• Carson Hathaway

Should I start lifting again?

Going to the gym and lifting weights is an extremely popular activity. Many people use this as their way of getting enough exercise. I'm not against the idea of lifting per se, but I believe that many people don't do it for the right reasons. I've maintained that lifting weights doesn't suit my lifestyle. I play numerous sports which help me stay in shape. I also don't find being jacked necessary.

Many people want to get big for no other reason than to look good at the beach. Or, to impress strangers on Instagram with shirtless photos. If either of those things is your primary reason for lifting, please re-evaluate what you're doing. There are numerous sports, such as football and basketball, where being strong is recommended. If you're an athlete and lift because it will help you in your sport, good for you.

There are some sports and activities where being either strong or skinny makes no difference. Some Olympic runners are even skinnier than I am (which is saying something). No one in their right mind would say that those guys aren't in shape. While lifting might be one way to stay in shape, it's certainly not the only way.

I decided I was going to start lifting in June of 2018. Despite struggling at first, I stuck with it. The weights I lifted kept increasing as I continued to practice. The amount of time I spent at the gym was never the issue. What I did at the gym was the issue.

Weightlifting experts will tell you that focusing on specific body parts on different days is paramount. For example, one might decide to focus on legs and shoulders one day. The next day might be spent focusing on the back and biceps. I didn't do anything like that. I used the same six to seven machines and hoped for the best. I didn't even know which specific muscle I worked on.

If that wasn't bad enough, I didn't change my eating habits due to my new workout routine. After lifting, I'd often go to the school dining hall and eat multiple slices of pizza and three chocolate chip cookies. I now realize that eating protein and limiting your sugar intake before, during, and after your workouts is ideal. I previously thought I only needed to repeatedly lift the same six to seven weights at the same to see results.

In late 2015, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. This incurable illness causes stomach pain, fevers, fatigue, and uncontrollable and sudden bowel movements. I've had to stay at least a week in the hospital on three separate occasions. I take prednisone, which limits and sometimes erases the effects of my chronic illness. However, my doctor wants me to stop taking prednisone due to its side effects. When I cut down on prednisone, I'll often feel sick and have constant diarrhea. As a result, I'll increase my dosage of prednisone and hope I won't see those side effects when I get down that far again.

Junk food will worsen the effects of Crohn's disease. Especially ice cream. Despite that, I can't help myself when I see sugary foods in the Dining Hall or at home. If there's junk food around me, I know I will eat it. However, there's one thing I could do that I know would rid me of that bad habit.

As I said before, it's not ideal for people who work out to eat in an unhealthy manner. I'm certain I wouldn't want to eat junk food if I began lifting weights. I wouldn't want to waste all the time, and probably even money that would go into me consistently lifting again.

As previously stated, I'm not the world's biggest fan of lifting. I'd rather be muscular than skinny, but a great-looking body wouldn't mean that much to me. However, I know that lifting would end my bad eating habits. Eating a cookie feels nice for the five seconds you're eating it. Afterward, that cookie you ate will only hurt you. That's an extreme level of instant gratification. So, should I begin lifting again?

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