For a long time, I let my age hold me back when it came to being the owner of a fitness-based business.
Many, MANY women scoffed at me, while looking over their librarian-esque reader glasses, telling me that I was simply too young, and they were simply too old to begin to lift weights. So, back to the recumbent bike or elliptical they went- romance novel in hand.
Am I wrong?
Are they on to something?
Is this really just a pipe dream in which I can only cater to the younger population of already able-bodied young adults?
Despite the small voice in my head telling me to quit while I was ahead, there was a much louder, much more persistent voice in my heart telling me to just. keep. on.
Over 3-months ago, I heard it again.
This time, within my own industry.
Another local business owner and personal trainer, a middle-aged woman herself, telling women that they should not be lifting heavy weights. “Do not flip tires. Do not deadlift. Do not squat. You will get hurt!”
My knee-jerk reaction was to write this woman a letter (my mother’s tried-and-true method of giving people a piece of her mind!) citing countless sources proving, over and over and over again, that weight training is countlessly beneficial ESPECIALLY for post-menopausal women for a number of reasons that reach far beyond the typical “but I just want to lose weight” diatribe.
Instead, and perhaps this really does mean that I, too, am growing older (and more mature!) I took to Facebook.
And I asked.
I asked real life women over the age of 40 to send me pictures of them lifting weights.
I received HUNDREDS of women, ecstatic to share their victories, their triumphs, their hard work.
Hundreds of real women- ranging anywhere from 30-65 years old- let me repeat- SIXTY. FIVE. YEARS. OLD.
Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, working, retired. Some were mothers to 1. Some were not mothers at all. Some were mothers to 5, 6, and even 9 children! Some had been lifting for years. Some for only 2 or 3 years. Some of them had lost weight. Some of them had not changed in their body shape at all- but rather, transformed their spirit.
Most of them started as beginners- never having exercised for the first 40 or even 50 years of their life.
As I created these collages, I became overwhelmed with emotion. Completely inspired by the time and dedication and obvious passion that poured out of each photo.
I became overwhelmed with excitement to continue to grow old and maintain my bad-ass-woman identity (something I was once afraid of losing to age, but now I know better.)
And then I became discouraged. Discouraged that there are still women out there who pedal an “anti-lifting heavy” movement.
Women that fear their own potential and never lift heavy to begin with.
Women who fear “getting bulky.”
Then I became enraged. Enraged that there could be any other movements out there- resistance band only bullshit. Pilates and Yoga only bullshit. Cardio Only Bullshit. Light weight only bullshit.
And then I became reinvigorated, knowing that, if you’ve yet to come to the dark side- you’re the one who’s missing out.
Look at each and every one of these photos- notice the stories behind each one; the time, the passion, the sacrifice, the GRIT, the work, the wrinkles, the sweat, the grey hair, the stretch marks, the muscles, the strength- which does not discriminate based on age, mind you.
These are real women. These are real women over 40 years old.
Lifting heavy is a way of life. It is a battle cry. It is one of the most beautiful and inspiring ways to channel all of life’s blessings and curses. It heals. It soothes. It builds. It creates. It breaks you down and then makes you whole again- somehow all at once.
This is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever done.
It’s one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen.
The small voice inside my head that once said “just stop” has been completely drowned out by the voice, louder than ever, even deafening now, that says “push on.”
These women, whom I’ve never met, contribute to that voice.
The loud one.
The resounding one.
And so, on I go.
Little ol’ me.
I will continue to fight to build a business that promotes women,
any of all ages, shapes, and sizes- to become stronger than they ever could imagine.
To pursue health. To pursue strength. To pursue greatness.
To stop holding themselves back. To quit playing small. To quit being afraid.
I will continue to cater to the women who have two voices: the quiet one that says “just quit” and the louder one that says “push on.”
Thank you, ladies, for contributing.
I am so honored that you sent in your photo and contributed to this message by sharing the beauty of your strength <3
Now, who’s ready to lift?!
If you’re located near West Chicago, IL, you can come lift with us by going here!
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