My name is Bee and I blog over at Bee Goes Bananas. I’m very excited to be doing my very first guest post here at Happy is the New Healthy! Cheryl and I have been friends and workout buddies for almost two years now and I’m more than honoured to be given the opportunity to fill her blog with my nonsense!
I want to talk about my journey with strength training and how it has helped me with my self-esteem and confidence. Okay…GO!
I have always loved strength training and the way my body feels after a good workout of heavy lifting. Throughout high school, I dealt with a lot of issues surrounding weight, self-esteem and body image. It was around this time I stopped lifting weights completely.
It didn’t take me long to discover that eating less + increasing cardio = weight loss! I put myself on a routine of restrictive eating and long cardio sessions in order to lose weight. Guess what? I did! I dropped 30lbs around my first year of university. Despite my weight loss, I was feeling more and more insecure about my body. So…did losing weight also mean losing self-esteem?
It wasn’t until several years later than I realized I had an unrealistic ideal set for my body. I was using cardio alone in the attempt to whittle my body down to a 5’11 model’s figure. Well, news flash! I’m 5’4 and my body type will never be that of a supermodel. Is that a bad thing? Heck NO! By removing strength training from my routine and focusing only on cardio to try and become a pin-thin, I wasn’t thinking about my body’s natural capabilities. My body type is naturally strong, not lean. I can be a little power house when I put my mind to it. By eliminating strength training, I was denying my body the chance to do what it does best…BE STRONG!
I’m not saying that cardio is bad, that people who do cardio aren’t strong, or that I don’t incorporate cardio into my routine; however, it’s no longer the sole focus of my workouts. When I was using cardio to lose weight, I was using it as a means to an end…and that end was not realistic. Instead, fitness should be a process and a journey, not just a tool to shape your body. I’ve started creating a well-rounded routine that incorporates both cardio, strength and lifestyle choices in order to stay fit.
My perspective and goals have changed drastically over the past few years. I am more confident now knowing that my goal is not to work against my body and become extra thin, but to work with my body to make it stronger and healthier. My self-worth is no longer based on what number pops up on the scale. I take pride in my muscles instead of feel ashamed of them. Strength training has helped me overcome a lot of self-degradation and has helped shape me into the strong woman I am today!