The weight room

Getting jacked. Juiced. Swoll. Pumping iron. Going to the gun show. However you spin it, if you’re a Nordic skier, you’re bound to spend a good chunk of time strength training in the gym (unless you’re a mutant who grows muscles too fast and has to stop doing strength, Eric Packer.)

For a long time, I dreaded strength training. Lifting in mostly public gyms, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the dynamic that resulted from being the only female in a room full of grunty, sweaty, testosteroney men (“No, thank you, I do not need a spot”). I also wasn’t particularly fond of being inside. Or pull up bars.

But, in this big, exciting summer of transition, I’m coming around to strength training. Whether it be from lifting in a huge, private gym, or having a coach that enjoys spending 87% of his time in that huge, private gym, I’ve really started to embrace strength sessions.

As an athlete, aside from my bulging biceps, I’ve noticed a few changes in my behavior resulting from my time spent lifting. I call it my musclemorphisis.

As you can see from my sleeveless apparel, I do.
As you can see from my sleeveless apparel, I do.

First of all, I now hate sleeves. If it’s not a tank, cut off, or straight sports bra, I’m not going to wear it. I mean, I need to give my delts and triceps room to breathe, you know? How am I supposed to clean, bench, dip, twist, turn, heave, hoe or mix up my muscle milk if I have lousy sleeves in my way? I can’t. That’s the answer.

Next, I’ve developed a weight room waddle. I’ve found it key for asserting my dominance in the gym, like a mobile power stance. At first, I noticed my new gait only after I did any leg lifting, but now it appears the instant I come within a ten-meter radius of dumbbells. I adopt a bow-legged stride, keeping my arms wide and my knees distant, as if to say, “Yeah, I’ve gotten so jacked that if my thighs touch, they spontaneously combust. So, uh…watch out.”

I have also gained an inflated image of how strong I actually am (I know, I know, you totally didn’t notice from the rest of this post). I have this problem where I think I can lift a lot more than I actually can. The problem increases exponentially when there are males/cameras/stronger athletes in the room.

Finally, I have adopted a personal version of the manly grunt. It’s born for a concoction of unapologetic, sleeveless sweating, anticipation and fear that my thighs might touch, and the fact that I am, usually, lifting too much.

All and all, I think it’s a pretty positive transformation. Still working on my appreciation of the pull up bar.

See you at the bench.


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