Guest Post: Coffee, Cake and Cardio [Becoming A Stronger Woman]

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Hi guys! I’m so excited to bring you today’s guest post! Not only do I love, adore and admire Ashley- but she was also my first real-life blend (blogger+friend)! I discovered her blog last fall, and immediately fell in love with it. I remember that she referenced Dogfish Head Punkin Ale in the very first post that I read of hers, and right away I knew that we were meant to be friends! She’s also from the DC Metro area, and we have become really close friends and have been able to hang out several times over the last few months.

One of the things that immediately drew me into Ashley’s blog was reading her story. I identified with so much of it- and really appreciated how honest and open she is. And let’s face it- a female power lifter is pretty bad-ass and I don’t think it gets much more awesome than that.

Ashley is getting married in less than a month (!!) and I’m so excited to attend her wedding! She manages to balance out a full-time job in DC, exercise, wedding planning, time with her fiancee and writing a kick-ass blog!

Here she is…

Hey y’all. My name is Ashley and I am the mama bear creator mastermind behind Coffee, Cake and Cardio. My blog is a window into my past, my present, and my future. On my blog I openly share about my journey to live a happy and healthy life and invite others to share about their experiences, to ask questions, and to come along for the ride.

Blogging has changed my life in so many ways, but one of my greatest joys comes from the people my blog has connected me with. Last October I was introduced to a strong, mature, and passionate woman named Lauren. Lauren reminds me daily of how important it is to be proud of who you are, where you’ve come from, and what it means to be a strong woman.

As I’ve shared in my journey, I have been overweight since grade school. At first glance people may have assumed that I was lazy and out of shape but the truth was I was an athlete. In the 9th grade I began lifting weights and quickly realized how strong I was. Actually I had known how strong I was but it wasn’t until that point that I realized I was stronger than most of the boys in my high school (and had awesome calves).

Coffee, Cake and Cardio calves

In the 10th grade I joined the Powerlifting team at my high school and began to compete against others in my weight class in three lifts, the squat, bench, and deadlift. Now as a 230 pound woman, I fell into the “super heavyweight” weight class. Any woman who weighed over 196 pounds lifted alongside me. Now I don’t know how much you know about weight lifting competitions, but it’s a tad unfair to be in a weight class that has no limit. I could have competed with a woman who weighed 200 pounds or a woman who weighed 350 pounds. In my opinion, there is a big difference between a 200 pound woman squatting 300 pounds and a 350 pound woman squatting 300 pounds.

I loved Powerlifting and it is still a huge piece of who I am today and the woman I always want to be. My senior year of high school I won the Texas state championship, squatting 400 pounds, benching 200 pounds, and deadlifting 395 pounds. Powerlifting also made me a better discus and hammer thrower, which I continued beyond high school as I competed as a Division I thrower at George Mason University.

Although I am no longer a competitive powerlifter, weight lifting is still a very important part of my life. I’ve spoken to many woman who are scared to lift weights because they think it’ll cause weight gain or for them to become “big and bulky”. Although a consistent weight lifting routine will result toning and potentially weight gain, as muscle weighs more than fat, weight lifting is a MAJOR key to weight loss. Weight lifting has helped me to stay toned and to develop lean muscle as I have lost weight over the past 5 years.

The great thing about weight lifting is that you can do it at the gym, at your home, or even in your office! If you go to the gym and are scared to test out the machines, sign up for a 1 day session with a trainer to teach you how to use the equipment. If you’re scared you’ll get big and bulky, lift with lighter weights and do more repetitions (for instance do 3 repetitions of 8 bicep curls with 5 pound dumbbells). If you don’t have a weight lifting routine, ask bloggers like Lauren or myself about our weight lifting circuits. You can also check out websites like Fit Fluential to see what others are doing.

Over the past 3 months I have been using Body Revolution Program, which is another great option for weight lifting. Lauren has a fantastic list of other DVDs you can use at home. No matter what, weight lifting is something you should make a part of your life! You are stronger than you think and trust me, weight lifting will change your life.

Well now that I’ve opened up a huge can of worms, tell me what you think about weight lifting. Do you have a routine? Do you enjoy it? What keeps you from lifting weights?