Consistency trumps intensity.
This is my memoir of one year spent weight lifting, and what I’ve learned on my journey towards a stronger body. But first, a reminder that we are roughly 4 weeks away from being bombarded with advertisements promising “your best body ever in just 8 weeks!” or a “total body transformation in 30 days!” You know the ones. The ads with perfectly tanned, sculpted and slightly sweaty bodies with a very convincing message that you can get fit, from home, for free!!! With just three easy clicks, it could be YOU!
Well, I’m here to tell you what you already knew: Those programs don’t work. Don’t waste your money or time. Sure, you might lose a few pounds and feel better, but you’re not going to get your perfect beach body in one month, and if you do make some gains, they likely won’t last.
Why? Because consistency trumps intensity. Real change takes time. Enormous amounts of time and consistency. This is what I’ve learned in my very humbling year of lifting weights.
Okay, so I’ve been going to the gym. It was weird, at first, as a yogi. I always flirted with light weights through Barre classes and Pilates, but one year ago I decided that I wanted to really commit to gaining muscle and strength. In December 2022, my kids started going to daycare every day, and I had the actual time to make fitness a priority. I made it my goal to go to the gym 3 – 4 times a week. At first I was thinking I wanted to “get in shape” for an upcoming vacation. But as a skinny girl, I learned pretty quickly that building muscle and getting stronger doesn’t happen in one month. Or two months. Or three months. My goals soon shifted, and I gained so much more than just muscle.
In one year, the outward changes have been pretty minimal, to be honest. Keep in mind, my goal was not to lose weight, but to gain muscle. And in one year, physically, I don’t look a whole lot different. I’ve gained a bit of weight, lost a tinch of fat. My clothes all fit about the same. If I was just focused on the physical look, I would say, not much has changed.
BUT SO MUCH HAS CHANGED! The other day I squatted 135lbs for 8 reps. I can hip thrust 200lbs!!! I have gotten SO strong in this past year. I feel more confident, more sure of myself. I sleep better and my energy levels are more consistent. My relationship with food has improved – I now eat to nourish, and am focused on protein. I feel so damn strong in SO many ways.
So what’s the take away here? First is that you should love your damn body. Right now, exactly as it is. Because even if you work your ass off for a year, you might not really be able to change it. Your movement practice should be for self love, not for self loathing.
Second, being consistent is the most important element of your fitness journey. Whether you’re going to yoga 3 times a week, walking for 15 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter how you move your body, but showing up matters. And showing up, even when you don’t really want to show up, is when you’ll start to see the real growth. The type of growth that is bigger and better than any number on a scale. This past year I lifted weights 3-4 times a week every single week (well with the exception of a couple vacations). I lifted when I was tired, a touch sick, hungover, on my period, feeling bloated, feeling sad, feeling unmotivated, too busy, too lazy… you name the excuse, I had it. And I still went to the gym. I just showed up anyways. It wasn’t always my best workout, but most of the time, once I started, it kind of felt the same. Sometimes overcoming the excuse and showing up gave me an extra boost!
In the beginning, I’ll be honest, I started lifting so that I could have a more toned look. I wanted a plumper butt and more defined shoulders. After about 2 months though, it became about SO much more. I think if it was only for the physical look, I probably would have given up. It became about feeling stronger. It became really important for me to make myself a priority. You see this life with kids thing is amazing and full and wonderful but… you can kind of lose yourself. You lose your identity. I wanted to be “Prestonne” again, and not just “Mama”. I showed up for myself and that’s been the real win. I made myself a priority, and honestly I feel pretty proud of my gains, even if they are only visible to me.
So here we are, December 1st. It’s about to get real quiet at the studio. And this is my reminder to keep prioritizing YOU in a season when you are often too busy and too overwhelmed and too tired. Keep going to yoga. Keep going on those daily walks. Keep lifting weights. Whether your goal is daily movement, or 3 times a week, just stay consistent! And then, on January 1st, when those ads pop up on your feed, you won’t be tempted to click. You’ll know that you’ve been showing up, even on those days when you weren’t really feeling it.
Here’s to a healthy holiday season!