Women’s Health Week – Haley Cahill
Hello! My name is Haley Cahill and I am the Assistant Director of Communications/Editor of AOII. I am also a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise! I love exercise—running, walking, hiking, biking, boxing—I’m always up for anything active. My real passion though is weightlifting.
I was very fortunate to grow up with a dad who took me to the gym with him. Even at the age of 9 or 10, he showed me how to use equipment and made me feel empowered in the weight room. I am so thankful for that, because as I’ve gotten older and worked with more clients, I’ve realized one of the biggest reasons women don’t lift weights is because they don’t feel comfortable in the weight room.
It can absolutely be intimidating to step into a male-dominated room, where people are grunting or dropping heavy weights. It’s even more off-putting if you are new to strength training or have just limited yourself to a handful of exercises like bicep curls and crunches.
If that sounds like you, I want you know: You deserve to be in the gym as much as the next person. Truth be told, everyone you meet in the gym is there to become the best version of themselves, whether that be physically, mentally or emotionally. You may get a few looks when you walk in but know it’s not a judgement; it’s the acknowledgement of a new person and a silent welcome to a very supportive community that can absolutely change your life.
Weightlifting surely changed my life. It made me so strong. I’ve seen changes in my body that I absolutely love and I’m very proud of the muscles I’ve developed. More importantly though, I’ve developed a great deal of mental and emotional strength. I’ve learned just how capable I am of pushing my limits and crushing goals. Simultaneously, I saw my confidence soar through the roof and developed such an awareness of my body and appreciation for it.
The health benefits of weightlifting are countless and absolutely worth mentioning (I’ll link a few great articles about the benefits below), but above all, it made me fall in love with my body. As a trainer, a woman, a sister and a friend, that’s something I want for you too.
I challenge you to find a method of exercise that challenges you, but also makes you feel amazing. As a fitness professional, nothing is more disheartening to me than hearing people speak negatively about exercise. I’ve found people to only have a negative opinion of exercise because they haven’t found the right type for them. Don’t like running? Then PLEASE stop killing yourself on the treadmill. Hate group exercise classes? Stop dragging yourself to them every day. There are so many types of exercise out there—yoga, Pilates, HIIT training, hiking, cycling, kickboxing, Crossfit, weightlifting, swimming, personal training, group fitness, sports—the list is endless and there is something for everyone.
The human body is absolutely, absolutely, absolutely designed to move. It is not designed to sit all day at a desk, in a car or on a couch. Movement is essential, but I believe it is so important to be active because of how amazing it makes you feel, not out of obligation.
I truly believe a healthy relationship with fitness is a phenomenal way to attain a healthy relationship with yourself. Shortly after I fell in love with fitness, I fell in love with myself. What’s keeping you from falling in love with yourself?
Below are some great articles to learn more about strength training for women: