Last week I was feeling a bit uninspired for things to write about on my blog, and @davegw on Twitter suggested I write about the benefits of powerlifting. I was a bit skeptical at first because I don’t lift for weight/fat loss or to “look great naked” (I look great naked anyway, thanks – just not your stereotypical white Western ideal of “great”!) – and besides, there are 10000+ articles out there already on the benefits. But he urged me to reconsider, because a post on my benefits of powerlifting might make an interesting alternative. So, here are the things I perceive as benefits:
The social aspect
I think many peoples’ idea of a gym is a place where people stick their headphones in, get on the treadmill & zone out. Neither of the gyms I go to – BGWLC & Urban Kings – are like that.
At BGWLC, we train as a squad (even the newbies), we talk to each other and I’ve made some really great friends. I’ve not been training at Urban Kings as long, but I get the impression that the atmosphere there is the same – people go to the same classes week after week and socialise together outside the gym.
Making friends can be hard, especially as an adult in London, so this is a huge benefit for me.
I read a lot of Crossfit articles which seem to suggest this social/tribe mentality only exists at Crossfit boxes, and it doesn’t – you just need to find the right gym. Commercial big-box gyms usually aren’t it. If you feel lonely at your Fitness First or LA Fitness, try another gym & see if it has a better social scene!
I am a creature of habit & I like to know where I will be & when. So powerlifting with a coach & partner(s) suits me well, as I have to stick to the timetable otherwise I let them down. This might not appeal to everyone, but it does to me!
Being strong is just cool
Just that, really. I like being able to pick up heavy stuff, and I look forward to being able to pick up more heavy stuff. Uninitiated people hear you can deadlift Xkg and go “oooooh”. It’s nice.
I know, 99.9% of articles about women lifting weights say “You won’t get bulky!” but I started bulky and I’ve STAYED bulky. I like being big(ger). All my powerlifting idols are men (as are pretty much all my life idols) and while I know I won’t ever get as impressive as them, I like taking part is a sport where size isn’t frowned upon. OK, so it is kinda frowned upon for ladies, but fuck that gender bullshit! MOAR BULKY LADIES PLS!
My favourite big bits (gym-honed, not food-honed) are my traps and my arms. My arms are large but lacking definition, though, and I’d maybe like a little but more. But my big traps are the bomb. And as for my behind…
… I know, I’m being a bit hypocritical here. But hear me out. I have always had a very large bottom – what can I say, I’m a big girl. And yes, squatting does give you a larger, more shapely butt (mine has stayed large but gone from kinda flat to perfectly rounded).
But what all those millions of articles telling you (women) to squat for your butt’s sake DON’T tell you is… squats give men big butts too. No, really. I guess it’s just not talked about because patriarchy. So if you like men with big butts and cannot lie, or are a man who likes the idea of a big butt, powerlifting is for you. If you don’t, just wear a longer t-shirt.
I have never really lacked in confidence, but powerlifting has definitely given me more. I mean, if you can stand in front of a hundred people wearing The Outfit(TM) and pull those awesome lifting faces, how can you not be confident?!
If it wasn’t for the confidence powerlifting gave me, I wouldn’t have felt confident enough to do a talk at Ladies Who Code, or walk into the (all male) grappling class at Urban Kings & take part without even a second thought. Getting up close & personal with big, sweaty men? No biggie. I’m a freakin’ powerlifter, man!
So tell me: what are your benefits of the sport you do? Or what do you hope to achieve through doing it?