Why Did I Start Lifting Weights

Andres Paniagua
5 min readSep 22, 2017


I was never a skinny kid. We ate well at home. My mother was (and still is) a good cook. She can also bake pretty good too. Growing up we always had home cooked meals on the table and when we didn’t, we went out to good restaurants. I grew up playing soccer and that was enough to keep me from getting fat. I was never encouraged to lift weights. To the contrary, I was told that weight training would make me big and fat. This resulted in me being skinny-fat for most of my life. I looked good with my clothes on. The mental need to always have my shirt on has followed me for most of my life. I hope that by the time I finish writing this book, that will all change.

I wish when I first started in the gym I had a crap filter on the information coming from my computer. I had to filter through so much of it on my own. My new ebook, “BW Barbell’s Guide to Fitness Over 40”, is a crap filtered collection of the best information that I have found organized in a easy to follow format. Back when I was a freshman in high school, I took a weight training class for P.E. We were thrown into the weight room with the wrestling coach without any instruction. At the end of the semester we were tested on our 1RM bench and squat. When most of us couldn’t 1RM our body weight, we were told by the teacher that his wife was stronger than us and that we should be ashamed of ourselves. This was pretty much the extent of my weight training education.

Fast forward to January 2009. I’m was 31 years old and tipping the scale at 260lbs of hamburgers, pizza, burritos and beer. 3 months earlier, my brother almost died in the hospital from undiagnosed diabetes. My wife finally took me aside and told me that I had to get in better shape so I could be around when my daughter got older. She was 9 months at the time. The following Monday I put on my waders and began to sift through all the information online.

That first week I did what every person does when they start in the gym and don’t know what they’re doing…I ate salads with chicken breast and spent most of my time on isolation machines. That week sucked. I had no energy and I was ready to quit. I started to look online for information about what other people do when they get in shape. I found muscle mags in the grocery store and feverishly began to devour the information. Ronnie, Jay and Branch become my workout partners. I bought all the supplements they used. I ate the same diet they did. But I didn’t look like them. I was losing weight but I didn’t have the bulging muscles that they did. I did the 12 week diet and no six pack.

After a while I finally came to grips that these guys have the upper hand when it comes to all the “vitamins” they take. Yes, they have excellent genetics but all the extra help is what gives them that monstrous look with low body fat. I also accepted the fact that the pictures in the magazines were only a small snapshot of what they look like throughout the year. They plan those photo shoots around contests they prep for. Most of the year they look huge but without all the cuts and thin skin.

Now I lift weights to stay healthy and get stronger. Father time is catching up with me and lifting weight not only keeps me healthy, it also forces my body to 1) keep my bones strong 2) keep as much muscle as I can and 3) keep my testosterone high. All these things decline the older you get. I also keep my competitive spirit alive my participating in powerlifting meets. It gives me a goal to train for at different parts of the year.

As people age the one issue that everybody has is that you start to lose muscle and bone density. This is what causes older people to get hurt easily. Lifting weights before this sets in is a great way to help stop this. Even if you have no aspirations to step on the powerlifting platform or bodybuilding stage, putting on some quality muscle is necessary if you want to enjoy your golden years.

So if you asked me when I started why I was lifting weights I would tell you it was because I wanted to get huge and shredded. If you asked me today I would tell you it was because I want to stay healthy and strong when I get older. The last thing you want to get is a preventable injury when you get older and not be able to recover because your body is in such bad shape. You want to put all the work in while you have the energy so you’re ahead of the game when you get in your 50’s and 60’s

If you want more reasons to start lifting weights, signup for updates on the ebook, “BW Barbell’s Guide to Fitness Over 40”. You’ll receive an email with a free download “10 Reasons Why You Should Lift Weights”. You’ll also get updates on the progress of my ebook and other tips that will help you stay healthy, both in the gym and out.

Thanks for reading and pass this along to a friend who might have an interest in getting healthier and stronger.


BW Barbell