Heal Thyself: Strength Training

I might have mentioned somewhere in all this that someone suggested I stop strength training because I was over-developing certain muscles and it was pulling some of my joints out of alignment and I should just focus on body weight training.  Well, I did that.  For a year.  And my body felt worse.  In all fairness, it’s probably because I wasn’t body weight training evenly.  I was doing circus stuff, which can get one-sided real quick.  I’d been avoiding joining a gym in Missoula for a variety of reasons, but after realizing that my schedule (and the weather) just doesn’t allow me to get all my exercise outside or in the studio, I finally decided to bite the bullet and find a gym.  I looked into a few different places and eventually settled on MUST (Missoula Underground Strength Training), and I’m SO glad I did.

MUST offers a few different options for training:  1) Regular gym style training, where you can go in and use the equipment and do your own workouts, 2) Personal training, which is your typical one-on-one training, and a cool, unique in-between option, 3) Group personal training, which is where the head coach designs a program for you based on your goals and abilities and then you can come in for a supervised workout.  There’s always a coach on the floor who can come over and help you out if you need it, but they’re not holding your hand through the whole process.  I opted for the group personal training because my form and work ethic are decent and I have a pretty good understanding of weight training and fitness, but, quite frankly, I don’t have time or energy to plan my own workouts anymore.  Plus, I’m sick of plateauing.

I just started my third month and so far it’s great!  All the trainers are lovely humans – they know everyone by name and are really knowledgeable and helpful.  Along with the structural integration therapy (more on this next post), weight training is something that has made a clear difference.  Not only do I feel stronger and fitter, my right shoulder is manageable.  It still hurts sometimes and it’s easily tweaked, but I finally feel like it’s healing and that I have some tools for making it better.  Plus, I hadn’t realized how much I missed weight training.  I once read a FB meme saying something like “If you want to feel energized, do cardio; if you want to feel calm, stretch; if you want to feel confident, lift.”  I’d forgotten how empowering strength training is – it’s exciting to make measurable gains, to fight for those last three reps, to peel away a new layer of callouses after each training session, to have the goal of being bigger, stronger and MORE, not smaller, lighter and LESS, to be in an environment where I’m not the “kind of bigger flier,” but the “super strong chick.”  And while I appreciate the compliment, it’s like they say over at Tuff Girl, “I’m not strong for a girl.  I’m just strong.”

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