HOW TO GET OVER YOUR FEAR OF THE WEIGHTS AREA
So you want to start weight training but are competely petrified of the weights area? Don't fret - I've got your back.
I still remember when I used to accept that those matted areas in gyms with all the big silver weights were for men. I was a girl - so I was supposed to stay away and stick to my cross-trainer.
I always felt it was somewhere I didn't belong so I just avoided it.
Fast forward four years, and women have never been more empowered to pick up the weights and get lifting. The ridiculous claims about it making you look 'manly' are slowly being replaced by the incredible benefits, both aesthetically (eg. dat a$$) and mentally (eg. see ya later stress.)
Although I've been confidently lifting for the past 3 years, I've never forgotten the utter FEAR that use to grip me every time I tried to weight train.
What if I'm doing it wrong?
What if people think i'm an idiot?
What if someone notices my leggings are see-through?
Trust me - I used to stress about it ALLLLL.
So, here's 5 ways you CAN get over this, get lifting those weights and stop giving a f*ck.
If I did it, you can too. (God - once I got over my fear, I even started a blog, the very one you're reading right now. YOU CAN DO THIS.)
1. Plan your workouts.
I think the most common fear about lifting weights is that you will do it wrong and the entire gym will look at you and laugh. Or snapchat you. And end up on Gym Fails or something. The easiest way to get over this is to know exactly what you want to do in your session so you're not aimlessly wandering around the gym.
Plan it out - decided what you want to do before you arrive and write it in your notes. I still do this each and every session, my notes for a lower body session look a little something like this:
- Deadlift 10x4
- Squats 10x3
- Hip Thrusts 10x3
- Reverse Lunges 20x3
Then i'll make a note of the weights I do so I can look back on it next time I do that workout.
If you don't know where to start, get a work-out guide. I used LDN Muscle for roughly two years. Although some of the content in there was kind of unnecessary to me (eg. fasted cardio and twice-a-day training), the workouts were structured so I had something to work off.
That also means if anyone is waiting to use your barbell and asks how many sets you have left, you can be like 'Hey! I have two left'. Rather than panic, throw it at them and run away.
2. Wear shit that makes you feel good.
Call me superficial but feeling like I look good makes me feel good inside. I realised a long time that I simply have no time for low-rise or cropped/capri leggings. I don't like my ankles and I feel self conscious if my stomach is hanging over the top of my waistband.
Wearing the stuff that makes you feel good is so important. Learning how to lift weights can be intimidating enough without having to worry about your under-butt sweat patches in those light grey leggings or if anyones noticed how visible your nipples are in your unpadded sports bra.
Decide what you feel comfortable it and wear that. Lulumon High-Rise leggings are my go-tos.
3. Get following the #fitspos.
I think we owe a lot to Instagram for the rise in weightlifting women. Instagram was and still in my main source of fitness motivation. I could check my feed at any hour of any day and see a video or photo of a girl lighting weights. It's inspiring.
If you're not already following fitness accounts on Insta, get on it immediately. My favourite gals for workout inspo are @GraceFitUK, @HealthyChefSteph, @Clean_Eating_Alice and @CiaraLondon.
Physique competitors can be great to follow too but their diet/training can be very unrealistic and unsustainable at times. I always try to take inspiration from the girls that led a lifestyle most similar to mine (e.g. working full time, like to eat burgers and have the odd g&t or 5...)
4. Learn how to do things properly.
You could buy all the workout guides in the world but nothing quite compares to having someone there coaching you in person. Training is not as simple as black and white. We are all so unique and move so differently. What might be an easy movement pattern to one, may seem almost impossible to another.
Book in for a few sessions with a decent personal trainer. It may seem expensive at first but it could be invaluable in the long run. A decent personal trainers will educate you as you go, building you up so you can train independently. (The guys at SIX3NINE know their stuff - www.six3nine.com.)
If you're based in London, go to Ladies That Lift, the women's weightlifting class in London. It's every Saturday 8am - 9am in Covent Garden and teaches you the fundamental of weightlifting - with zero intimidation! I might be bias because I work there, but I could not recommend it enough.
I mean the class was actually designed specifically to get ladies confident when in the gym training alone! Check it out here www.six3nine.com/classes
5. Remember, nobody cares about you.
I hate to be frank but no-one really cares what you're doing in the gym. I guarantee you everyone is way too engrossed in their own training to even bat an eyelid at what you're up to. (Unless you're the guy in my local gym who wears jeans. We all stare at you.)
No-one is thinking 'what the hell is she doing with that barbell'.
And don't worry if someone approaches you and tries to give you advice on form. Their advice could be completely wrong/they could be a dick, in which case you can thank them and get on with your own shit. Either way, don't take it personally or feel embarrassed.
And if someone doesn't break eye contact with you for over 7 seconds? It's probably because you look great in those Lulus.
The weights area and the people that populate it aren't out to get you. Stop giving a f*ck and get in there. Every has to start someone and that time for you is now.