I’ve become that person. The one who posts photos on instagram of myself flexing my biceps, a legend underneath reading #girlswholift.
You know how I mentioned that about seven months ago, I went through a really difficult time? Basically, the thing I’d been trying to prevent for the better part of a year and a half happened. The only way I could think of to deal with it was to just keep calm and carry on. Paint on a brave face and smooth over the ruffled areas of my life. But I’d come home in the evening, sit down in my old lady armchair, listen to Adele songs and cry.
I couldn’t stand for my life to be so pathetic.
I needed an immediate distraction. Something I’d never done before. When I couldn’t bear the crying anymore and needed something other than sleeping pills to knock me out at night, I followed one of my best friend’s advice: I started lifting heavy weights “for fun”.
Well, not that heavy at first. My first ever Body Pump class, I walked up to the instructor and admitted I didn’t know a thing about weightlifting. Sure I’d done YouTube workouts at home and I knew about Pilates, but proper weightlifting? Nah uh. All smiles and bouncing ponytail hair, she helped me set up and told me to start with 2.5kg on the bar. Everyone else seemed to be lifting 5kg or more – most guys were lifting around 10kg through the whole class.
The warm up was intense. Then people started adding on weights; I watched them and stuck to my measly 2.5kg. During bicep track I got
brave overconfident and took hold of 5kg in each hand – big mistake. My spaghetti arms couldn’t handle it for more than 45 seconds. By the time lunges came around I thought I might pass out, but I couldn’t let the instructor down, and I couldn’t flake out in front of 20-odd people who were red and sweaty in the face, gleaming like polished brass. They were giving it their all. And I was tired of feeling weak.
My legs were so wobbly after that class that I could barely make it up the three flights of stairs to my tenement flat. My entire body was sore for 5 days. But the instructor’s enthusiastic compliments still rang in my head after that class. And on the sixth day, I went back for another beating.
I’ve kept going every week since late July. I didn’t think I’d ever progress from 2.5kg, until I went up to 3.5kg, and found that it hadn’t killed me, just made my bum a bit sorer the next day. I was thrilled when I moved up to 5kg on the bar during squats in late August – I was bloody ecstatic when I realised last week that I could lift 7.5kg. That’s a total of 15kg for over five minutes of non-stop squatting. And with perfect posture too!
I’m that person who flexes in front of the mirror after the gym now, because I never knew I could be this strong. I eat a ton of food, unapologetically, and without hating myself for it, when only four years ago I would have made myself throw up those delicious pancakes I had for breakfast. I wish 18-year-old me could see myself now – I think she’d be surprised, but relieved. To see how far I’ve come, how many bold decisions I made for and by myself, and how I’m 100% OK, even when I’m struggling.
My physical strength is in line with my mental endurance now. I can handle some pretty intense shit, it turns out. Several times this year I reached a point where I cowered in fear and told myself “No way, I can’t”. And yet I did.
This tasty recipe nourishes every part of me: my body (lots of protein for my growing muscles), my sweet tooth (allllllll the carbs) and my soul (chocolate, forever and for always). Yes, it’s made with white flour, but it also contains natural peanut butter and vegan protein powder. A bit of balance – that’s what keeps you afloat in life.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons unrefined sugar
- 1 tablespoon protein powder
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 1 banana, mashed
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Just under 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and line a muffin tin.
- Pour the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a large mug and set aside to curdle.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, sugar, and protein powder, and combine using a fork.
- Add the mashed banana, peanut butter, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to the curdled non-dairy milk. Whisk until just combined.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and fold.
- Add the chocolate chips and stir until just combined; over-mixing will create a tough batter and therefore produce dense, heavy muffins.
- Fill the muffin cups to just below the rim, topping with additional chocolate chips.
- For regular-sized muffins, bake for 22-23 minutes. For large muffins, 25 minutes. The muffins should be golden on top and a toothpick should come out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
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Love and cookies,