When I started looking for a gym, I asked a friend that trains powerlifters in Houston how to find a gym doing weights. She suggested I google ‘weightlifting’ and ‘powerlifting’ to find a gym. BlackBox was the first gym that came up and less than a mile from my school. I dug around the website and it seemed like a great place that focused on fitness and nutrition. (At this point I had no clue powerlifting and weightlifting were different.) I have now been with BlackBox about 15 weeks including the one-on-one sessions with Shanna.
When I called Shanna to discuss BlackBox’s program I explained my goals were a little different than most. I just wanted a workout that would ‘clear’ my mind of school and get healthier in the process. I did not have a goal for weight loss or to compete, I just wanted to feel healthier. Shanna told me that I would not be able to think about school and weightlift at the same time, she was right. I typically do not think about school while I am working out. A huge plus since starting at BlackBox is I have lost over 16 lbs (even without a weight loss goal) and I have gotten stronger faster than I thought I would. Even more unexpectedly, I have made friends and look forward to working out. My long-term goal at this point is to make healthier eating and working out a permanent lifestyle change.
Since the first month at BlackBox, I tell everyone about this gym! I love BlackBox and think that it has done so much more for me then I could have imagined when I filled out the online information form 4 months ago.
When Dutch asked me for a testimonial, I laughed and thought; “me? I’m not the strongest or fittest in the gym, what could I possibly have to share?” He said, “I think you have an interesting story, if you look back from where you started when you first walked in.”
I started BlackBox shortly after it opened in May 2011. Since I work next door, I had been seeing all of the activity and was curious as to what new store was going in. When I found out it was a gym, I was even more curious. My husband and I had been members of the big gyms in the past, until we built our house and put in a home gym. We were doing Crossfit and some weight training from home, but it was “challenging” for me to have my spouse also be my trainer/coach. (I’m sure Meggie & Dutch can relate) After my introductory session I signed up with my initial plan of giving it a try for 6 months and seeing if I liked it or not.
I was given a little notebook those first couple of sessions and was told to log in my workouts and keep track of my weights and times (see page 31 of blogs). Looking back now, I’m glad I kept up with this because it has provided me a sense of reflection and accomplishment that I wasn’t seeing on a day to day basis. I could show you my before and after numbers now and that would be proof enough – but I’ve learned so much more from Dutch.
I have learned about proper nutrition, and the effect “real” food and eating right has on your body. In that initial introductory session, Dutch went over my usual meal plan. At that time I was eating a bowl of Cheerios and OJ for breakfast (sounded healthy enough at the time), a sandwich for lunch (usually from Subway, and that’s healthy, right?) and a light supper. I can now say, that I no longer eat like this. Although, food continues to be an area I am constantly challenged and learning about, I feel I have made great strides in this. A couple of months ago, I competed in a meet that I had to “make weight” for. This is yet another first for me (along with the singlet, but that’s another story!) Dutch taught me that cutting out carbs the week prior will give me the results I needed. I only need to lose 1 kg, so it wasn’t’ a huge issue. But it was an interesting lesson on the effects of carbs and how they affect your body. (I’m happy to report no one was injured during this week and I’m still married) If you don’t understand, I’ll be happy to explain.
Speaking of that meet – it was about February of this year (2012) that I decided to make weightlifting my main focus, so that I could work on my technique and get stronger for future competitions. It’s not to say that I don’t miss the Group Classes, because I do, well, except for running, burpees, and that damn AirDyne! But I truly enjoy the challenge and technicality (sometimes frustrations) of the snatch and clean & jerk. I know that I still have a lot to learn about the mental focus needed to get up on the platform, all alone, in front of people, in a very revealing singlet and achieve a good lift. I realize that I will never be at the competitive level of Dutch & JB, but it’s still pretty cool to be a girl and lift heavy weights. Plus I feel it is good for everyone to step out of their comfort zone every once in awhile. I just hope one day there will be more girls in the gym to lift with.
Other random things I’ve learned along my journey (and this isn’t a complete list): 1) the importance of rolling-out and that our foam rollers aren’t really foam, 2) the “art” of bailing-out/dropping the bar properly, 3) 1kg = 1kg, or 2.2 pounds, 4) the importance of rest between sets, and 5) ice packs and heating pads are our friends.
My initial 6 month trial period has long expired and I have new goals and expectations. With Dutch as our leader, coach and friend, I’m sure I will not only meet these goals but far exceed where I ever saw myself several years ago. Any doubts? See below – my before and after numbers:
Starting 6.2011 PR’s as of 8.2012
Snatch 20kg Snatch 37 kg – with a year end goal of 40
Clean & Jerk 20kg Clean & Jerk 49kg – with a year end goal of 50
Front Squat 30kg Front Squat 62kg
Back Squat 40kg Back Squat 80kg
Clean 20kg Clean 52kg
Jerk 22kg Jerk 49k