18 May 2012

Something for the women folk

Something for the Women Folk:
a guest post from Talia VanDoran

From liftbigeatbig.com, Talia engages in half of my site's namesake.

Being a big fan of "bigger is better," I've been seriously lifting weights since 2008 and I have intentions to continue exploring the strength arena by training and competing in strongwoman shows. Existing as a woman in this world of testosterone is no easy task. I'm a tattooed Martha Stewart that loves the hell out of strength sports. You've got to have balls to hang and the brawn to back it up.

Using equipment for lifting and coping with insecurity in the gym environment are two big issues that most women deal with at one point or another.

Bench shirt or not, Kara is probably stronger than you.
I get asked a lot why I wear a weight belt in the gym. No, it's not because it looks cute or matches my shoes. It's because I lift heavy shit and it serves to allow to me to lift heavy shit safely. You should never be embarrassed to wear a belt and it doesn't make you more badass to go without one. It really depends on the lifter and as a woman it doesn't make me weaker because I choose to use this piece of equipment. You should start using your belt when you feel you need it. As a powerlifter, it's a good idea to wear the gear that you will be competing in. I wear a belt at meets, therefore I train with my belt. Sometimes I wear it while warming up and sometimes I put it on when I get to a heavy working weight. I wear a belt because it makes me feel good and strong. I wear it because it makes me feel safe under load and all I care about is moving weight effectively and efficiently. It's pretty simple. Not to mention that it IS cute and does, in fact, match my shoes. Boom!

As a lady lifter, I have had to overcome insecurity issues in the gym and in competition. While I may not lift as much as the mirror monkey standing next to me, I deserve to be there just as much as he does. I used to be nervous to approach the dumbbell rack or any equipment in the gym. I would even go to the gym during hours I knew were empty so that I could train anxiety free. I got over that shit pretty fast when I woke up and grew some! Fake it till ya make it, ladies! Act like you know the deal. Act like you belong there and if you have a question ask it. There is no harm in getting information. Man up and take charge of your training and don't be a shrinking violet in the gym. That makes you look WEAK. Yes, it can be intimidating. Use that Internet thing and do some research before you take on a workout routine. Know what the equipment you need looks like and watch instructional videos that show you how to use it (make sure it's coming from a reputable source). Even better is finding someone who has more experience and a good knowledge base in strength to show you the ropes. Choose wisely and do some research when seeking a coach/training partner. Confidence comes with time and being open to learning without fear. It's ok to feel stupid/silly, but realize that it's part of how you learn. Suck it up buttercup and DO WORK!

Talia is a competitive powerlifter living in Nashville, TN and a sponsored athlete with Chaos and Pain. She also lifts in the Southern Powerlifting Federation, and she could probably kick your ass.

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