Healthier 2021: Laura’s Lifting Weights!

This article is part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three members of the WebMD team as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.

By Laura J. Downey

I avoided this. But the time has come.

A few months ago, I made all kinds of promises to myself to go to the gym for basic strength training. Well that was a #FAIL because I didn’t follow through. So today I decided to hold myself accountable. I called one of the health coaches provided by my company to share my goals and motivate me (WebMD Health Coaches give tips, advice and encouragement to be healthy and stay healthy).

The coach reviewed my story and then asked me to share more about the reason for my call. I told her last year that I promised to make weight training a part of my gym routine but hadn’t yet. So she asked me a series of questions and I’m embarrassed to say what some of my answers were. For example, she asked me what was preventing me from going to the gym to do what I initially said I was going to do. And then she told me that the barriers can be physical or internal.

This is where the hot mess happened! Honestly, I didn’t use the weights in the gym at my apartment complex because I feel like the other people around me are pros and they’re going to laugh at the girl who has struggling to pick up 8 pound dumbbells. The health coach said: “It’s easy to compare yourself to what’s going on around us. But try to take a small step today. So in an effort to take the first step I told him that next time I go to the gym and start to feel intimidated I’m going to go to the other little workout room we have here. and lift weights without anyone else watching.

She then asked me if I had a plan for how long I would lift weights and how many reps I would do. A map?? I’m pretty sure I got a “What are you talking about, Willis ?!Expression on my face at this point (I couldn’t resist Different traits reference). I hadn’t thought much about it until then. I imagine I was hoping to start with a rep and progress to WWE status. She then said, “Once you have completed the weight lifting process, the intrinsic confidence will also build.” So we decided to start with 8 to 12 reps of bicep and tricep curls in addition to lifting the overhead for one set and then moving to 2 to 4 sets after seeing how I feel in a few weeks.

What I liked about the health coach approach is that it made me feel like I could really do it. So I went to the gym and got busy. When I was monitoring my form while lifting, I remembered what the coach told me: “You are there for you. The celebration comes from within. I did it! Now who’s ready to lift with Laura ?!

Laura J. Downey is the editor-in-chief of WebMD Magazine. She hopes this blog will help others see that every small step can lead to a more balanced, healthy and fulfilling life. To learn more about her career, follow her on Instagram @laurakadowney.

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