In middle school I had a tough teacher that coached us exercises afterschool. From decline push-ups to pull-ups, we were taught to use our bodyweight to build muscle and get stronger. I was still very weak, even when I had graduated middle school.
I joined cross-country in 9th grade as a 5'9" 130lb kid. At the very first try-out I overpaced myself from excitement and got tired very quickly. I looked bad, I know I looked bad, and so I didn't get invited to meets. During my first month of cross-country training, I learned about "isometric training" and holding muscle under tension for some time. I tried it on my quads by using a large rubber band and extending my quad for 10 seconds, for three reps each leg. After a week, they felt and looked stronger.
The turning point was when I was running laps and I thought, why don't I just lift weights instead? I need to get bigger! I researched weight-lifting programs and was also surprised to also discover a gym near my high school. As a 9th grader, I was very lucky to have the internet and a nearby gym that encouraged heavy lifting.
Why I Love it
As a 9th grader that struggled to do 10 push-ups in 7th grade, I was extremely proud when I hit 135lbs for one rep on the bench press. Now that I think about it, I wasn't very satisfied when I reached 135lbs squat for 5 sets of 5 reps - and I had hit this goal before the bench press. I knew 135lb squats couldn't be anywhere near my max, so I sought more self-improvement.
And that's another quality about lifting weights that I treasure: continuous change and overcoming obstacles. When I enter that gym and reach the next level, whether it's completing the same reps and sets with more weight or a circuit in less time, I feel great and a lot of anxiety is lifted from me. Working out is an excellent stress reliever because it throws you in the jungle, involved in an activity where you are competing against yourself.
I used to compete with others, in some sense. When I was 16 and I observed other very big, strong men lift weights, I thought, "that's going to be me soon." And it was, within three months. I set my vision to being a powerful weight-lifter that everyone else admired. It made me a narcissist, in a sense. Now I'm highly appreciative of everyone that goes to the gym and puts in their 100%; watching others give it their all inspires me and makes me feel compatible with the community. I love the weight-lifting community.