In this instructive op-ed, Elizabeth Gageler says that powerlifting is not about getting that supposedly ideal summer body – there are many holistic benefits.
1. Shift in mindset from aesthetics to strength
Let’s face it, there is so much pressure on women and men these days to look a certain way. A quick scroll through Instagram can quickly have you hating on your body. But starting a training program with the mindset to change how you look is setting you up with a belief that you are already not good enough.
How much more empowering is it to shift your mindset off training to lose weight, burn calories, get a flatter tummy, etc. to increasing strength, building muscle, learning new techniques! Our thoughts become feelings, so if we can step into the gym with positive goals, we are more likely to carry that positivity throughout the day!
2. The stronger you get, the more fat you burn
The more you squat, the stronger you get, the more muscle you build, the more fat you burn! It is really a glorious equation – I mean who doesn't want to be a fat burning machine. Strength training will increase your metabolic rate, meaning you will burn more calories throughout the day!
Muscle tissue burn two to three times more calories than fat tissue. Squatting heavy won’t only earn you a beautiful peach backside, it will also increase your metabolism. Win-win all round!
3. Eat more food
As powerlifting programs are designed to increase strength and power, your body composition changes to increase muscle mass and decrease fat cells, your metabolic rate will increase. This means you will be able to eat more food than previously.
With an increase in muscle, your body’s requirement for calories increase. Following a whole food, well balanced diet is recommended to maintain health and optimal body composition.
4. Stepping out of your comfort zone
The whole aim of powerlifting is to see what your body’s strength is capable of, and that requires stepping out of your comfort zone. Putting weight on the bar that challenges you is nerve-wracking!
With all of our modern-day inventions, such as cars, shopping trolleys, elevators etc., designed to make our lives easier, it has been become less and less likely that daily tasks will actually physically challenge us. So, unless you are making a conscious effort to challenge yourself physically, you are most likely living well within your physical comfort zone.
Pushing yourself beyond your comfort point is essential for growth, both physically and mentally. Challenge yourself. You will be surprised to see how this translates into multiple areas of your life!
5. Forcing the mind to be present
Forcing our minds to be focused on the present a few times a day helps create mental clarity and peace of mind. We are hearing the word mindfulness more and more these days for a good reason. Powerlifting requires mindfulness: quite simply, you can’t load a bar up with 100kgs and perform a squat thinking about the annoying email you read this morning.
So often, we let our minds run wild either reliving things that have happened in the past or worrying about things that might (and probably won't) happen in the future. Keeping your attention on the NOW is one of the most useful skills you can learn, but as with anything, it takes some work. Powerlifting demands attention and focus.
You can follow Liz's advocacy at her Instagram page, @cheekycoconuts.