A lot of women are intimidated by the gym; the smell of sweat and odor of testosterone, the wall of dumbbells lining the mirrors, machines that look like they belong in a medieval torture scene but, from one woman to another… It’s OK to be put off by the smell, who wouldnt be, it’s OK that you don’t know what to do with the dumbbells or weird torture machines! What isn’t OK, is that these factors may be stopping you from going to the gym and feeling good about yourself. So, I want to share with you how I got over my fear of strength training in the gym.
Why women should strength train
Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights and strength training won’t make you look bulky. Bulking out like a man requires testosterone. Don’t worry ladies, you’re not going to turn into Chris Hemsworth if you start weight training, but you will notice; you’re more toned, you’re physically stronger, you’re mentally stronger AND, when done properly, lifting weights consistently can help improve your bone density and fight osteoporosis (1). Women who strength train often experience less pain in their joints, less bone loss, and decreased lower back pain. Moreover, the NHS recommends that to stay at optimum health, we should all be completing a mixture of cardio and strength workouts every week (2).
So, if you’re feeling nervous, anxious or intimidated about starting to weight lift, here are a few tips to help you make the most out of the gym:
How to feel more confident strength training
1. Be confident in what you’re wearing
Treat yo’ self to some new gym clothes. It’s a true saying, ‘if you look good, you feel good!’. I recommend brands such as TALA and Gym + Coffee as they are sustainable and ethical gym wear brands that make you look amazing, but also make you feel amazing. TALA in particular, designs its gym wear for every age, shape and size. You can read more about ethical gym wear brands here.
2. Start with classes
If you’re feeling anxious about joining a new gym or starting to weight train, signing up to some strength classes will help boost your confidence, familiarity with the equipment and your surroundings. Whether you want a full-body burn or a legs, bums and tums class, they are all designed to help you build confidence! You may even meet a buddy that you can start weight training with.
3. Look up Youtube tutorials or Instagram workouts
If you’re thinking about taking the leap into the weights section of the gym, why not look up some Youtube tutorials or Instagram workouts to inspire you first? It’s important to stay focused in the gym and concentrate on working your muscles to their full potential. Walking around aimlessly will cut your session short and hinder you from reaching your full, weight lifting, strong woman goals! Try making a note on your phone of the exercise, reps, and sets you want to complete. This will keep you on track and feeling confident about the exercises you’re doing.
4. Focus on yourself
This may be one of the hardest things to execute. It's natural to compare yourself to others in the gym, or feel self-conscious around others that may be working out with higher weights or who may be a different shape or build to you. We’ve all been there! But, this is your time! Your gym session is all about you. Your goals. Your weights. Your workout.
5. Go with a friend
This is the perfect way to get started in the gym and build your confidence. You can push each other and make sure you’re both getting the most out of each session.
6. Get a personal trainer
Personal trainers are great for boosting your confidence in the gym. Having an expert on hand to help you use the equipment properly and to get as much as possible out of each session. Make sure you ask them as many questions as possible about things such as; your form to avoid injury, how long you should rest for between gym sessions so you don’t exhaust yourself, and what kind of nutrients you need to recover and grow properly! This will all help to build your confidence when weight training in the gym.
7. Don’t sweat the small stuff
We’ve all had a ‘You’ve Been Framed’ moment. I’ve fallen off the treadmill - whoops. I’ve failed a set and almost choked myself with a barbell - whoops. I’ve even tried something simple like adjusting the bench setting and failed miserably so, stormed off - big whoops! But the moral is, don’t quit. You learn from every mis-hap, every failed rep, every bench that gets jammed! It’s all part of your gym growth. And guess what? No one cares. Everyone is focused on themselves. Well, maybe unless you fall off a treadmill…
In summary, don’t be afraid of strength training in the gym. It has so many amazing benefits for women and it won't make you look like a man! Once you get started, it’ll be life-changing. You got this ladies!
Love Team PH x