Gym equipment? or torture device?
While I was home for the holidays I had an awesome night in with some girl friends, some powerful girlfriends who lead strong, awesome lives. As the night progressed we started talking about work and eventually we got to talking about my job. All three ladies openly admitted their fear of the gym, specifically the weight room, I was shocked, these women are badasses and I got to thinking that if they were afraid of the weight room then this is a much bigger issue than I ever thought.
I have had clients state this concern to me before and I always did my best to reassure them that it’s not scary and that no one is paying attention to them, but hundreds of gym fail videos on Youtube beg to differ. I found myself looking back at when I started at the gym and you know what, it really is a scary place when you are new. There are lots of big heavy things lying around, machines that look like torture devices all over, and people who can stop working out now because they couldn’t possibly get into any better shape. It is scary, but it’s worth pushing past the fear even if it’s just so you can say you aren’t afraid anymore.
Rob spent 2 years trying to get me into the weight room with him but I never went because I was afraid of looking like an weak idiot. Like most women I know I don’t like to do things that I am not already good at (that doesn’t limit life choices at all). Instead of admitting this though I always said I wasn’t interested or let it start a fight to distract from the real problem.
Eventually I did go to the gym but I stuck to the treadmill or the few exercises I already knew how to do. It wasn’t until I moved to Grande Cache and realized I was really lonely and needed a reason to get out of my house that I mustered up enough courage to join Rob in the weight room. At the time the gym was in the Rec center and was tiny and full of big guys. I started out by memorizing a routine I pulled out of Oxygen magazine. I did the routine over and over again at home until I felt I could do it in public without falling on my face. Once I got a little more comfortable I started to ask Rob to show me a few things, eventually I gained the confidence to venture to the gym without Rob and from there everything in my life changed.
I gained confidence in so many other areas of my life and for the first time I really loved my body, not for how it looked but for what I could do, I felt like Wonder Woman. I made some of my best friends in the weight room. Even my career came from this feeling and I have spent most giving women the skills they need to kick ass in the gym.
If this sounds familiar just remember that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
- Take a friend with you
- Hire a trainer to show you how to use the equipment, better yet find one that does personalized programs
- Find a beginner routine and practice it at home first
- Wear what makes you feel the most confident, even if that means a full face of makeup (no butts or boobs hanging out please)
- Make Youtube your friend if you want to learn how to perform an exercise
- Wear headphones and blast your favorite music
As for the other people at the gym; most will stick to themselves, some might offer advice or say hi, and occasionally, just like everywhere else in life there will be a jerk. If you feel you look stupid doing something then stick to the basics and look around you, every exercise everyone is doing looks stupid if you think about it.
Most importantly, every single person you see in a gym started off right where you are today and are some of the nicest people you could ever meet (yes even the huge guy in the corner grunting as he lifts).
I am including a link at the bottom of this post to a handy guide to gym etiquette, for most people knowing the "rules" makes all the difference.
My favorite, trusted, how to websites
Elliot Hulse (youtube)
Girls Gone Strong
Anything by Dan John
Strong First (kettlebells)