This is the ninth in a series of short essays I wrote as part of the Ship 30 for 30 program. You can read all thirty essays here.
I was late to lifting; I didn’t start until my thirties.
As a skinny kid, I had always been curious about it. But, in my mind, skinny guys didn’t lift weights; ripped dudes did. At some point, I realised I had it backwards—those dudes were ripped because they lifted.
After figuring that out, I decided to give it a shot. But I had to overcome another barrier—I didn’t know where to start. So, I found a starting strength program online, bought some dumbbells, and began training at home.
I immediately loved it.
When you first start strength training, the newbie gains come quick. Think of them as low-hanging fruit. Seeing my body start to transform within a few short weeks motivated me to keep training. My lifts got heavier. Soon, dumbbells didn’t cut it anymore, so I joined a gym and began barbell training. Then my gains really took off.
Researching lifting protocols introduced me to diet and nutrition and the importance of recovery. I started eating better, drinking less, and sleeping more.
Visiting the gym 3-4 times a week on my own, tracking my lifts, and improving them each week helped me develop self-discipline. It became a form of moving meditation that helped me mentally as well as physically. As a result, I felt fitter, healthier, happier, and more energetic in my mid-thirties than I did in my twenties.
To paraphrase Socrates, there is something beautiful and surprising about discovering what your body is capable of. Lifting changed my self-identity. It gave me more confidence and helped me see myself as a strong person—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Powerful stuff.
I’m sure this is familiar to anyone who already lifts. But, if you don’t, I recommend giving it a try. Because resistance training is not futile. It is positively transformational.