Vanessa Best

My lifting journey began when I took an ALL boys weight training class during my senior year of high school.

Disclaimer: I didn’t know I’d be the ONLY girl in the class. Normally, a couple of girls sign up too but this time around it was just me and all the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior boys.

The teacher pulled me aside and had the kind of conversation I will never forget for as long as I live. He was simple and to the point, “Do you want to switch classes and sign up for the all-girls aerobics class instead?”

I replied almost immediately, shaking my head, saying something along the lines of how I signed up on purpose. “I want to be challenged!” I quickly remarked.

Lifting was a challenge at first. The freshman boys adopted me into their lifting group and together we all learned how to perform squats, military presses, and other big lifts. It was awkward at first and the 45-pound bar was heavy. I asked for tips, kept showing up, and eventually, I grew to a point where I was confident in my form and could put more weight on the bar.

The feeling of accomplishment was HUGE! Not only did I feel strong, I felt inspired to focus on my health to support my fitness goals. After weight training, I started packing myself a snack I could eat to help me recover. I felt confident in myself. I cared about my health and fitness in a new way because I wanted to get stronger.

This class is what sparked my love for weightlifting. Weightlifting became my rock throughout my young adult life. It also encouraged me to pursue a degree in exercise science and start coaching others.

I’ve learned how to care for myself, show up, and have fun doing it! I love lifting heavy and if it weren’t for that weight training class—I don’t know what I’d be doing today. (As sappy as that sounds!)

I want to encourage you to try things you think you might enjoy but are hesitant to do. It’s those kinds of things that teach us so much about ourselves!

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