I am a proud, independent adult! ...Okay, actually, I am a "I think I maybe got this..." adult. Either way, I'm doing well enough that I'm trying my first month without a starting strength coach constantly at my side.
Not that Carmen doesn't occasionally call out form corrections to me anyway, and double-checks my plans on how much to lift when I ask, and happily helps spot me when I'm struggling to do my work sets. (Those are the heavy ones.)
But anyway, what do I think of this whole starting strength thing, after six months of it? Well, the fact that I'm still doing it is a really good clue. The pros: I'm much stronger, now. I hurt less, I sleep better, and I'm generally less stressed as I have this awesome opportunity to burn off all the adrenaline and cortisol three times a week. I also am recovering from injuries faster... and not getting injured as often! It's a real blessing to step off a curb with my foot in exactly the wrong position for the pothole I didn't notice, and to be able to catch myself without feeling like I've wrenched every muscle in the knees and ankles - I am more stable as well as stronger.
Funnily enough, it's also doing wonders for the seasonal affective disorder - the winter blues. I'd forgotten just how much I had to regularly work out when in Alaska, in the winter, in order to avoid my brain deciding that since there wasn't much light, all was doom and gloom and despair. Lifting weights is like a reset button: I can actually feel the endorphin and dopamine flood resetting my background emotional state to normal.
And, mirable dictu, I'm finally over the "I'm completely exhausted and everything hurts" post-workout feeling. I knew this was coming when my body got accustomed enough, as I knew there were plenty of guys who feel revved up and ready to take on the world after a workout. Well, I may still feel like only doing light work, but I no longer want a nap and an epsom salt bath and a blankie after working out. So, yay!
The cons: The scale is still stubbornly stuck at a number I'd be embarrassed to divulge. I'm the heaviest I've ever weighed. And I'm still size mumble-mumble in jeans. Carmen, my coach, warned me about the not losing jeans size - that the increased muscle in my thighs would offset the loss of fluffiness around the waist, especially as I did not start with tiny and delicate anything to begin with.
And yes, I know it's gaining muscle. I know that. Unfortunately, intellectually knowing that I shouldn't judge myself by a number doesn't measure up emotionally when I've been judging myself by that number since I was a preteen, you know?
For numbers that I don't mind sharing, because some of y'all are hard data geeks like me:
On July 12, I bench pressed 32 pounds - on Dec 26, I benched 87 pounds.
On July 14, I overhead pressed 15 pounds - on Dec 29, I pressed 60 pounds.
On July 17, I deadlifted 55 pounds - last week, I deadlifted 150 pounds.
As for squats, I started with leg presses and had to work my way up to squats, because I was neither strong enough nor stable enough to try 'em right off.
On Jul 21, I squatted 15 pounds - on Dec 29, I squatted 120 pounds.
Clearly, I am not morphing into muclebound anything. It's a shame; I wish those scare stories about "If women lift weights they'll turn into Sarah Connor!" were right. However, they're not, and I'm one shirt size smaller, but still me.