Don’t Wait for the Train! Train Your Weight Instead!

Having been almost completely mental (ho ho) over the last few years I am of late becoming a bit more physical. I did plenty of walking in Scotland and returned to my twice-weekly appointment with the gym to find an increased appetite for pushing, pulling, lifting and depressing, bringing together and pushing apart and of course pumping the legs to and fro and round and round on a series of metal-and-rubber contrivances. I can’t help feeling it’s overkill to have half a ton of equipment just to work on your quads, but who am I to question the workings of the gym goddess? Besides, it’s free to those of us with lifelong health conditions and I intend to make the most of my 13-week GP referral.

But in my heart I yearn to turn my back on all this machinery and return to using free weights. I used to belong to a couple of weightlifting clubs (one in Northampton, one in Leicester) and found them much more supportive than most gyms where macho guys quite literally throw their weight around and grunt and swear like Shrek on an off-day. The thing about free weights is that you get a real sense of power and achievement; it increases your physical confidence (no bad thing for a woman) and gives you a sense of being able to overcome obstacles. I know this holds true for the machines as well, but there’s something much more vital and intense about lifting. For a start, you’re focussed, unlike, say, on the running machines where people often pound away whilst listening to music and not paying attention to their body.

Machines can be boring; free weights are not. You can talk to others in the club, you can support and spot each other and when you’re going for a new challenge everyone will stand around and cheer you on. The other day I went along to one such club in Loughborough with a view to joining: sadly at the moment I can’t afford it. Maybe when I’ve finished my GP referral…

Meanwhile, here’s a brief glossary of terms:

Weight Training: developing muscles using machines or free weights and doing a series of reps of one particular movement (eg biceps curls)as here.

Weight Lifting: lifting increasing weights using different free weights, as here.

Powerlifting: using free weights to perform three standard lifts, dead lift, bench press and overhead, as here.

If I’m honest I’m not entirely clear about the difference between weightlifting and powerlifting but hey ho, I guess all will become clear. In the meantime I’ll carry on burning the rubber and metal in the gym until my time is up and I have to come in.

Kirk out