed the direction I’ve moved in, so a bit of a shuffle has been needed. The latest challenge has been one of the toughest.
After the last comp, I was on a bit of a high – I became complacent, and not so strict on things I should’ve been and as a result I found myself in a bit of a funk – the scales were tipping way higher than I want, and it sent me into a bit of an emotional spiral. I TRY so hard not to let my weight get the better of me, and measure my success in other ways, but sometimes it just beats me down.
I don’t like being in a funk. I lose all motivation, and come up with the most incredible excuses as to why continuing the behaviour is ok. The behaviour that started me on this journey in the first place. When I look back at what I’ve done this year – I can’t help but be proud, but this funk was going to let me throw it all away. I missed gym sessions, I was eating takeout again, snacking on candy, and not following my eating plan. And of course – my body responded the only way it knew how.
Enter my trainer Mark, from El Nino Strength and Fitness. He gave me a bit of tough love, a new eating plan and a whole heap of cardio. No no, I’m not converting to running, just low weight/high reps instead of high weight/low reps. The snap back I needed. Get my body thinking right again. I’m really not much of a fan of doing more than 5 reps of anything – so 10 – 15 is a challenge (I know my other loco warriors will understand) but we’re getting there and I am enjoying the new training. I decided to pull out of the push/pull comp – so I won’t be competing again till next year, so there is heaps of time to get things back on track.
I don’t like talking much about what I eat. As I’ve said before, I’m a HUGE emotional eater, and always the first to go when I get happy/sad/have feelings. But I thought I’d give you a bit of an insight to what my day consists of.
I always start the day with Magnesium, B vitamins and Omega – helps with the headaches, stress and keeping my body fit and healthy.
Breakfast – Green smoothie first thing (5.30am), followed by 2 hardboiled eggs when I get to work (8.30am)
Snack – some nuts and a coffee
Lunch – chicken or tuna and salad with ½ avocado
Snack – Banana
Post workout protein shake
Dinner – Salmon and Salad
Solid, and easy to follow. And so far has been pretty good. I’m very lucky to have one of my besties along the ride with me. I would seriously suggest finding a buddy who you can txt/call when you’re feeling like you’re going to crack. This chick has some serious will power, and it’s given me so much motivation watching how mentally strong she is. Together we are fighting through the sugar cravings, and both have some awesome goals we are working towards.
So that’s it. I’ve got my end of the year goal set – and I’m determined to hit it.
My mum came to visit me over the weekend, which was bliss. I must admit, I do miss my mum a bit. She’s a bit crazy, but when it comes down to it has some of the best advice, and with my wedding coming up, I needed some Mum time. We tried on wedding dresses, talked about centre pieces and placemats, and it was perfect. She’s left me in a pretty good place, and I’m looking forward to powering through the rest of this year. We went on some big walks, and talked about where I’m heading with all aspects of my life. It was very very much needed – so thanks Mum.
SO – with Christmas (and my bday) coming up, I really really have to push myself to stay on track. NO EXCUSES!!
Keep up the exercise, don’t lose the motivation or the routine
Start each day with a solid breakfast
Don’t go overboard! Enjoy the treats, but don’t go crazy!
How are you getting through the silly season? I’d love your tips.
Apologies for the silence. It’s been a solid month and I am SO excited to finally sit down and write about it all.
Sunday the 12th October I competed in the GPC Sydney cup at PTC Sydney and WHAT a day it was. This was my first professional comp, so leading into it, I was pretty nervous…and questioning my own capabilities. What if I just wasn’t tough enough? I seem to expect a lot of myself with my lifting – which isn’t really something I’ve done with anything else…ever. I REALLY want to be able to be the best I can be. It’s a drive I’ve never had before, and I really, really love it. But, of course, doubt was playing up – what if I hadn’t trained enough, what if I fall over (seriously a big worry of mine) what if it’s just not good enough? Lucky for me I have a pretty good sidekick who keeps me on the straight – my fiancé. Every time I would start questioning myself this guy reminds me WHY I’m doing this – coz I LOVE it. It’s got nothing to do with how much, or how good…I just love it. Both he and my coach are constantly reminding me to “have fun with it” which seems to kick me back to where I need to be, and when I’m having fun, I get the drive to lift heavier – so LOVE it I will!
