I started my weight training journey at night. I was 16yrs. old and was recovering from several years of serious illness and being bedridden. Often I couldn't sleep because of body pain, so I would exercise when I could—when a little burst of energy would find me. These bursts of energy surprisingly happened most often at night when the house was quiet and I was restless.
I was trying different movement forms to rebuild my health—things I read about or could get on VHS (yes it was that long ago) to play on our living room VCR. I had a few yoga videos, my mom's Jane Fonda and a weight training workout series—it was the 90's.
I had gotten my hands on 2 sets of dumbbells and ankle weights and that was the beginning. Before my health detour I was a pretty serious young ballet dancer, dancing about 5 days a week and training in a professional stream program at the National Ballet School of Canada but the illnesses left my body pretty ravaged. I was struggling to know where to begin but I knew I needed to get stronger, somehow.
Weight training surprised me! Back then I knew very few people that did weight training and even fewer women. But the other things I was trying were not really working for my pain or rebuilding my strength—you see, I could only exercise for 5- 10min at a time. What I discovered is that weight training is a super efficient way to build strength. You don't have to put hours in to see changes and the improvements can be transformative.
I started super slow with very low weights 5lbs and in very short sessions but my body adapted quickly and I was soon lifting 10, 15, 20, 25lbs and able to work up to a 30min workout. The other thing I noticed was I could exercise in these shorter sessions and then really let my body recover—and it got STRONGER! Much stronger, and other things were changing too... I was sleeping (so I could exercise in the day), I had less pain, better energy and felt grounded and more relaxed in my body again.
Within a year I was much more robust and it inspired me in the direction of going to school for Kinesiology and studying Fitness. I focused on weight training there too—now in a gym and surrounded by professional personal trainers the weights got heavier and I learned a lot over the years studying and training in that environment.
As my professional training diversified, I incorporated other somatic movement education into my approach to weight training—but lifting weights has been a mainstay of my personal practice for over 20 years and I have seen the amazing benefits with my clients too.
I continue to be inspired by it's power to transform physicality but also to strengthen the parts of ourselves we can't so easily see. Weight training can build a sense of grounding, agency and self-confidence—the moving and making of much more than just muscle.
So, I am thrilled that this summer we are focusing on working with weights and getting stronger together! I hope you will join us.
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