Why I Love . . . weightlifting

Laura Walsh on the ‘buzz’ of lifting weights

Laura Walsh on weightlifting: "Don’t be afraid to gain muscle. It won’t make you bulky"

Laura Walsh on weightlifting: "Don’t be afraid to gain muscle. It won’t make you bulky"

 

I joined group classes in Endeavour Gym in January 2014, just after my 21st birthday. I had gained a lot of weight (which turned out to be an underactive thyroid) and knew I had to do something to help get back into shape and boost my confidence levels.

It was working with the personal trainers there that got me interested in weightlifting. I became interested in nutrition too, so that helped with regards to understanding the biological factors of eating well, and how diet and training go hand in hand.

I read a lot of Lyle McDonald, Alan Aragon, and listen to Sigma Nutrition podcasts, which all help inform my training today.

My typical workout is a combination of compound lifts which include squats, bench presses and deadlifts. I look to progressively overload those lifts every week, whether that be increasing the weight or by increasing the volume (the number of reps lifted at that weight). I currently train four to five times a week, and each session lasts just over an hour.

I love the “buzz” of training, and even on the days I’d rather be at home sitting on the couch, nothing beats a good session once I get started. I have to make a conscious effort to move as my thyroid condition makes me feel very tired, and exercise definitely combats those symptoms.

Mental health

Shutting off your brain from the world for an hour really helps your mental health too, alongside the endorphins that working out releases. I currently follow a powerlifting programme, and maybe in the future I’ll compete in a competition!

For anyone who is considering getting started, I would say invest in a good coach. Read science-backed recommendations from the likes of Jeff Nippard and Stephanie Buttermore. Don’t be afraid to gain muscle – it won’t make you bulky. And finally, stick with it – you only have one body to live in, take care of it.

In conversation with Jo Linehan

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