In the weeks leading up, I had a few technical issues with my squats. They just weren’t deep enough. Now for those that don’t know the rules of powerlifting: in a squat the crease of your hips when you squat down need to be just below your knees – and for short chubby legs like mine, I was having issues. But a few technical changes a few days out managed to sort it and I went in feeling pretty confident.
The day itself flew through. PTC really know how to organise a comp. It flowed so well, and the spotters were epic. Big thanks to the guys there.
First up was squat – I opened with 125kgs – which was already 10kgs up from my last comp pb. Powered through. 2nd attempt was 130kgs, which I smashed and I finished up with final squat and new pb of 140kgs. The day was starting off well.
Bench – not my strongest, but I am certainly getting there. I had a number (70kgs) I wanted to hit in comp and I just had my mind on that. 1st lift was 67.5 (5kg up from last comp pb), 2nd lift was 72.5kg – which I smashed (well not really, but I got it up) 3rd attempt was a 75kg, which I was red lighted (failed) Just didn’t have the strength.
Deadlift – was not my strongest deadlifting day. Had a few technical difficulties which I’ve never really come across – but overall I’m happy with my lifts. My best lift was 175kgs (5kgs up from last comp pb). My 3rd attempt was 185 but was red lighted due to technicalities – but I got it up, so I know I’ve got the strength, just gotta work on technique a bit more (BOOM)
Over all I finished with a total of 385.5 which put me in 1st place in my weight range – and best of all…7th in Australia under GPC.
Yep – that’s right. 7th . In. Australia. How does that even happen??? Oh yeah…hard work and a whole heap of determination!
So what now? Rest, reassess, and start the prep for the next comp. I’m hooked on this – completely. Once again – big thanks to my coach Mark Nino at El Nino Strength and Fitness. Such a superstar. By the looks of things, I’ll be competing again in December at the GPC push/pull comp, which is bench and deadlift only. So lots and lots of work on my bench over the next 6 weeks – definitely got my eye on the 80kgs. Deadlift – 200kgs is next. I can feel it in my bones.
During this process, it’s really thrown me back to a time when I was convinced NOTHING like this would ever be possible. I’ve been riddled with back injuries since a very young age. At 12 years old, I was tripped up playing rugby and that was that. I was told sport was completely out of the question until the stress fracture I had endured had healed – before then I was a very keen netball and basketball player (I don’t know if I was very good, but I enjoyed it) and then that was it – over. Over my years at highschool I was in and out of physio trying to find an answer to the crippling pain I seemed to have. At 17, I was hit by a car and broke my femur – and this just threw me back to square one. After a lot of physio I’d think it was fine, get back into some exercise and it would all come crashing down. In the end I just gave up. I was even told it was in my head, and I just needed to toughen up. Turns out all I needed to do was start lifting I’ve never felt as strong as what I do now. A good coach is seriously the best thing you can get when recovering from injury. I am SO unbelievably lucky to have the support I do – from all over the world. My fam back home in NZ, my best mate over in London and my fam here all can’t believe how far I’ve come since those days. I know my Dad is stoked – I don’t think his facebook has ever been updated so much as when I’m competing.
It’s a nice feeling being proud of yourself – like actually 100% freaking STOKED. Let’s get more of this going around!
If someone tried telling me 12 months ago that I would go to the gym and deadlift 153kgs through 5 sets of 3 reps, I would have laughed hysterically in their face. But last week – I did it. Actually. It was actually the hardest thing I have ever done in my life (I’m not even exaggerating) but the feeling of satisfaction afterwards was totally worth it. Tonight, I did 10 sets of 10 at 95kgs.
