I Should've Been a Ballerina instead of a Powerlifter: What to do When People Hate What you Love

We all have our vices. The things we love to do even if people think it may kill us. It is why people play tackle football. It is why yogis do headstands or ballerinas do point. It is why long distance runners lose toenails and stress their joints for marathons. It is why I lift heavy weight.

If I had chosen any other vice - to run, to be a ballerina or a yogi - no one would look at me differently. However, it appears that since I have chosen to lift weights, everyone with a opinion finds a way to come out to share offhand comments. They believe I’m going to hurt myself, that I’m doing it wrong, that anything I feel is because I lift. (Oh yes Dad my cramps are really because I deadlifted today).

As much as I can let it roll off my shoulders and pretend like it doesn’t bother me, I fall back into the habit of stuffing it down like a box of donuts until I overflow. I want people to love what I do as much as I love it. I want the resounding voice to be of support rather than resistance. I would love to be able to talk to my family about it rather than hiding because I am afraid of backlash.

People do things everyday that can be “harmful” to them. We can hide our nasty little obsessions, we can listen to the lectures about why we should quit them, or we can live our lives however the f*#k we want to. It is the unintentional lesson that lifting has shared with me. That everyone has an opinion. I can harbor resentment each time someone tells me I’m going to break my body squatting or I can set boundaries. I can remind myself that I am the only person that knows my body, my mind, my feelings, my joy when I do what I do. I can find courage to honor my choices and hold tight to my happiness and my truth. I take the heavy weight of other people’s negativity off of me and I put the damn barbell on my back.

Do you Really Want to Know What I Do? My Full Workout Routine Revealed

A lot of people recently have come up to me and commented, “You look great!” “You look skinny” “You look buff” “You look (fill in the blank with something incredibly sweet)”. However, every compliment is almost always followed by the question: What do you do?

Typically I explain my routine. I am currently training for a powerlifting competition. I do heavy powerlifting exercises about 3 days a week, Olympic lifts 2-5 days a week, and do accessory exercises 2 days a week. I was also massing for my meet, which led me to eat around 2500 calories a day for the past few months.

The response to all of that is one of a few things: Delayed WTF face or “Woah! You are crazy! I could never do that!” Or a beautiful combination of both. Their response usually has me questioning why I go through explaining my routine when I really would prefer to say in the kindest way possible, “Do you really want to know what I do?” I think people truly expect me to know some secret, easy way to look great but I have nothing special to share.

I don’t think people really want to understand that getting where I am wasn’t pretty. It took dedicating two hours in the gym no matter what. If I’m busy or just utterly exhausted, I make it to the gym 5 days a week. For all of you that love peanut butter, the love dies just a little bit when you have to eat tablespoons of it to the face every day to hit your weight goals. I look buff, skinny, or whatever you call it because I committed to it like Kim Kardashian commits to taking selfies and girls commit to documenting their Sunday brunch on snapchat.

This is not a rant for someone to give me a pat on the back. It is for anyone that thinks that the path to get to where I am is either easy or took losing my life in the process. It is neither one of those. I live my life but I make it a habit to actively strive to get stronger and better. My routine does not involve taking a diet pill or starving myself. It simply boils down to hard work and consistency. It is everything you could be doing once you stop telling yourself you can't. You can! So I’ll ask, “Do you really want to know what I do?”