It all began when I started going to the gym with my boyfriend.

The routine was simple: I hopped on a treadmill and he wandered around the corner to go and lift his ‘manly weights’.

This continued everyday for a very long time until one day he asked: Do you want to try out the weights with me?

I laughed. I’m not strong or manly enough to do that. And there it was left to ponder about until one day the curiosity got the better of me and I thought heck lets give it a shot.

The afternoon of my first venture to the free weights area was intense. Huge bouldering men leering at me as I nervously pondered around. The sound of smashing of weights was all around me joined by sudden strenuous moans. Intimidation was an understatement.

The first piece of equipment that i was introduced to was (my now beloved) squat rack. I looked at it like some sort of contraption meant to squish weaklings like myself.

‘Just try out the bar.’

So i did. And although i had no clue what i was doing- it happened, well something happened…leg cramp. Muscles i had rarely used were flailing.

I felt straight away like this was not meant for me and tried to head back off towards the familiar treadmill.

But i didn’t give up, i came back and tried the next day and the next day. Being introduced to more and more exercises and equipment until i was starting to make progress..and fast.

I was hooked. The feeling of completing a heavy set, the power and strength I was gaining was addictive.

I was making progress in my increases of weight i could handle but also visually- my arms, legs and abs were becoming more toned.

 

I gained a lot more energy and found previously difficult things easier such as carrying the shopping or opening tough jars.

My life had transformed. I oozed confidence- the huge bouldering men in the gym are now people whom i chat to in between sets. I often find myself giving out tips and technique advice to newcomers in the gym.

Perhaps most of all, i have grown to love my body not only because it is not more appealing but also because i am consistently impressed by how much it can be pushed.

Sasha Hoey