Ladies and gentlemen… powerlifting is not a pretty sport. In fact, if you told me at any point in my life prior to 2019 that I would be passionately into powerlifting, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. I had never picked up a barbell in my life up until the end of 2019 but it was also the best decision I ever made for myself.
You have to be a psychopath to voluntarily lift heavy weights for fun, week after week, month after month, year after year. If you want to, you can compete against other psychopaths with the same goal of who can lift the most weight.
There is no monetary reward (although that’s slowly changing these days), there are really no accolades other than bragging rights if you care about that kind of stuff and maybe a cheap plaque of some sort. Oh and having your name on a website with your meet numbers (https://www.openpowerlifting.org/).
How Powerlifting Improves Mental Health
Powerlifting has helped me in so many ways. It has brought out a level of discipline in me I never thought was possible. I call my gym time my “therapy”. I go in, I take out all my anger and emotions on the weights, and I walk out feeling amazing. I have reached a level of strength I never thought was possible from myself. I have some muscles that are visible and I still cannot believe that it is MY body with these muscles even though I have body dysmorphia (but that is a story for another day).
How Strength Training Increases Confidence
Prior to 2019, I had seen videos here and there of powerlifters and I couldn’t believe the strength that these humans possessed.
The women were particularly impressive to me, my mind could not comprehend how they could lift and move so much weight. I remember in September of 2019 when Carla, one of the personal trainers I had, asked me “What is your goal, Lindsey?!” I looked at her and replied, “I want to be a powerlifter”.
I still remember to this day how stupid I felt after saying that, I was very overweight, and weak as shit. Carla was happy with my response though and encouraged me to follow through with my goal. Fast forward to yesterday night, 12/10/23, and I hit a PR (personal record) on my deadlifts! I deadlifted 300lbs for 5×2 beltless!! If you aren’t familiar with lifting, that means I picked up 300lbs off the floor 10 times total, and I did not use a lifting belt. Carla would be super proud of me as she was one of the best trainers I ever had.
What Carla and most others don’t know though is that I have always struggled with my mental health. Lifting provides me with a healthy outlet for my emotions. Of course, I still want to go to therapy in the future because I believe it is very beneficial. I only wish that I would have started lifting at a much younger age but I started in my early 30s and it is never too late to start!
So if you were looking for a sign to pick up a barbell, this is it! You don’t need to go all crazy and shouldn’t in the beginning. Weightlifting has so many benefits for people of all ages! If you too struggle with mental health, I highly recommend hitting the gym or even implementing daily walks to start.
Movement truly is medicine!