My dad txt me this after my monster session last week…
”The pain will go, but the medals will stay”
And he’s totally right (but don’t ever tell him that). All the pain, sore muscles and sweat will all go away…but those PBs, feeling of satisfaction (and hopefully one day medals) will be mine for ever.
My Dad is one of my mentors. He’s really put my mind on the straight and narrow about deciding what I want from life. Not what I think I should want, what I actually want. He’s part of the reason this blog is even here. He’s been helping me quite a bit on the work/life/fun balance, which is something that I struggle with daily. How much is too much? Of any of them?
My life at the moment consists of 5 things. On the train to work, at work, at the gym, on the train home from work and then going to bed. That’s it, and unfortunately something had to give otherwise I was going to go crazy. I don’t consider this life a good balance, and it was really getting to me. So starting last week I’m now spending 3 nights a week in the city. Not only do I not have to get up at 4.30am, but I have a bit more time for me. I don’t have to rush off after the gym, I can cook a nice dinner, and hopefully set up some skype sessions with my best friend in London. And my gosh it has made a difference. My headaches have gone, I’m less stressed, that foggy run down feeling has gone, and I’m just generally feeling better. My doctor was actually at the point of putting me on a low dose of an anti-depressant to help with the headaches, so I’m SO glad I’ve found a cure. It also meant that I got more quality time with my lovely fiancé over the weekend, coz we weren’t so caught up on catching up on sleep. Saturday was such a lovely day out and about – our date days are very important to me. We went to the driving range, went for a beautiful drive down the coast, and had a lovely pub lunch, and then home to watch our favourite tv show. A perfect day.
For me, balance is SO important for a good mental state. I read a hilarious article the other day about how life should be lived with a “F*ck Yes!” attitude – and it’s something I’ve really taken on. Pretty much, unless you have a total F*CK YES! attitude about something, don’t do it. This article was based on sex and relationships, but really it can be put into everyday life. At the moment, I’m in a bit of a F*ck NO! state about my commuting, so I’m gonna change it. Staying in the city 3 nights a week? F*ck YES!
My friends are also a huge part of my life, and unfortunately seeing them has become a rare event. Luckily for me I have hugely understanding friends who still love me loads, but seeing them a bit more will be amazing. I’ve set my first dinner date on Wednesday night and I am SO looking forward to it (after I’ve had a morning session of course). It’s with a beautiful girl I met through work last year, and she’s one of those friends who we can pick up from exactly where we left off – no matter how long it’s been.
Balance is also all about what is important to you. Going to the gym is SO important to me, so I’m going to make that a priority, it’s also all about what you can manage. I would LOVE to go to the gym twice a day 2-3 times a week, but that’s just not going to create a healthy balance. I’ve really had to sit down and work out what is important…my love, friends and family, the gym, and being healthy. So that is where I began. Working out the best way to create a balance between all of them.
What about a healthy balance with food? Now, I’m learning everyday about what my body needs and wants with food (I’m also learning the difference between the two) and I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. I am constantly reminding myself I don’t NEED that chocolate bar, I just WANT it. There is a difference. I made a decision a very long time ago I was never going to stop eating things. I just needed to learn how to do things in moderation. Yes this may make my process a bit longer, but at least it’ll be a happy one. Self-control is not a strong point of mine, but I’m learning.
So – my top tips for finding balance in your life
1. Decide what is important to YOU. Whether it’s 3 things, 5 things, or 10 things – write them down and work on them. Start at the top and work your way down.
2. Have a F*ck YES! attitude about what you do – if you don’t like it, change it
3. Have someone to talk through your changes with, a fresh set of eyes on a problem solving always helps
4. LOVE YOUR LIFE!
As you may have gathered, I love lifting. I’m pretty sure I’m addicted. It makes me happy, and I think this is the most dedicated and focussed I’ve ever been. The next comp at PTC Sydney is just over 6 weeks away and I am AMPED. I’m working towards some big numbers for the next comp, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. At least a 180kg deadlift, 130kg squat and a 70/75kg bench. A total of at least 380kgs. There are no holidays booked, no reasons for me not to have 6 weeks of solid prep, (or so I thought). I have a brand new pink powerlifting belt and it is giving me superpowers (or so I like to think). Mark and I have been working really hard on getting my body working properly and I was feeling good!! Enter illness…..
