Lifting Weights is Just Not My Thing!

by Amanda McKinley

Amanda and Jim McKinley enjoying one of their many workout dates!

When I joined Austin Simply Fit, I was only doing it for my husband. It was his birthday gift, something he had wanted—a personal trainer—for quite some time. I finally took the hint. I googled “personal trainers” and Austin Simply Fit popped up. After reading the glowing reviews and seeing it was less than 5 minutes from our house, I scheduled a session. A session for HIM.

When we first walked in, I saw the heavy-duty weightlifting equipment and competitive trophies and plaques mounted on every wall and I thought, these people are intense. I’m not sure this is a fit. My hubby wasn’t trying to get a PR in bench press. He just wanted to get back in shape.

But there we were, signed up for a session that was starting in less than 10 minutes.

When the trainer walked up and introduced himself, he was friendly and professional. His muscles bulged from every area of his body, in places I didn’t even know could bulge. I worried that this guy, just from the looks of him, would push my hubby too far and either hurt him or bruise his ego just enough that he’d never come back.

But his manner was very methodical, with a focus on form and control. The amount of weight he had him lifting was just right – heavy enough that he was exerting himself, but not so heavy that it was painful. He had him do exercises that avoided strain on his knees (a constant source of pain for him), yet worked to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint to help with stabilization and balance.

At the end of the first session, we were both like, okay, this place is legit.

In a matter of months, I saw my hubby’s body transform. He was no longer the tall, skinny guy with little muscle mass, but a stronger version of himself, the type of guy who’d get respect out on the basketball court. His shoulders and chest suddenly had definition. His shirts were a little tighter around the biceps. His chest had form, not flab.

He started getting comments from his friends. Dude, have you been hitting the gym? You look great! 

He would always play it down, but I could tell he loved the attention. And well, I loved it, too! He looked GOOD! I was proud of my man, so strong and fit!

When he asked me to join his training sessions, I begrudgingly said yes. My only reason: it was a mini date in the middle of the work week! We could walk across the street afterwards and grab Torchy’s for lunch. Sure, why not?

I started going twice a week. Our trainers were knowledgeable, methodical and careful. They took notes. They kept measurements. They set goals. None of it was ad hoc. It was structured and carefully monitored. They seemed to know a lot.

But still, I was skeptical. I had some baggage around strength training. Like many women, I was fearful of “bulking up.” I didn’t care about getting stronger, I just wanted to look good! And I had always thought the way to do that was by doing cardio for 30-45 minutes 5 days a week. Strength training was one of those things I viewed as a ‘nice to have’ not a necessity. It went right in there with stretching and core work. It was beneficial, sure, but it was the first thing to go when I only had a half hour to exercise.

The trainer knew this, she saw me hop on the cardio machines before or after our session to get my ‘real work out.’ But she was extremely gracious and patient – she didn’t tell me my thinking was antiquated and misinformed. Instead, she just kept working with me, little by little, honing and refining and strengthening all the little muscle groups, one by one, over and over and over again. She knew that in the end, the results would speak louder than words.

And of course, she was right. My body got stronger. I felt it before I saw it. My back didn’t hurt when I went for a jog. I wasn’t achy after lifting heavy objects around the house. I could hold balancing poses in yoga class for much longer! My clothes fit differently even though the numbers on the scale didn’t change dramatically.

My arms were now my favorite feature – with tiny little divots of definition along the triceps and just behind the shoulders. And who would have thought…one of my favorite exercises was now doing bench press! I had always hated that exercise when I did it in offseason sports in high school. I felt weak and didn’t know what I was doing. Now, I loved it because I saw results! I knew the proper form, how to use my lats and get tight and spread the bar and press into the floor, not be all floppy and let the weight put too much strain on my shoulders. It was so much fun!

So finally, after being gently led along this journey for several, I became a believer. I bought in.

Now I go to Austin Simply Fit not just for my husband, but for myself, to get stronger and healthier and be the best ‘me’ I can be.

And I have Krista and her gang to thank. They have not only reshaped my body, but also my thinking, about what it means to get strong and healthy so that I can live life to the full and enjoy it with my sweet husband and kids.

Thank you, ASF, for all that you have taught me! You guys are the BEST!