when i decided to make the switch from distance running to powerlifting – even if just until my meet in october – i did so knowing that my body was about to change. i guess i didn’t realize how quickly and drastically that would happen.
my eating has also changed, which is a fun kind of adventure. in order to continue to make gains in my lifts, i needed to up my protein, and change my mindset from “long run give me ALL THE CARBS!!” to “meat lover’s omelet with a side of fruit, please.”
in the past month since i made the shift, three significant physical changes have occurred: (1) i gained about 5 pounds; (2) i lost a full percentage off my body fat; and (3) i experienced a quad/hamstring/butt expansion that i didn’t think possible in such a short amount of time.
i’m still adjusting to this newly changing body, whose changes are, i’m sure, just beginning. i walk differently – my legs are bigger and it has changed my gait considerably. my lats and upper back have expanded, giving me a hint of an hourglass silhouette (the kind one gets from lats rather than cleavage). i no longer have that long, lean look of a distance runner; i’m more compact, wider…i take up more space.
i certainly battle with this notion, this fact: i am bigger than i was in the not-too-distant past. and, more than likely, i will continue to get bigger as my training moves along.
and sometimes i panic.
“i don’t WANT to be bigger!”
“what if people don’t realize it’s MUSCLE and not FAT that i gained?!”
“can’t i just keep my runner’s body but lift heavy?”
i’ve spent a lot of my life equating “getting bigger” with some sort of failure, an outward sign that you’re unable to control your body’s very simple and basic desires and needs. and this is, of course, a load of bullshit. but it’s bullshit to which i faithfully subscribed for well over a decade.
old habits die hard.
last week i deadlifted 175#, EMOM (every minute on the minute) for 12, and then did a final set of reps to failure, where i pulled six. that’s six reps at 175#, after having pulled it off the ground 12 times prior to that. four weeks ago i struggled to pull that weight for a triple.
i’m getting stronger. yes, i’m getting bigger, but more importantly, i’m getting stronger. i can’t help but be excited by that.
there is nothing wrong with taking up space – more space than before or any space at all. it’s my body’s way of saying “i’m here, and i matter.” because i am. and i do.