This article originally appeared in Shape.

I never thought I would be deadlifting 135 pounds. Or going all out on an Assault bike against twenty-somethings. Before I started working out with my trainer two summers ago, I was focused solely on cardio, doing Peloton classes and going for runs. Strength training just wasn't in my wheelhouse. So the first time I used resistance bands in a workout with her, I felt like I was going to die.

Since then, I've gone from doing a bodyweight plank to doing one with a 25-pound weight plate on my back to 35 pounds, then 45 pounds, and now 75 pounds. The main goal with lifting heavy weights is that it never gets easy — since you raise the challenge as you keep getting stronger — but it sure is empowering.