Why I Love Weight Training

weightsThis is our weight bench. It sits in front of the treadmill and my myriad of inspirational posters when I’m working out. When I hang out with the kids down there; after the weight bench has been pushed up against the wall again to make room for toys, I read those posters and it gives me actual motivation. So they aren’t there just for kicks.

I was first introduced to the fitness world beyond cardio in Japan. I was there to teach English. At my first job it was basically tutoring. During a class, an older male student told me, very bluntly, that I was fat. I was living on convenience store sushi at the time and during my time in Japan had packed on pounds as a result. I had to go back to Canada soon for my sister’s high school graduation and was mortified. I stopped eating. I was very aware this was a short term plan. I subsisted on one small bowl of edamame beans a day. I would eat edamame in my room, slap at cockroaches, and shed a few tears. I went down to 170 lbs by the time I had to go back. Not a victory really since I had arrived at 140 lbs.

I didn’t like my job at the time. I was working 6 days a week with a short break for lunch. I had been promised my own apartment but when I got there that promise was broken and I was left to live in the tiny upstairs room with a tiny kitchen on the second floor of my bosses house. He was a greedy little man. I was also promised “sightseeing vacation days” but whenever I asked he would mutter that business was “too busy, too busy for now”. Six months in I left and moved to the city of Osaka. Conditions of my contract had been broken so I was free to leave. I could only find part time work in the city so I padded my income with private students that I tutored for a fee. It was a grand life. I didn’t come back with all my debt paid off but I did come back with priceless memories. I had quite a bit of time on my hands during the day so my roommate (who was probably politely implying that I was fat) suggested we check out gyms. We went to three gyms to check them out and spent a couple hours working out in each. In the end I picked a gym I loved and joined. She did not. I admitted to myself it was all for my benefit, not hers. I was 177 lbs at the time and, at 5’6″, that’s too much!

So I joined the gym. It had a lot of classes I could go to. I didn’t speak much Japanese, but I could do the aerobics or boxing classes by following movements, even if I was a couple of steps behind. If I messed up because of my natural clumsiness I could blame it on not speaking the language! It was brilliant, I’m telling you, brilliant. Plus a lot of the time they would notice the one or two non-Japanese in the class and say the instructions in English if there was time. And then I felt like a celebrity.

One day I had no private students so I went to the gym. I did a bunch of cardio but still had time to kill before my fave dance-aerobics class. I had about 30 mins to kill! What to do? I sighed and looked over at the weights as if it was a mountain to climb. Boredom pushed me to it. I did a bit before a very nice girl that worked at the gym approached me. She told me that I was doing it all wrong and could she “give me some pointers so you don’t hurt yourself?”

I said yes! We continued to work together and she became my personal trainer. She had done her schooling in Australia so her English was impeccable. She had a Japanese-Australian combined accent to her English which was super charming.

She taught me a lot! Things that stuck with me to this day. I went from a flabby 177 lbs to a defined 130 lbs.

( I was actually a bit too thin to be honest and should have stayed at 140lbs. The scale isn’t everything! Take a photo a week to see your progress rather than relying on the numbers on the scale. Just a side-note.)

I didn’t keep up with the weight training after I returned to Canada and I wish I would have. After almost a ten year hiatus I have picked it up again. Man, how I missed it!

What I love about weight training:

1. Results more quickly!

2. My mood and energy level have improved

3. I burn fat even when I’m not working out

4. I burn fat more quickly and look leaner (and eat better!)

5. Muscle definition is sexy

6. My cardio is easier because it helps round out my whole fitness plan

7. Squats with weights or resistance has improved the look of my ass and legs

8. Pride in myself for pushing my limits (safely!)

9. With the addition of careful eating and lots of sleep, it has boosted my immune system

10. Easier to push through plateaus

I am not yet a poster girl for strength training but I’m working on it! I will never be a perfect show girl or want to be on a stage. I don’t want to live weights, eat only brown rice and asparagus for said shows or to have cheese shredder abs, but I am loving the progress so far.

October was  a bust. I didn’t work out at all and by the end of it I felt flabby and I was eating horrible junky food. So this November I am aiming on redeeming myself. So far I haven’t missed a day and slowly the muscle definition in my arms is coming back!

Here is the bitty bit progress of my arm definition so far. I plan to take a photo a week and in a couple months will share them here. It will keep me motivated to stay on track!

blurry arm

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