I wasn’t born with good physical genetics.  Building muscle was always a challenge for me as my young slender frame and fast metabolism left me feeling pretty scrawny as a young women. They called me a toothpick growing up, with legs that looked more like French fries than a power-house of strength.

When I left my small home-town in Leading Tickles, NL and stepped into the big city of St. John’s to attend University, I saw women sporty the muscle tone and fit physiques that for years I admired.

I had a decision to make, would I continue to grow jealous of their strong and sculpted physiques or would I grow focused to learn their ‘secrets’.  I chose the latter.

I punched fear in the face and stepped into the University gym (back then they called it the dungeon) and that is where my love affair with strength training begin.

I started in the weight-room, and like most women I felt overwhelmed, confused, intimidated and rather awkward.

I had ZERO clue what I was doing and I asked a ton of repetitive questions.

But I remember there was one day in particular that completely transformed how I saw my body, the gym and ultimately my life.

I guess you could call it my big gym ‘aha moment!’

I arrived at the gym sporting my favorite pair of shorts and crawled onto what I learned after the fact, was called a leg extension machine (the machine you see me using in the above picture).

I tucked my shins under the pads and extended my legs. What I saw when I looked down at my scrawny French fry legs changed my relationship with my body and the gym FOREVER!!!

My eyes beamed with delight, my heart pounded with excitement.

I finally had MUSCLE on my French fry legs!!!!

I realized in that moment that I didn’t have to ‘settle’ for the body that I had. That I now knew the ‘secret’ to sculpting the strong, toned and powerful physique I admired in others.

I realized in that very moment that all I had to do to sculpt the body of my dreams was to show-up, do the work, and to keep asking those repetitive questions.

And that’s what I did. Every day until I transformed my French fry legs into a powerhouse of strength.

Strength training was the ‘secret’ to sculpting the body I’d always wanted.

I learned that those once intimating, monster-looking pieces of medal where my sculpting tools, and that those sweaty, grunting, and at times ultra-scary ‘meathead’ looking dudes, where my greatest teachers.  (And Kristen, if you’re reading this…THANK YOU!)

What I learned inside those four dungeon walls was that the only thing stopping me from having the body and life I desired was ME.

I learned that I am 100% capable of making the changes I desired to see and that once I mastered this mindset in the gym, I applied it to all the other facets of your life.

I began to see the truth of your limitless potential.

If I was able to take my body and transform it into a stronger, and more powerful version of what it once was, using nothing more than a commitment to show-up consistently with the determination to try harder, what else could I transform in my life?

I started thinking bigger.

I started walking taller and prouder.

I become a “go-getter”.

An action taker.

A student of life. Committed to fearlessly asking the same questions, over and over again until I learned what I needed to learn.

There are only a few things in life that feel more empowering than lifting weights. Yet sadly, lifting weights as a woman gets a bad rep. Many shy away from it because they fear that lifting weights will make them look manly. And so they focus on cardio, with the goal to shrink themselves to become skinny, never ever pushing themselves to be STRONGER!!!!

Ladies, let’s STOP the obsession with shrinking ourselves.

Let’s start treating exercise as a means to be MORE, as opposed to viewing it as a never-ending struggle to be LESS.

Know your POWER.

Know your STRENGTH.

Find it in the gym and then take it outside and into your life.

You are not the spectator, but the CREATOR of your life!

The source of your creation lines WITHIN YOU!

Decide what you want, figure out a course of action and then just do it.

Don’t think how it will turn out or what will go wrong. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Don’t let it kill yours.

You have it in you to sculpt the body and the life if you dreams.

You can do that when you step into the powerful role as the creator, the SCLUPTOR!

So, go ahead and DO IT!!!

Step into the gym and into your life with the mindset of a sculptor and you will WIN in the end.

What surprising life-lessons have you learned from lifting weights?

Let me know in the comments below. I’d LOVE to hear all about your gym ‘aha moments’.

Stay tuned for Part III of the Life-Lessons Strength Training Has Taught Me.

And if you missed PART I, you can read it HERE.