Monday, 6 November 2017

Discovering a love for weights

When lifting gets serious
Growing up, I was an active kid. I played netball, reluctantly took part on Sports Days and swimming galas, and my main love was dancing. Festivals, shows, competitions, summer schools, English Youth Ballet... I lived to dance.

At uni I danced as much as I could, whilst also doing zumba classes and dragging myself to the gym to slog it out on the cross-trainer (which I did not love but felt was a necessary evil).

Then I moved to London and my whole life changed.

A post shared by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on

As a lifestyle journalist, I'm extremely fortunate to be invited to swanky restaurant launches and rooftop cocktail parties and the like every night of the week. And because I am a normal human, I wanted to do them all.

I also did/do not have much money, so going to events often meant I didn't have to buy my own dinner.

So yes, I existed on champagne and mini burger canapΓ©s. (I know, poor Rachel. That must have been so hard.)

But it got to the point where it was taking its toll on my health. I was young enough not to get a hangover really (and I wasn't getting smashed every night of course) but I felt sluggish and tired. I put on weight too.

And it meant exercise had completely fallen by the wayside.

I would very occasionally go to a dance class or force myself to go to the gym and spend half an hour on a cardio machine, but I now see that was utterly pointless.

I'd totally fallen out of love with exercise.

But then. Then I started writing more about health and fitness at work (as well as all the food lol). I had the good fortune of being able to meet and train with some of London's top personal trainers and not only have I learnt so much, but I've found a type of working out that I love.

And that is weights.

About six months ago I worked out for a few weeks with PT to the stars, Nicola Addison (read all about it here) who basically reminded me how good it feels to actually move your body.

She eased me into resistance training, mainly using my bodyweight rather than any machines or equipment, and I learnt basic technique.

I was working out for half an hour three times a week, so it wasn't anything excessive. But I felt good. And if I went a few days without working out, I craved it. (Unheard of for me just a month earlier).

But it was in the summer that I really got into weights.

I went to train with the brilliant Rich Tidmarsh (article - complete with video footage and body transformation pics pray 4 me - coming to The Independent soon), and through a combination of PT and group training sessions at his gym, I realised I bloody love lifting weights.

It turns out deadlifts are my fave, and I am rather proud but also totally gobsmacked to say my PB is 105kg. I mean, I literally only did one at that weight. But I still did it.

I love lifting weights because it makes me feel strong. Unlike cardio. Which basically makes me feel like I'm weak and dying all the time. And if you think lifting weights doesn't leave you sweaty, out of breath and red in the face then you are WRONG, my friend.

I would leave a session with Rich with a face the colour of a post box, sweat dripping down my face and eye makeup having melted into panda eyes. It was a good look.

Lifting weights is incredibly satisfying. You can progress quite quickly, and when you see yourself being able to lift just a little bit more each time you come to the gym, you feel awesome.

Oh and another thing that feels incredible? Being able to lift more than the men. MAN, is that a good feeling. I mean, not all the men. Yet. But some of them. Honestly it's just the best. You feel invincible.

Working out with weights is also interesting and fun. Well, it's not boring at least. If you ask me, cardio is boring. But when training with weights, you're moving from exercise to exercise all the time. A workout goes really quickly.

One thing I will say is I've learned that it is absolutely essential to make sure you have the correct technique when working out with weights, and I hundy P recommend getting a PT even just for one session (I know they're pricey and I'm very lucky) to teach you how to do the main moves correctly.

You don't necessarily need to use the machinery and equipment (it can look pretty daunting, I feel you), but just learning how to do a few exercises with a dumbbell or kettle bell (another of my faves is kettle bell swings lol who even am I?) properly will stop you injuring yourself.
Many people think if you want to burn fat, cardio is the way to go. But from my experience and all the experts I've spoken to, this is not strictly the case. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn over the course of the whole day. It's awesome. My basal metabolic rate is now pretty sweet, ngl.

I mean, what works for one person isn't necessarily going to work for another though. If you love running, you run, my friend. But if you hate it, don't force yourself to spend half an hour on a treadmill because you're only going to end up hating exercise.

I'm trying to do some HIIT training alongside weights now because I think I could do with improving my cardiovascular fitness, but I don't love it.

And if you do detest cardio like me (except dancing, my true love), I implore you to try weights. It's honestly so fun.

And you will not end up looking like a stereotypical bodybuilder. I saw this image on Instagram recently and had to save it because I thought it was so good.

One change I have made since getting into weights is eating more protein. I've never been a big meat-eater, but I've realised that to fuel my fitness I need to. And I realise this is the opposite of what most people are doing what with cutting down on meat consumption.

Guys, I know about macros. I don't count them any more now that I'm not training with Rich, (and am also eating al the Christmas stuff for work) but I totally get them.

I am also now one of those people who drinks protein shakes and makes proats (that's protein oats) and protein pancakes though. I don't know how this happened. A year ago Rachel would not recognise current Rachel.
I didn't really realise how big a part of my life working out had become until I was chatting to a guy I was dating last month (he's now out of the picture cos classic). I was asking about what he did in the gym and he said, "I'm not as hardcore at working out as you."

I was like, what? Am I hardcore? Is fitness now part of my identity?

And d'you know what? I think it is. I actually love keeping fit. I try and workout four to five times a week, but I can feel that slipping as we enter the festive season. Because at the end of the day, I will always be the girl who loves rooftop cocktail parties. I just love lifting heavy things now too.

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