An introduction to my journey towards max gainz

Sup y&rsquo;all! I&rsquo;m Ashley Koo, and welcome to my health and fitness column: Love at first lift! I currently work as a personal trainer at the university and teach strength and conditioning course for beginners.&nbsp;</p>

I grew up playing sports and was that kid always running out and about until my parents chased me down and told me to sit down and do my homework. I picked up a barbell a few years ago and it was love at first lift. 

I figured I should learn the basics so I educated myself on the proper biomechanics, programming, and techniques for maximum gainz. The feeling of empowerment and accomplishment it gives me is what keeps me hungry for more. Plus, the overall sense of badassery is a complete ego boost, especially when you are a 5-3.5 girl like me and you can squat more than the guy next to you.

I dabbled in powerlifting but found my interest dwindled over time. Powerlifting is a strength sport that involves lifting a maximum weight in three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. To be honest, I just got bored of training for these three lifts and wanted to spice things up in my relationship with the barbell. This is why I have made the switch to Olympic weightlifting with hopes of competing later this year. 

This decision breathed life back into my relationship with the barbell and I am so glad I made it. I’m not going to lie — there were moments of doubt, but my love is stronger than ever and I am excited to spend the next decade doing what I love with my man of steel (a.k.a. the barbell) faithfully by my side. 

Olympic weightlifting consists of two lifts: the snatch and the “clean and jerk.” It is basically the most fun you can have with weights — of course, it requires some technique when you are trying to whip over 200 pounds overhead.

With this new year comes new goals. What’s yours? To turn those flabs into abs of steel? Squat 500 pounds? Slim down and look so good you’ll be more Instagram famous than Kylie Jenner? Whatever it is, just know that I am cheering you on and that you are not alone. 

“Follow the keys to success and you shall succeed,” DJ Khaled taught me. I will be here to share my major keys and what has helped me overcome my personal fitness obstacles. 

With that being said, get started by setting a goal for yourself and outline an attack plan. If it’s your first time entering this unfamiliar territory of “exercise,” start small and work your way up. With the ever-expanding fitness industry, there are countless options of classes and exercise routines ranging from Dog Yoga (yes, that is doing yoga with your dog, for the animal lovers) to Twerkshops (for the other days of the week that Hip Hop Wednesdays at Phil’s is not offered). Whatever your style and preference is, there is surely something for you! Don’t be afraid to try new things because the only thing holding you back is yourself.

I am super stoked for you to join me on my weightlifting journey and read my rambles. Also, if you haven’t guessed it already, yes I am in kinesiology. If you need to locate me, you can find me lifting heavy weights at PAC or stuffing my face with dessert (usually waffles or cake).