Friday, 19 October 2012

Are you intimidated by the weights floor? Or are you a regular iron pumper!?
The dreaded lovely kettlebells!

Lifting weights is one of those things that can seem really scary and intimidating. When you walk onto the weights floor in the gym for the very first time it is SO common to feel like you don't belong.. like everyone else there is looking at you and making judgements. Those machines look technical and tricky and it seems like you'll never feel comfortable.

This might be you... or it might not. Not everyone feels like this. You might be more self confident and might feel happy enough to sidle up to the nearest meat head muscular gym type and ask advice on how the machines work and get a few pointers on technique. I have done this myself and have usually found that people are friendly and helpful. 

Another path to confidence on the weights floor is to have a program written for you by the gym staff. You can talk to them about your goals and they will design a program just for you! They will even take you through each exercise and make sure you are doing it correctly to minimise the chance of injury. It's amazing how quickly you can become confident once you know a lat pulldown from a tricep extension

So why don't we see more women on the weights floor?? Is it simply because it has traditionally been a men's game?? Are women intimidated by the men, or by others who seem to know what they're doing? Or is it because women are fearful that they may "bulk up" and become too masculine? Julia from Julia's Fitness Blog has written a great post on why this is a flawed theory and why strong is the new skinny.. check it out!

I asked my friend B a few questions about weights. B is in her early 20s, she is quite self confident and trains with weights intermittently. 

A: Do you lift weights?:
B: I lift little weights in the gym...about 3 kilos I think. I think I started doing it because i wanted to be stronger. To help me with my horse riding. 

A: Are you comfortable in the gym?? 
B: Yes, because I go to the uni gym where my partner works and it's a pretty non threatening environment. It's full of students from all different backgrounds and people at all different levels of fitness. I don't feel perved on and there are plenty of women. I also know lots of people.

A: What would make you feel uncomfortable in a gym?? 
B: If I felt self conscious of what I was doing. If I thought people were watching me and judging my ability or technique. I'd hate to think people were staring and thinking "look at that girl... she's doing it all wrong!" 

A: If a trainer suggested lifting heavier weights, would you feel comfortable to have a go? 
B: If it made sense as to why they were suggesting it I would give it a try. I would need to have info on why it would be the best exercise for me and my goals.

So, do you lift weights?? If so, why? Do you love them or loathe them? Or are you indifferent? Do you have any goals relating to your strength or muscle tone? Are you someone who has been worried that you'll grow a stonking great pair of Arnie biceps??

What are your concerns? Fears? What do you LOVE about weights?? 

I'd be thrilled to hear from you in the comments!!


Tash said...

I love weights! I have found however the easiest thing is to go to a pump class. The set that the trainers made for me when I joined was really fiddly-heaps of diferent machines, bars, weights. I was a bit overwhelmed. So I went to a pump class instead and I really love it. They tell you when to increase your weight depending on what area of muscles you are working on, and when to decrease. And they keep you going for longer than I would keep going if I was by myself!

Ashwee said...

Yes! Thanks for highlighting a point I missed!

Pump is a great workout and has definitely helped build my confidence with technique! One word of caution though- unless you have a very good pump instructor, bad technique can be easily missed leading to unnecessary injury that can set you back weeks, months or longer. It can be tricky for an instructor to ensure every person in the class is executing the movements correctly.

So if you are new to Pump, make sure you set up near the front of the room and ask for help if you don't feel confident or if you are experiencing pain.

Thanks again for bringing up Pump Tash!

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