Powerlifting Helped Heal My Relationship With My Body

Eight years ago, I stepped into a gym for the first time in my adult life with one goal in mind: get skinny.

I spent a few weeks hanging out on the cardio equipment pursuing my fat loss goals, because nothing else mattered at the time. To help accelerate the process, I started a 1,000 calorie a day nutrition program and began religiously checking my weight. Every morning started out the same: Did the scale go down yet?

Eventually, I upped the ante and hired my first personal trainer. The first session felt like the longest 30 minutes of my life. She introduced me to bodyweight and dumbbell strength training, but I didn’t jump in with passion and fervor. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I wondered how lifting weights would help me reach my goal of shrinking my body. After all, I didn’t want to get big and bulky; I wanted to get “toned” and “lean.” Despite my reservations, I kept showing up to the gym. For the first few weeks, it felt like every muscle in my body hurt, including ones I didn’t even know existed. Nevertheless, I persisted — and things began to change.

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