Grab Those Weights & Go
Did you know 65% of women avoid the gym for the fear of being judged?
Like…say what now???
We’ve found many of our friends share a fear of the free weights area of the gym and while both of our fitness journeys started differently, we can’t say that we embraced the weight area right away either. In those early days, it felt like the free weights section was a VIP area, only for those who were expert gym goers and “serious” bodybuilders. Also, as women, it could feel a little nerve-wracking walking into a usually testosterone-heavy space. Luckily, over the years, we’ve seen more amazing women killing it with the free weights and while the feeling of intimidation can be real, it’s easier than you think to overcome and often starts with us as individuals putting away our own perceptions and pride to get the best workout possible.
Why should you strength train? Let’s start with the most common misconception out there. You will not get “too big” or “bulky.” The appropriate balance of weight training and cardio creates long, lean muscle. Strength training preserves muscle and elevates metabolism. This means, if you are making smart choices about whole foods, you will actually be able to eat more in order to fuel your body and keep it running like the well-oiled machined it is.
Additionally, strength training improves your quality of life. It increases bone density, can counteract depression, and helps reduce sleep difficulties. These are just the top of the iceberg! Back to the original question, how does one get over their intimidation of the weight room?
5 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of the Weight Room
Have a plan. What is your goal? Before entering the gym, you should have an idea of your overarching goal and your targeted goal for that particular workout. For example, if you are looking to build muscle, your gym schedule may include two targeted lower-body workouts and one targeted upper-body workout per week. Track which days you work each muscle group and plot out your exercises in your phone’s notes app. That way, you can head to the weight room with a purpose.
Use your resources. Don’t be afraid to ask a trainer at your local gym for a little guidance, that’s why they are patrolling the floor. You could also take a friend who knows their way around, check out a group fitness class that incorporates weights to help you with your form and give you some exercise ideas to incorporate into your next weights session.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. The saturation of fitness focused content on social media can have you thinking you need to do the most, but you don’t! Stick to moves or exercises you are comfortable with (like bicep curls, squats, lunges and planks) and try out different variations or slowly work to increase the size of the weights you use.
Know your gym. A part of living you best, fit life is being fearless. However, there is nothing wrong with finding other areas of the gym where you feel more comfortable. When CaCera first started working with free weights, she would opt for late-evening workouts when the group fitness room at her gym was free, and utilize that space. Shawnie would often take advantage of her gym’s women’s workout room, an area designed specifically for females only.
Wear your headphones. The reality is, most people around you are not paying attention to you. Sometimes we need to get out of our own head. Drown everything around you out with your favorite playlist and focus on the task at hand.
Finally, just do it!! Make a challenge out of pushing yourself to embrace free weights more. We promise this will lead to a new found sense of confidence and attitude that you will take out of the gym and into your everyday life.