If you would have asked me six months ago if I would ever give up weightlifting, I would have responded with a sarcastic laugh and then said, “Are you kidding me?” Up until a couple of months ago, weightlifting was my life, along with HIIT workouts. I loved the natural high I got from lifting heavy weights, especially doing lower body focused lifts. It was a stress reliever to me and made me feel empowered. I always had a muscular, athletic body type and once I realized I would never have the chicken legs I admired on so many women, I decided I might as well capitalize on what God blessed me with. Due to the heavy lifting, I was also constantly sore and tight. I would always convince myself though that this meant I had a really good lifting session and if I was sore, my body was burning more calories. As I type this I just want to slap my old self’s head. I truly believed everything I told myself back then without hesitation.
When COVID hit in March 2020, anybody who was a regular at a gym with weights had their lives turned upside down. I remember thinking, “What am I going to do, the gym is my stress reliever” and “I have no access to weights for two weeks. I am going to lose all my muscles”. I had no idea how I was going to get through the next two weeks with no access to the gym. Little did I know, it would extend far beyond two weeks and my initial anxiety only increased over the next two months. Fast forward to the beginning of May and Flobility now becomes a part of my life. For more details on the weeks leading up to enrolling in Flo and what the first couple of weeks looked like, refer to my first blog post titled, Taking the Plunge Into Flobility.
My Previous Beliefs about Weightlifting
My faith is a big part of my life and looking back on my journey with Flobility, I truly believe that God had me find this program during a time when I had no other choice but to fully commit to it. Overall, I am someone who does not mind change, however when I love something, I am incredibly loyal and devoted to it. That is how I felt about weightlifting. But, with the gyms still closed at the beginning of May and still no access to weights, I had no choice but to only do Flo. I told myself I would do Flobility as my main workout until the gyms opened back up. Once the gyms opened back up, I made a plan to then go back to weightlifting and do Flo every once in a while. This is what I told myself every day for the first two weeks of the program. But, why did I have this mindset? Why was I so set on weightlifting that I was wanting to not have any results from Flobility just to prove to myself that weightlifting is the best type of workout out there?
The answer to both of those questions has to do with my beliefs. If you look up the word ‘belief’ in the dictionary, you will see a definition similar to, “An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists”. Diving deeper into that, our beliefs are subconscious states of being. These perceptions are strung together and without knowing, we view our life through the lens of our past.
Some of the beliefs I had about weightlifting and fitness, in general:
The only way to grow muscles is by lifting heavy weights.
The only way to have defined muscles is by lifting lighter weights and incorporating cardio.
If you want to be incredibly skinny, you have to do insane amounts of cardio.
There is no changing your body type. Some women don’t have hips and don’t have a tiny waist because of their genes.
If I am not adding more reps or increasing my weight each workout, I will not see any results and will plateau.
The bigger my muscles were, the more fat and calories I burned constantly, whether at rest or working out.
Since I have always had very muscular legs, I will never not have big thighs, so I might as well capitalize on them.
The Reticular Activating System
To build on our beliefs, we each also have what is called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Joe Dispenza, one of the most influential researchers of all time, goes into way more depth of this system and if you want to read more I will put a link at the bottom of this post for you. In a nutshell, our RAS seeks data that validates the beliefs we have and therefore, affects the way you observe the world around you. It recognizes patterns and then looks for evidence to prove our beliefs. This, without a doubt, explains why I was in denial that I would see results from Flobility. I had the belief that weightlifting was the best type of workout out there and that it was the only way to see results. I followed workout influencers on Instagram who also had this mentality and every time I would watch their stories or see a picture of them posing, it gave me evidence that the belief I had was valid. When they would talk about being sore and tight after their workouts, it validated my own soreness. All of my beliefs were constantly validated by my crafting of who I followed and what content I consumed.
On the other hand, our Reticular Activating System gets activated when we experience strong emotion and/or come across something new. What was new to me in Flobility? The answer is absolutely everything. Every single thing I believed about fitness was being challenged. But, anyone who does Flobility knows that Jordan and the other trainers never tell us to stop lifting weights or stop doing whatever other exercises we are doing. They do not force us to commit 100% to only doing Flo, they simply say, “You can do whatever you want. I am not going to tell you to stop doing what you’re doing because you will realize it on your own”. I did not know what this statement meant until about three weeks into the program when the gyms around here began to open back up. I decided to go to one of my boot camp classes at the gym I was a part of. Just like pre-quarantine, the class was 45 minutes full of insane HIIT/cardio with heavy weights incorporated. When I got home from boot camp that day, I had felt as if I was hit by a semi-truck. I was incredibly sore, very weak, and sluggish for the next two days. I soon realized that this feeling is what Jordan was talking about. That was the first and last workout I did outside of the Flobility program.
My New Beliefs
As I reflect back on the last five months of Flobility, so much has changed physically and mentally. I honestly feel like I was brainwashed by the fitness industry because I now laugh at all of the thoughts I believed. Some of my new thoughts and perceptions are:
Back pain, hip pain and knee pain is not inevitable as you age. It is the effect of having a weak core, weak hips, and a compressed spine over a long period of time.
A bad anterior pelvic tilt can make you think you have big glutes, when you really do not.
You can have a tiny waist without having to do insane amounts of cardio and eating lettuce for every meal.
Once you decompress your lumbar and open up your hips, you can grow your hips and get rid of your hip dips.
Your extremities, aka your legs and arms, are not meant to be loaded and large in size.
You can get huge gains in muscles by correctly using your own body weight, without using weights.
The stronger my core, the more open my hips and the less compressed by spine is, the more calories/fat my body is burning 24/7 because no matter what position my body is in, I never lose my strong middle.
The body type the fitness industry promotes for both men and women, is not effective or efficient long-term.
Below is a side by side progress picture of me for reference. The left side is pre-Flobility and the right side is three months into Flobility.
It’s important to also recognize that everyone has different fitness goals. I am not here to say you will die if you have huge quads or huge biceps and maybe you like how that looks visually. I am also not saying weightlifting is the worst thing in the world and everyone should stop doing it. However, it is always important to reassess and be self-aware of the beliefs we carry. Am I saying no to something because I truly do not want to do it or is it because it does not coincide with the beliefs I have?
Link to RAS and Joe Dispenza