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Winning Ways:
Climbing To A Different Level

Wednesday, August 25, 1999

By Jessica Cintron
SJSports Special Correspondent

Ever since Graig, my weight trainer, persuaded me to lift weights, I have climbed to a positive level because I feel comfortable with my body.

I was minding my own business while using the Rowing machine. All of a sudden, Graig came up to me and asked, "Have you ever had shoulder surgery?" I looked at him in a very bewildered way and said, "No." "Well if you keep on doing that exercise wrong, you will," said Graig in a very concerned way. I smiled and thanked him for showing me the correct way to do the exercise. I thought that was the last of our conversation because I thought Graig was a stranger trying to teach me how to use the Rowing machine. I was completely wrong.


The next day, before I went into the cardiovascular room to use the treadmill, Graig waved at me to come into the office where he was. He asked me, "Why do you always go into the cardio room?" I replied to him in a very low voice, "Because I want to lose weight." I felt disgusted by how my body looked at the time. I hated how my hips would stick out and how my arms weren't toned. I told Graig my body complaints, and he said, "You know, if you start lifting weights and do cardio work, your body will look much better." My eyes lit up and my smile grew because this was a great opportunity for me to feel beautiful physically. At the same time I was afraid to lift weights because I definitely didn't want my body to turn out to be too muscular. I also felt uncomfortable walking into the weight room because there would be sweaty men bench pressing 300 pounds. I could barely lift 25 pound dumbbells.


I have been weight training for eight months. How do I feel? Lets just say that I walked into the weight room feeling like a weak lost child, and I walked out of the weight room felling like a confident strong woman. Before I started weight training, I believed that weight training was about getting muscular or having a toned body. I was completely wrong. Weight training is more about the mind than the body. If ones' mind doesn't think strong then the body won't get strong. Before I can squat 225 pounds or bench press 70 pounds, I have to focus on what I am doing. I have to take a deep breath and say to myself in a strong voice, "I can do this!" If my mind doesn't think strong or isn't focused then I can cause great injury to my body.

I have great passion for weight training because it has taught me what beauty is about. Beauty is having a healthy mind. A woman can be attractive physically, but if she doesn't have confidence in herself, then where is the true beauty? When I finish with my exercises, I feel relieved because I've accomplished a goal- to climb up that ladder no matter how difficult weight training can be, and to never climb back down.

Photos by Art Redd

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For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives.

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