Unfortunately the past few weeks I’ve been really struggling with headaches and nausea. I’ve really tried to ignore it and push on through, but then it happened… I got sick. I woke up with no voice, and then it was all downhill from there. Blocked nose, sore throat, irritating cough and just general yuckiness. Two days off work and two missed training sessions, and then when I finally made it out of bed on Saturday, even doing the groceries was exhausting. I was pissed off. My training was thrown off and all I could do was lie in bed and sulk about it. Even when I was back at work a throbbing headache and feeling of puking had me run for the train home. This was NOT like me. I really MISSED training, I missed the feeling of smashing a good deadlift, but I didn’t want to push myself too early.
Tuesday last week I bit the bullet and made my way to my training session after work. To be honest, I really wasn’t in the mood. My muscles felt tight and tired, and I knew it was going to be a shit session, so wanted to avoid it for as long as possible. Being the first session of the week, it was squat night – so I summoned my pink powers and pushed out the “you can’t do this” and went for it.
Well after about 20mins of warming up and struggling through the initial few sets, I wasn’t going well. My body had actually forgotten what to do. I was wobbly and not as solid as I remember I was, at times it was a little scary, but with the guidance (and spotting) of my amazing trainer, I managed to push out 6 sets of 110kgs x 2. A huge effort, and man it felt good to be back.
Wednesday, I was back to feeling shit – so shit I ended up at the doctor. I’ve been dealing with a bit of nausea lately, and way too many headaches, so I needed to get it sorted. My doctor took some blood, which have all come back clear. I’ve been put on migraine and anti-nausea meds until it all gets sorted, but she pretty much just said I am running myself to the ground. My early starts, late nights and training mixed together with some stressful times at work have literally pushed my body to the max, and something needs to be done.
SO – where does that leave me now?
I hate being sick, I hate missing training and I hate having to catch up again to where I was. So for the next 7 weeks I’m going to be taking VERY good care of myself. I may have missed before that Saturday night before I got sick last week, I had spent the evening at the Bledisloe Cup opener game (I do enjoy my rugby), drinking beer, and in the rain. This combined with being tired and stressed at work and my heavy weight training, left my immune system low and ready for any virus that wanted to do its thing. Not my best decision, but who is going to turn down FREE gold class tickets? Unfortunately, I might just have to next time.
Taking care of myself is unfortunately going to mean being away from my fiancé for a bit. A very good friend of mine is heading away for about 3 weeks next month, so I’m going to trial living in the city for 2-3 nights a week and see what happens. I just can’t survive on the 4-5hrs sleep I’ve been having a night lately, and I need to have more, and I think this is the only way to find these extra hours needed.
Food. Yep, as usual. I had BIG sugar cravings while I was sick and I gave into these cravings badly, and they seem to be sticking around. Good food, healthy food and make sure I’m planning ahead. I have a nasty history of completely throwing in the towel every time something like this happens – but not this time. It’s more important now, than ever, that I’m eating well and giving my body what it needs.
Mind. Deep breathing, taking time to laugh, and not letting my work and life get on top of me. I’m thinking bubble baths, reading back through my goals and reminding myself of WHAT and WHY I’m doing this. This also might include blasting my new fav song and dancing ridiculously round my room (check out It’s all about the Bass by Meghan Trainor – excellent booty shaking song)
Love. Pretty self-explanatory, but this one is really important. I’m so blessed by the amazing people I have in my life, and I need to make sure they know how much I appreciate them.
And if anyone has any natural ways of dealing with chronic headaches, please let me know.
