Hey Fit Nerds! Today I thought I’d share with you my journey from running to weight lifting and how I’ve become more selective about the running that I do these days. This may come as a bit of a surprise because we write a lot of posts about running on our site, but I’m very much into lifting weights to improve overall health and fitness after the results that I’ve seen with my own journey. Hope you enjoy!
I’ve been a long time runner since about 2005 when I began running cross country in high school. I had never really run competitively prior to that time, just played several different sports and was a very active child. I decided to run cross country to get myself into better shape for the upcoming basketball season (of which I was interested in playing in college). After that first season of cross country I was hooked! I loved running and how it made me feel so it definitely became a passion of mine as I continued throughout the remainder of high school and into undergraduate and graduate school.
After graduating high school I no longer ran competitively, but instead began to sign up for races periodically to give me something to train for on a consistent basis. I was of the mindset that the only thing I needed to do to stay healthy was run, completely neglecting any sort of complimentary training. However, by the time I reached graduate school in 2014, I had become interested in various fitness classes and had aspirations of becoming a personal trainer in some capacity thanks to my experience on my first internship in a physical therapy clinic.
That first physical therapy internship opened my eyes to see that what I had been taught in regards to exercise prescription in graduate school was appalling at best (and it wasn’t much better on my clinical internships) so it was up to me to learn more about strength training to better myself and my patients. At the end of that first internship I had written a fitness regimen for a patient that I discharged and so began my venturing down the rabbit hole of strength and conditioning (of which I’m still still learning today). I began reading several books and watching and listening to a tremendous amount of podcasts to absorb as much knowledge as possible (and continue to do so as I write this post) 🙂
I began with Stronger Curves and Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy by Bret Contreras and continued with books from Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, Nick Tumminello, Brad Schoenfeld, etc…and listened to podcast after podcast with tons of smart strength coaches and therapists with strength backgrounds. I came across Girls Gone Strong, an AMAZING resource for becoming a healthy, strong, empowered woman, which inspired me to become strong just like them. In 2016, I signed up to take the CSCS exam (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) through the NSCA, which I passed shortly after the NPTE (physical therapy board exam) and a few shorts months later went on to get my CrossFit Level 1 certificate.
Fast forward to today and I’m interested in strength and conditioning now more than ever. I do not currently participate in CrossFit, rather I lift weights with the intent of getting stronger and improving my overall fitness. I have greatly minimized the amount of running I’ve been doing to focus on getting stronger because of the overall effect it has had on my body. I now look and feel more fit than ever before thanks to lifting heavy weights and prioritizing nutrition. Am I at the peak of my potential currently? Nope, just getting started! But will I ever prioritize running over weights again for health and fitness purposes? I’d be hard pressed to say yes at this point.
I will admit that my current opinions are influenced by my goals at this point, which are to prioritize health (keeping in mind that I have PCOS) and look/feel ‘fit’. Strength training is the best mode of exercise to assist with these goals. For some great resources on this topic check out this article from Examine.com, this article and this article from Girls Gone Strong, and this article from Precision Nutrition.
I LOVE running and will never give it up, but I’ve realized that for my personal health and longevity, strength training has to be the main priority. I still run a few races here and there and definitely plan to sign up for more Spartan races, but even then lifting weights will still be the priority.
Until next time, get your strong on!