Lifting heavy has a huge amount of benefits for you, both physically and mentally, but as many female gym goers know, stepping foot in the testosterone-fueled weights area, can be daunting. Overcoming gym anxiety is hard enough for those that have only just started on their fitness journey, but add in the fear of the weights room and you could find yourself missing out on an awesome workout!
Why do we have the weight room fear?
I’ve thought about this a lot over the past few months, after starting with weights at home and deciding to progress to heavier weights in the gym. The one thing that stopped me from continuing my normal weighted routine, was the fear of stepping foot into the weights room.
In many gyms, the weights room will be sectioned off in some way, closing it off from the world and allowing people to disappear into ‘the zone’. However, in my experience, this is detrimental to a lot of gym goers that feel too intimidated to step foot in, what feels like, a boys-only club.
When I started to look a little deeper into exactly why I was afraid to step into the weights room, it wasn’t anything to do with gender, but of fearing that people would find out that I have no idea what I’m doing!
Conquering your weight room fears through education
The fear of embarrassment is the one thing that holds us back from doing what is best and usually the most fun. Whether it’s meeting new people or trying a new workout, we fear that we’ll make a fool out of ourselves and so avoid it completely.
To conquer the weight room fear, you have to feel confident that you know how to use the equipment and go in with a routine planned out. This way, you’ll be able to stride in there, gather the equipment you know you need and crack on with your workout.
There’s nothing wrong with asking
If you have no idea how to use some of the equipment in there, ask someone who works in the gym for a weight room induction. Many trainers would prefer you to ask them to show you around, as it means that you are less likely to hurt yourself and they’ll spend less time phoning ambulances for people that ran before they could walk.
You may also find that the people that frequent the weight room are eager to share their knowledge and they may actually be more than happy to talk you through how to use a piece of equipment or how to use proper form.
How did I get enough confidence to enter the weight room?
After watching endless amounts of fitness vloggers and Instagrammers, I started to pick up on certain moves and what part of the body it worked. I then started to try them out in the gym and pick the ones that I felt the most benefit from, but it’s only by watching these fitness YouTubers that I learned what you can do in the gym and how to do the moves with proper form.
I also have to sing the praises of my gym, Bannantyne Gym in Manchester City Centre. Not only are the staff super friendly and helpful, but the layout of the gym means that the weights section and squat racks are all open plan. This means there is no scary threshold to try and pluck up the courage to step over, simply stroll on over and pick up some weights.
I definitely think it makes a massive difference having a completely open plan gym, as there are no areas that feel like they are ‘exclusive’ or closed off from certain people. I always see a great mix of females and males using the weights section, something I never saw at gyms like Pure Gym.
If you have that fear of the weights room and you are desperate to get over it and start lifting, check out YouTubers such as Nikki Blackketter or GraceFitUK to get some ideas of what moves you could do and start to build a routine ready for your next gym session!