Lift Weights, Chase Eternal Glory

I sat down to write about the things that feel good to me about working out. One of the messages that I’m absolutely passionate about spreading is that your choice of exercise should feel good to you. Not after, like “I’m glad I did that,” or “I like seeing the results,” but actually during your workout… the endorphins, the feeling of embracing a challange and succeeding, and the pleasure of moving your body should feel delicious.

I planned to write a list of the myriad reasons that working out feels good, but I got sidetracked by one singular idea: every workout, I am essentially chasing 3 to 5 seconds of absolute, soul-changing glory. I may work out four days a week for 45-60 minutes, but it is always in pursuit of those moments of glory, the last rep of a heavy lift, that I crave so deeply. The whole thing… the coffee, the warmup, the mobility drills, the work sets, the whole damn thing is done so that I may come alive for 1-2 “money reps,” maybe just once in each workout.

What is a “money rep?” It’s the moment at the end of your set when you’re not sure if you can do another rep but then you give it your absolute all. It also happens to be where real gains in strength and muscular development are made. I know myself and my body pretty damn well at this point, and I typically won’t attempt a rep that will fail if I don’t want to be training to failure (which I usually don’t), so I very rarely miss an attempted rep. That having been said, there is a moment sometimes during that last rep when I’m not sure I will succeed. But it is exactly that moment, as the barbell is slowing down and I’m not sure if I can make it, that holds within it the eternal glory I’m chasing.

Time slows down. Adrenaline and testosterone flood my body. I trigger a fight or flight response 4 days a week, and I fucking live for it. I am a superhero for that one endless, vivid moment. That rep is my meditation. Normally my mind is multitasking with a whirlwind of thoughts, ideas, doubts, and distractions. But there is exactly zero space for those things during a tough lift. My mind gets quiet- it has to. I’m giving 100% of my attention and effort to this one physical challenge, and inside my head, as colors get sharper and time is bending, I become my most whole and peaceful and complete version of myself. I don’t want to be anywhere else because I don’t know that anywhere else exists. I forget everything but me, here, now, my body, this lift.

It all happens in the fraction of a second. I always visualize my success before I attempt the lift, and then… halfway through the rep, the bar isn’t moving anymore and I wonder if I should just quit and I’m scared and I’m small and I don’t know why I put myself through this shit… but I’m still holding steady and flashes of my visualization start peeking through and I keep pushing and picturing it, and now I’m growing bigger, I’m fearless now… the bar is moving again, I’m the size of the whole universe now, I’m a goddess, and I know I can push just a little harder… I can gather just the tiniest bit more strength, power, speed…

In that moment… that moment when time slows down and I go through this process in my head, my old identity dies and my new identity is born. Before, I was someone who couldn’t do that. Now I am someone who did it anyway. I am forever changed by these moments, because there is a ghost of that eternal goddess that I am able to carry with me after, for minutes, hours, or days.

Through lifting weights, I die and am reborn 4 days a week. Every time, the ghost become a shade darker. I become a tiny bit closer to the superhero that I am during those moments. This is how lifting makes me a better person. This is why I love it, why I crave it, and why I want to teach people to chase the joy of it, rather than the aesthetic outcomes. This is why I believe everyone (especially young women) needs to lift weights or find another physical practice that takes them to a place of glory. It’s a practice in dying and being reborn, in letting go and in courage. It’s a practice in shedding your old skins that no longer serve you, in living in the moment, and in believing in yourself.  It’s the practice of peace, and relief, and love, and joy. Lifting weights can be the practice of loving yourself, if you let it.

This might not make sense to you. If you have never given 100% of your effort to a physical challenge, you may have never experienced anything like this. (In fairness, this might not make actually sense to anyone.) But if this makes even the slightest hint of sense… if you’ve ever used your body for a challenge and felt anything like what I’m describing… then please indulge me for a moment. This is what I’m in the fitness industry for, and what I know I’m supposed to be spreading.

Obviously, it’s totally ok if you work out for a totally different reason, or even for a whole bunch of different reasons! This is certainly not mutually exclusive to other forms of motivation. But if I can reach even one person with this message, then it was worth the embarrassing transparency of writing down how spiritual, beautiful, and important those 2 to 5 seconds of my workouts are for me. I imagine how different society would be if everyone lifted weights as a means to authentic autonomous empowerment, instead of just a way to look hot.

Let’s chase eternal glory instead of skinny jeans.


 

I am passionate about helping women learn to love their bodies. That includes unlearning what a woman “should” be, feeling empowered and confident in yourself, embracing your authentic power, and creating a life so kick-ass and beautiful that you hardly have any time or energy left over to think about how your body looks. 😉

That’s why I created 

The Empowered Women Project

— for women like you, who are sick of being judged for what you look like, and want to focus instead on all the amazing things you can do and be. Click here to know more

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