Test Yourself

After recently learning my body fat percentage I decided to incorporate heavier weightlifting into my training in order to trade a bit of fat weight for muscle weight. I dreaded it, frankly. For some reason I had decided that I was already lifting heavy enough weights, and in fact I think I had it in my mind that I couldn’t lift heavier weights.

One day in the gym I challenged that assumption.

Normally I do chest presses with dumbells, and I will pick up two 20 lb weights and do three sets of 15 reps. I’m feeling silly even telling you this, because on Test Day I picked up 22.5’s and did an easy set, then 25’s, then 30’s. With absolutely no difficulty. None whatsoever. I was sure this was a fluke.

I finished out arm and back exercises as usual then went over to the leg machines, still suspicious. Normally I’ll set the extensions on 30 lbs and do three sets of 15 reps. On Test Day I loaded 50 lbs and moved easily through two sets. Then 70 lbs. Another set, no problem. This was becoming embarrassing.

On leg presses I always pick 90 lbs, simply because anything over 100 sounds enormous. Test Day: I loaded 150, since it is more than I weigh and it seemed like a serious challenge. It was easy enough to finish two sets. In a moment of “Oh, this is just stupid, I’m not Superwoman,” I jacked it up to 210 and found I couldn’t even get the plates off the stack. “See,” I told myself, pulling it back down to 190, where I completed my last set, but had to work for it. But 190! A cool hundred pounds more than I had been doing! Why didn’t you tell me I was such a slacker?

I’m stronger than I thought. I’m Super Jr. Woman. Miz Up-and-Coming.

I’m going to keep shifting more of my exercises up until I can’t complete my long sets, but I’m going a bit at a time to avoid over-stressing anything. It’s been about 6 upgraded weightlifting workouts so far, and there have been no negative repercussions, problems, or difficulties.

Let my oversight be your lesson: test yourself! You never know what you can do until you try. Trite as hell, but also true. I’m not sure how I missed it all this time.

But I’m on my way now.

Image credit: mrflip on Flickr

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3 Responses to Test Yourself

  1. Rob Mars July 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    Lisa: You are stronger than you thought. Much stronger. This was a fascinating experiment. I’m sure other women will find it instructive, and it may prompt some to test their own strength.

    Keep us updated on your progress!

  2. Lisa Creech Bledsoe July 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    Will, do Rob, thanks so much for the encouragement. Your blog helps, too!

  3. Jim Hemenway July 29, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    With the dedication you bring to training and to diet you will be way stronger than you realize. The diet component is 90% or more. Heck, I ride with a guy who does nothing but push ups and sit ups (and rides for his cardio) and he is a freak of nature. His diet is so clean it makes me ashamed (actually as bad as my diet has been the last 3 months, someone who eats Burger King daily would make me look bad) and this is the key to his strength and endurance. Congrats on the good work.

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