“There’s something magical about lifting heavy weights. It’s all the small victories (and the big ones), whether it’s going up in weights or getting a huge technique break through. Those goals that you work towards and achieve boost your confidence and it slowly starts to trickle into the other aspects of your life. And even when things get tough, the weights get heavy, technique feels hard or you fail a weight; it teaches you to push through adversity and work harder because the effort you put into something, especially if it’s hard, always shows in the end.”
We asked pocket rocket Ash to share some thoughts with us around her time at BBB and her introduction into strength training. We have seen Ash come to us at HQ struggling to complete a bodyweight squat. We now see Ash committing to her training and making it a consistent part of her life. Let’s see what Ash had to say!
1. What made you decide to start strength training?
I wanted to feel strong. I looked at girls on my Instagram that were doing chins ups and bench presses and thought to myself, I’d love to be that strong. Then I realised I could be! So I decided to stop wishing and start doing! And I haven’t looked back ever since.
2. What do you like about strength training?
The constant feedback. There is always something you’re doing right and something you need to improve. There are always goals (little and big) to make and reach for. But I think what I love most about it is how much it affects not only your physical health but also your mental health.
Building up your strength and hitting numbers you never thought you could, makes you feel strong. Feeling physically stronger made me feel a lot stronger as a person in general. It helped me to start believing in myself and start focusing less on what my body looked like and more on what it could achieve.
3. What do you find challenging?
Strength training can sometimes feel like a slow process, you have to work on a lot of little things before you can hit the big goal. It can be a challenge to not be able to speed the process up.
It can also be challenging how many techniques you need to make for a lift to work with you and not against you. You nail one technique only to realise you’ve got to start working on something else.
Strength training will also tell you when you’re not putting in the work. It’s not something you can try and cut corners on because it’ll show.
In saying that, I think that’s what makes strength training so great because all of those challenges are also what makes it so rewarding.
4. Tell me about some of your wins since starting here?
⁃ Not wearing make up every single day. It sounds small but when I started at BBB I would put makeup on JUST to go to the gym even if it was all I was doing that day. BBB not only built up my confidence but also provided a space for me to feel comfortable enough where I started to not wear makeup to the gym. And from there I now don’t wear make up to go shopping or to go to work. Not because I don’t ever feel insecure but because BBB has made me realise I am so much more than just my appearance.
⁃ Having the confidence to leave my university course because it wasn’t what I was passionate about. BBB has constantly reminded me to strive for what ignites my soul. I took a year off, got a full time job and did a bit of soul searching along the way and now I’ve gotten accepted into my dream university course.
⁃ My first lifting party: squats 55kg, deadlift 60kg and bench 30kg. As someone who came to BBB with absolutely no strength training experience and being pretty little, it felt pretty amazing to lift those weights that once seemed impossible.
⁃ Committing to something. I have never had any hobby or sport that I would stick with as long as I have with strength training. I’ve tried lots of different hobbies and sports and always lose interest or give up or skip days I had it on. I would never have imagined that I would consistently do something 4x a week and barely ever miss a day like I have at BBB. Even on days where I feel like staying home for whatever reason, I push myself to go and am always glad I did (a year ago I would have just stayed home).
5. Where was your mindset at before starting strength training with us? And where is it at now compared to that?
I had no confidence. Not in myself, not in my decisions and definitely not in any area of my life. I always stayed in my comfort zone and had no faith in myself. I was just going through life on cruise control and just tolerating everything, even if it didn’t make me happy.
Now I know I’m capable of changing things if they don’t make me happy. Is change scary? Hell yes. But I now have the confidence in myself to go into those situations knowing it’s scary but doing it anyway (even if it takes me a little while to get there).
I just refuse to have a life I’m not happy in. The only way to do that is to constantly be growing and looking at the decisions you’re making because at the end of the day, those decisions, good or bad, are the life you’re creating.
That’s not to say I don’t still have bad days. I still have days where I feel down, insecure and nervous but I accept those things and try to push forward despite them. It doesn’t always work but that’s the thing about trying, if it didn’t work the first time, you can just try again.
6. Why specifically do you think it’s grown?
There’s something magical about lifting heavy weights. It’s all the small victories (and the big ones), whether it’s going up in weights or getting a huge technique break through. Those goals that you work towards and achieve boost your confidence and it slowly starts to trickle into the other aspects of your life. And even when things get tough, the weights get heavy, technique feels hard or you fail a weight; it teaches you to push through adversity and work harder because the effort you put into something, especially if it’s hard, always shows in the end.
Then you pair that with the support from the coaches who are there every step of the way and not just for when the weights get heavy but for when life does too.
Strength training and powerlifting are definitely magic and have been a huge catalyst for my growth but I don’t think I would have pushed myself out of my comfort zone as much as I have without the support of my coach. Lifting weights is amazing at building your confidence but the coaches at BBB are the reason I was so inspired to grow as a person and change the things in my life that weren’t making me happy.
7. What do you think it is that makes coaching with BBB different?
BBB doesn’t see you as just another number that walks through the door. All the coaches make a conscious effort to get to know each and every client, even if they don’t work with them directly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one client come through the door without one of the coaches greeting them with a hello and a big smile, even if they’re across the other side of the gym.
The BBB coaches see more to coaching than just lifting weights, improving techniques and body composition goals. They are there constantly helping you work towards your goals outside of gym, listening to your challenges, inspiring you to aim higher and believe in yourself and celebrating your victories with you. The coaches at BBB believe in you so much that it’s hard to not start believing in yourself.
They practice what they preach and are open about how tough it can be. They don’t just show you the good days, they show you when the weights were heavy, when they weren’t in a great headspace and everything in between.
What makes BBB different is that the coaches aren’t just gym coaches, they’re life coaches and they know the responsibility that holds and so they are constantly aiming to grow and learn new things to not only help themselves but the women they work with.
8. What do you now see as possible in the future?
Competing in powerlifting. Something I never in a million years thought I’d say. I have tried a lot of sports from netball to horse riding to dancing, you name it I probably had a go at it and I always loved the idea of competitions in all of the sports I had tried but it always came down to ‘oh I could never do that’. I am now so excited to one day give competing a try because I know I can do it if I put my mind to it and that it never hurts to give something a go!
The future has always scared me but now I know that whatever the future throws at me, I know I can handle it and I’m so excited to see where I go from here.
9. What advice would you give to girls who are new to strength training?
Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be people who lift more than you and whose technique is a little smoother. Just focus on what you’re doing, focus on the techniques you need to work on and be proud of where you are at. Everyone goes at different paces and that’s okay.
Also, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It can take a while to get the technique patterns down, even seasoned strength trainers need technique improvements somewhere. Just fall in love with the process of learning it all and it becomes a lot more fun.
And coming from someone who use to have a bad habit, try not to rush your warm ups and mobility exercises. Everything will move a lot easier if you do them properly!
10. Were there any things that you had heard about strength training that held you back?
Things like women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, strength training is bad for your back, you’ll get huge thighs if you squat too much, you’ll be so bulky, cardio is better for you.
There was probably more but it kind of all goes in one ear and out the other once you realise a lot of the comments are from people who aren’t really educated in strength training to begin with or are just spreading misinformation.
We thank Ash for sharing her insights and thoughts with us! If you too want to beat the myths and stereotypes out there, we got ya!