Training is going awesome. Prep for comp is going incredible, my strength is skyrocketing, and each week I’m feeling stronger and stronger, fitter and fitter (and looking leaner and leaner).
Tonight I managed to smash out 5 sets of 5 130kg deadlifts. The felt strong and clean, which is an excellent feeling. But the thing that is surprising me the most is my bench. Each week they seem to be getting stronger and this week I managed to grind out sets of 60kg. Who would’ve thought? Oh..AND my squat is back, after my epic fail it’s taken me a while to get back into the grind. I just couldn’t get my confidence back up – even though I know I can do it. But then this week, it all came back and I made my way through 95kg sets. Boom!
Tomorrow my boyfriend and I set off for a holiday in New Zealand. Apart from some friend and family time, I’m looking forward to hitting some NZ gyms and spreading some girlwholifts love! We’re spending 4 days in Christchurch and then 4 days doing a bit of travel around the South Island. We’re having a night at Franz Joseph Glacier, then two nights in Wanaka. It’s going to be amazing. I’m so looking forward to getting back to my home country – I do miss it sometimes. I miss my friends, and family…and it’s going to be REALLY nice to just spend some time with my man. With all my commuting and crazy hours, we don’t really get to see much of each other during the week, so it’s nice when we can get away together.
Now for the story of the day…for the first time in about 5 years, I bought jeans. Actual jeans – black skinny jeans to be precise. But even better, they’re jeans that fit. They fit my thighs, they fit my stomach, they fit my bum – they feel perfect.
A good pair of jeans are a staple for any girl’s wardrobe, but for me, they represented a long time fight with myself of where I thought I should be. I gave up on buying a pair of jeans years ago. I’ve literally lived in skirts in summer, and skirts and tights in winter. There was not one pair of jeans that would fit. But then on Saturday, I felt a change. I was doing a bit of shopping and pamper day, new nails, waxing, shopping…and then I wandered over to some jeans. I stood and stared, held some up, put them down, wandered away…and wandered back. I took and breath grabbed my size and went and tried them on. I was expecting disappointment, I was expecting them not to fit… but then suddenly they were on….done up…and damn they looked fantastic. Like they look good!
I did a happy dance and then bought those suckers.
I’m a happy person. Period. Yes, I have my down moments (like everyone does) but most of the time – I’m pretty damn happy.
There was a point when I wasn’t, I was miserable. I had this huge idea of what I wanted my life to be, but never seemed to be able to live it. There came a time when suddenly it all got too much, and I was given a choice – sink or swim.
Without getting too much into it – the first few years of High School wasn’t a fun place for me. It was very “Mean Girls” there was a group of girls who didn’t like me, and they made sure I knew it. They stole my backpack, spread some rumours about me and generally made my life horrible. I left when I was 15, and moved High Schools and life started to get a bit better.
Anyways, fast forward a few years and I was stuck in a bit of a rut, I wasn’t sure what I was doing or where I was going and I knew I needed a change. I was living in the past, I had friends who seemed to mirror how these highschool girls treated me. I was fat, unhappy and didn’t know what to do. I blamed everyone but myself, when suddenly, I realised that the only person who could change my life…was me, and only me. Suddenly my tickets to Australia were booked and I was here, jumping into the unknown for a brand new adventure.
Over the last two years, I’ve worked really hard to create the life I wanted. The first realisation – surround yourself with people who support your dreams – not dump on them. Sadly, this meant I have drifted away from a few people, but it also meant that I have the most incredible, amazing group of people who push me to my limits and support me and lift me up every day.
Creating my life, also meant to needed to dream. And dream big I did.
The Girl Who Lifts was started as a way for me to follow my trip down healthy lane, get my story out there and spread the motivational love. And what a journey it’s becoming.
