Women Don’t Lift!

Women don’t lift, women run and do yoga or pilates, women take fun Zumba classes and do Soul Cycle classes, right?

While all of these other exercise classes are fun and I have done at least one of all of them in my lifetime, they come along with the assumption that … Women Don’t lift!

Now I bought into this myth that “women don’t lift because they don’t want to bulk” for years, I was scared of the bench press (okay lets be real it still scares me a little) I was scared to pick up weights that were heavier than 10 pounds and weren’t pink or purple. I was scared that I would do just what I was avoiding, bulk up!

But then when running wasn’t accomplishing anything for me in the weight department, I was the same size and I was bored out of my mind while running,  I have never been a very good runner and running distances just made me bored. I started researching weight lifting, Mr. was made for weightlifting his body was clearly designed to lift heavy things, so he has always been good at this at the gym. I found Adrianna Osuna on Instagram and started researching powerlifting, and looking at body shape instead of only focusing on the shape.

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She inspired me to pick up not only her book about her nutrition and weight lifting programs but to also pick up the darn weights! And let me tell you, lifting weights that weren’t pink or purple and weighed more than 10 pounds was scary at first, but it feels damn good! I feel strong and my body looks and feels good!

I am officially under 200 pounds!!! Which has been my goal for over a year I started out at 230, the heaviest that I ever was and have been trying everything from the Whole30 to be vegetarian and nothing made me feel or look as good. I am sitting at 195 pounds and I feel great, I am getting my hourglass shape back and feeling good!

So enter the next problem … since you know women don’t lift right, there are NO good weightlifting apps designed for women, I found one that says designed for women and if you are anything more than a beginner you have to pay over 100 dollars for . the year! Now my husband has his pick of 10 FREE weightlifting apps that will identified his body type and help him find his one rep max and work through how much he should lift each time and how many reps he should do, progressively getting heavier working the correct muscle groups each day, but for me I get to use 1 . app that was actually designed for males but has some women’s fitness, it doesn’t help calculate how many pounds I should be lifting each time or when to increase weight, I am on my own. So then I downloaded the nike training app, more of the same for the women I got body weight exercises  and yoga, . .. I DON’T WANT TO DO YOGA!

So again I turned to Adrienne’s, surely there has to . be a powerlifting program for women out there, I can’t go to a class or crossfit, and seriously I shouldn’t have to because women can lift things okay. And sure enough she had her own program, that helps me increase weight find my one rep max and speaks to me like WOMEN ARE STRONG AS HELL! Because we are, so stay tuned for lifting progress pictures updates and PR’s because!

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FEMALES ARE STRONG AS HELL!

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Here is me, reminding myself that “I am enough!” and feeling super great in my clothes last Fri-yay! 

-Rae

 

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A step inside a Libyan Engagement . . .

Tonight I attended my first engagement party ever.. and it was a Islamic engagement party, there were five of us that had been invited to our friend from Uni’s party. Over the course of this year I had become comfortable asking her questions that may offend others, I asked about the different culture practices, how she felt about Libya, what her wedding (a hypothetical at that point) would be like, the practices of hijab wearing and so on. So when she invited us to her engagement party, we jumped right in to asking questions.

Will there be men there? What should we wear? How will the engagement work?

Now since this was an arranged marriage we asked all sorts of things about that practice as well we learned as much about the practice as we could.

But when I entered this room it was still a shock, some of the most gorgeous women were dressed to the nines a roll away cart filled with Hijab’s and coats sat next to the door,a threshold where you no longer had to be restricted or worry about the happenings of the other gender.

These women had the most beautiful hair of all cuts, colors and styles they had curled it, straightened it, in updo’s. women I otherwise would have spent the night wondering about their hair now moved freely with gorgeous tresses on every head. These women were dressed in full make-up and gorgeous dresses, dressed up for each other, and themselves because truly that is who women have to dress up for everyday as it is. . .

I was lucky enough to sit at the table with the grooms family, Libyans via London, and the nicest women I have been in quite some time. They shared there customs with me, they told me what every piece of food I had on my plate was and invited me to London to relive this experience all over again in December.

While I am sure American’s have these same interactions at weddings, and make new life long friends there was something about this particular experience that was different, I don’t know if it was the fact that it was all women, and therefore no need to compete for the attention of the men in the room, or if it is a cultural difference that somehow in our capitalist, self preservation, separation  of Church and State society that we have lost. Something about this culture welcomed me in.

We ate, we talked, we laughed and enjoyed the celebration of our good friend, and new sisters engagement,  during the middle of dinner about 8 oclock, some women began to leave the various dining tables and make their way to the hijab holder, grab their beautiful over coats and hi jabs and make their way to the back of the room, almost out of sight but not quite. At first the 5 of us that were not Islamic were quite confused and then just as silently these women began praying, one of their 5 daily prayers, in groups of 2 or 3 women made their way back to complete this ritual. There was no interruption of the party even though the party of 98% women who partake in this act of Faith, they allowed the party to go on and each took part in their faith in their own way.

There is something beautiful about that, that these women did not feel the need to flaunt their faith or make their faith more important or better than anyone else’s this was a conversation between them and Allah and they were the only ones that needed to be involved. I think that this type of relationship with your God is a sign of true faith in whichever religion you are practicing.

Then came the dancing, a moment  when 30 women crowded on the dance floor to show off their moves to each other, there was traditional Arabic music and dancing, there was wonderful booty shaking that I think I could master with more practice, there was laughter and trilling that I could not get my tongue to manifest. Then in the middle of it, the music changes to . . . Trap Queen. and every one of these faithful women jumped onto the dance floor, began dancing away and singing every word!

In that moment I looked around, made eye contact with my two friends that were there with me and just thought, ” I love this moment.” ” I have never been more happy to have a new cultural experience than I am right now.

We spent the night celebrating, no competition, no petty drama, just women enjoying the moment in the life of our friend and each other.

And as I left I gave each of my new friends two kisses on each cheek, as four is traditional in Libya, as I learned and said goodbye and I hope to see them in December.

So how can we create these moments, these times when we are all so welcomed into a new cultural accepted as ignorant and unknowing but taught the ways and loved for our attempts at culture? When is there a space in our everyday life that we can invite someone into our culture and take the time to step into theirs? When we are comfortable enough to make the effort with no judgement no reservations?

I hope that I am able to find more times to step into other cultures to learn more about Libya and Islamic culture and to welcome them into mine.

❤ Kelsi Rae