Proud of my muscles

When I look at photos of me from just a few years ago, when I was first getting into running and racing, I can’t believe how much I’ve changed.

Mentally I’ve changed in a big way. I view running and exercise completely differently. I no longer just run. Several injuries have taught me my body is not the hardy type and I need to work on my weaknesses regularly to keep me running healthy and strong. But not just that, I found a great love of lifting weights. I no longer feel that running is my one and only (though if I had to choose, it would always be running. I am a runner first and foremost).img_6036For the past few weeks I’ve just been going to the gym and lifting and it’s been a great break from running. Though I’m itching to get back to it now, I haven’t been going out of my mind because “omg I haven’t been running”. I’m happy to take a break and refresh my system to get the mojo juices flowing again (nice). This is is different to the old me!

I thought I’d share this comparison pic I created because it kind of blew me away. The photo on the left is from around three years ago. I look like an entirely different person. I feel like an entirely different person.Transformation photoThe lack of self-confidence is obvious but also lack of muscle. This is why I love lifting. It’s given me a body I’m proud of. I’ve never hated my body or thought I looked bad, but seeing my body now in comparison to how it was has just validated my love for the gym. I feel better in myself and think I look better after gaining some muscle to my frame. And with that I’ve also gained confidence.Girls with muscleI stride into the gym knowing exactly what I’m going to do that morning. I feel confident going into the weights area, setting up the squat rack and doing my thing. And this has trickled into my life in general. At work I’m more confident, I stand taller, and with running I run stronger and feel like I can kick out that 7min/min at mile 26 of a marathon.img_6051There is also something so satisfying and fun about lifting weights. You can focus on so many different areas. Becoming a stronger runner with form drills and increasing my strength endurance, or focusing on aesthetic goals such as sculpting my shoulders and getting a perkier bum. Or just generally increasing my overall strength – can I smash my personal best when squatting or deadlifting? There’s so much you can do. I’m never bored at the gym.

I’m not saying everyone must lift, and everyone must have muscles. Absolutely not. What I think is important is finding that thing that you love and enjoy. Exercise shouldn’t always be a grind and it certainly shouldn’t be a punishment.

lucysewellIt has to be something that, first and foremost, is enjoyable. If it’s not you won’t stick to it.

It also has to make you feel GOOD. Both running and weight lifting make me feel fantastic. Realistically not every gym session or run is a “punch in the air” scenario, but overwhelming most of the time I enjoy it and look forward to doing it again. So choose something that makes you happy, whether it’s weight lifting, cross-fitting, running, swimming or walking, it’s all good stuff. And most importantly, don’t compare yourself to anyone else out there! No exercise is superior to another and everyone is in a chapter of their own story after all.

What is your favourite exercise?

Do you compare yourself to others?

How has exercise changed you?

12 thoughts on “Proud of my muscles

  1. I can definitely relate to this after the last month, where I’ve increased my strength training and can SO notice the difference – both in how I feel and how I look. As a runner I got injured a fair bit so building muscles seems to be pretty key if I want to carry on doing that, and cycling as well. You look fab!

  2. You should definitely be proud of those muscles! I have had to do more strength work to rebuild after injury and I am actually really enjoying it. Whereas before exercise was all about cardio, now I often hang out in the weights room. I am hoping by mixing up strength work, cross training and running that I will pick up less injuries in the coming years.

  3. You are so right, you look so much more confident in the second picture too- the way you stand is so different.
    I know it isn’t the same, but I did love body pump. I have stopped going as it was aggravating my back, plus it was hard to book on. So now I have been going to yoga, only once a week, but there is a lot of strength work in that. I need something guided as I am not good at holding the correct form, so I feel more confident in the class because if I am doing something wrong the teacher will come over and adjust me. But for the love, I just love running.
    And I try not to compare myself to others, but it can’t be helped.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…A Scottish parkrunMy Profile

    • It is definitely the same! Body pump is a fantastic workout and challenges your body completely differently to running. I’d love to have a personal trainer or coach (dreamworld scenario!) to watch me do my exercises to make sure I was doing them well… it’s tough but I just have to trust I’m on the right track.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…What to Wear When Running in WinterMy Profile

  4. You look so much more confident in all of your photos now than you used to.
    I definitely agree that exercise has to be something that is enjoyable, else you won’t stick with it and it does become a punishment.
    Running is obviously my favourite form of exercise and I would say that because I have become so passionate about running it has helped me to overcome some of my shyness in social events. I’ve been to a number of races/blogging or running events now where I’ve not known anyone else there but have been brave enough to go and start talking to others, which I would never done five years ago.
    Mary recently posted…Oscar’s first parkrunMy Profile

  5. I started doing Crossfit when I signed up for my first marathon because I didn’t want to get injured training for that distance. 4 years later I have run a few marathons, without injuries, but I’m also so in love with weights that I lift a bit more than I run these days 😉

    • It’s funny how that happens. I used to hate doing any strength work but knew it was for the best to avoid injuries. But now I do it because I love it – it’s just an added bonus that it helps me run strong too. I’d love to try Crossfit but there isn’t one that opens early enough for me nearby 🙁 My gym is great because it’s 24/7 so I can get there super early. I love the Crossfit community element tho.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…What to Wear When Running in WinterMy Profile

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