Creating my life involved sitting down and really deciding what I wanted and going straight for it. Unfortunately this meant a few sacrifices…
Finding love for me has been this up and down roundabout rollercoaster, filled with heartbreak and disappointment – until a year ago when I met the one. The one who I know, I’m meant to be with. This meant changing my party girl city life, and I moved two hours out of the city to be with my man. I was already pretty involved with my training and making my life a bit healthier so my social life took a big hit. This was hard, and part of me really misses living in the city but gosh love was worth it. So now much life literally consists of getting up at 5am, on the train by 6, work all day, head to the gym, back on the train for 2.5 hours and then home in bed by about 11pm. And I do this 5 days a week. It’s long and hard – but for the life I want, it’s worth it.
Fortunately, I have some pretty amazing friends that have stuck by me during all of this, and still want to be my friend even though they never see me.
The second realisation was to find happiness. I’m a big believer that this is a choice, a big one. If you want a happy life – have one. Find the people that make you happy, DO the things that MAKE you happy, LIVE the life YOU want. BE HAPPY.
The third – train hard. If this is what I want, I need to give it my all, and lately it’s all been paying off. Tonight I smashed out 2 sets of 5 x 135kgs deadlifts, I’m doing work sets of squats at 95kgs pretty comfortable, and I’m benching 55kgs. Josie “The gun show” Gray…that’s me.
“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.”
So something that I’ve become ridiculously obsessed with, is breaking the stereotype about what exercise girls “should” do. When you go to the gym, there seems to be this huge divide between the muscle guys by the weights, and the chicks on the cardio equipment – people seem to be stuck in this stereotype of where they should go. Sometimes you’ll see some chicks lifting some light weights – but there definitely needs to be more chicks lifting big. Ever since I’ve started lifting, I’ve come across some pretty hilarious reactions. Some think its cool, some are impressed, my boss in particular is rather hung up on my lifting. He’s convinced I’m going to hurt myself. My workmates think it’s weird, and I’m forever being told not to get “too big” (I’m already a big girl, so I’m not sure why they think I’ll get bigger). The amount of times that I’ve been asked “Do you really think you should lift that much?”, “Shouldn’t you just do cardio”, “Won’t you hurt yourself?” aha NO! and here’s why.
Squats. Each week on squat day, Mark and I will do speed sets – normally around 5 sets of 10 with a low weight but a bit faster than normal, with a short rest in between – best workout you’ll ever do. It’s proven that squats are one of THE best full body exercises you can do, and if you do enough you will feel it in your soul. Trust me.
Empowerment. Yes this sounds ridiculously cheesy. But never have I felt better about myself, or stronger within myself since I started lifting. You really need to believe in yourself to get those lifts up. My mental strength is the strongest it’s ever been.
It’s FUN. Seriously. FUN! I’ve never found running on a treadmill fun (and this is totally my opinion) but lifting = FUN. I can’t wipe the smile off my face after a big lifting session.
You WON’T turn into a guy. I’m pretty girly. I love getting my hair done, I wear skirts every day, I love getting my nails done and I LOVE the colour pink. I just also like to lift heavy shit, and put it back down. Does that make me a guy? I think not!
If you’re on Instagram search #girlswholift, I’ve found most of my inspiration from scrolling through the videos and messages from these girls. They’re strong (both mentally and physically), supportive and crazy beast impressive.
I dare you to give it a go – find a trainer and get them to talk you through the basics. Correct technique is really important, so make sure you’re doing it correctly. Break the stereotype.
So the last four weeks I’ve been training pretty hard. Me and my amazing trainer Mark from Top Health PT have been slowly building up the weight and then last night it was time to hit some new records.
I was so incredibly amazed with myself – I am stronger than I ever thought possible and it feels AMAZING.
This is where I’m sitting
Bench – 65kgs
Squat – 110kgs
and the best one of all
Deadlift – 150kgs
If you jump onto my TheGirlWhoLifts fb page, there are some pretty epic videos. Go check them out.
I’m feeling pretty damn good about my squat and deadlift, my bench needs a bit of work. My next phase of training starts on Monday and I am AMPED to step it up another notch. Who knows where this will go – all I know is that I’m definitely on the right path.