Hopefully I don’t need to start this article by telling you the benefits of weight training for women. You should already know by now that lifting weights is a fantastic way to burn fat and build lean muscle mass (something we ALL want, trust me!). Not only that, weight training also helps prevent injury by strengthening connective tissue, tendons and ligaments, and it helps ward off bone loss by improving bone density.
However, walking into the weights room can be intimidating at the best of times, especially as a typically male dominated section of the gym, and when you’re in a new environment it can seem even more so.
Here are my top tips for getting comfortable with the uncomfortable:
Ever heard the saying “fake it till you make it”? This rings true to me for so many situations, and I think it fits well here too. If you walk in somewhere with your head hanging and looking all forelorn and Bambi-esque then of course you’re going to feel out of place. Hold your head high and act like you BELONG… because you do! Confidence is key.
Having said that, if you don’t know how a piece of equipment works, don’t just flap around on it like a fish out of water. If there’s someone nearby (and preferably not in the middle of a heavy set) then don’t be afraid to ask for their help. Let’s face it, most people in the gym would be happy to take the opportunity to show off their knowledge. And no-one ever wants to be caught doing bicep curls on the hamstring machine.
If you can, try to plan ahead what exercises you are going to do and what equipment you’ll need. If you tend to cycle your training splits (e.g. chest and biceps, back and triceps, legs and shoulders) then look to switch them up to non-typical days. And whatever you do, avoid the bench on Mondays… everyone knows that Monday is chest day.
So no matter how prepared you are, something can always go against you. The weights room might not have all the equipment you’ve planned to use, or it might be super busy and you might not get a chance to use what you want to. Free weights or kettlebells are usually a good option as most gyms have a range of weights available and you can work your whole body with a well-planned routine. Opt for super sets (two different movements performed back to back) to get the most out of your time.
This is probably the most important point – familiarise yourself with the gym’s policies. Some gyms don’t allow you to perform Olympic lifts, some may not let you drop the weights when they get heavy, and ALL should expect you to clean the equipment after use. And if you need a spotter – ask someone! Keep it safe, ladies.
Do you have any tips for starting out in a new gym? Comment below or get in touch!
I've always been a bit afraid of weights as I see them as more a man's exercise - I know I shouldn't! Maybe I'll give them a go.
wow the girl in the pic is strong!!!
interesting, I had never really considered that weight training lessens the chance of injuries. Years ago, I used to get a lot of injuries when I ran, but since starting using the gym (for weights on my lower half too) I don't get the injuries anymore.
I tried the 'fake it til you make it'. approach for my first few sessions but eventually I think they spotted the amateur and came to help!
Confidence is key is the point I'll be taking away from this. I really struggle in public despite having a great weights workout at home. I'm fine on the cardio machines in the gym but always struggle when it comes to free weights - I think I can do it though and will keep this post in mind. Thanks!
the equipment at the gym is completely baffling for newbies, and using it incorrectly can cause injury. Gyms need someone in the fitness room at all times who is wearing a 'need help? just ask' t-shirt.