Weight and Resistance Training - Please help me get over my fear of the weight section at the gym!!!




Cammie-Cam
04-29-2009, 02:39 PM
I posted this in the general exercise forum but I actually meant to post it here. I'm sorry about that. Mods you can delete the other thread...

I have a gym membership but currently only do cardio while I'm there. I'd like to start doing some weight work, because I want to get the most out of my gym membership, but I'm intimidated by the weight section at the gym.

Okay that's not altogether true. I have weights and barbells at home and know most exercises, what to do, how to do them, proper form, etc. What I DON'T have in my house.. are the MEN. I'm afraid to go over to the weight section because of the men. I see very very few women in the weight section, and I just would feel like everyone would be looking at me. Plus I'm about 180 pounds, most of the women I see in the weight section are smaller than I am and look like they actually BELONG in the weights section. I just want to be able to go over there, look like I know what I'm doing, lift, and then go. Is there something I can do before hand to be prepared or at least look prepared before I go so I'm not wandering about the weight area looking like a dumbbell (no pun intended!)? Should I bring a list of exercises to do maybe? How did/do you ladies get over the "fear factor" of the weight section?


valareha
04-29-2009, 02:50 PM
Two things I have done to get acquainted with weights is use a personal trainer for a few sessions (Some gyms will give you a session free as an orientation) and also to take toning classes which incoporate weight training - you can learn many different weight training moves and use them on your own once you are comfortable.

Good Luck - weight training makes all the difference to how i feel even when I'm not eating as healthy as I should be :)

midwife
04-29-2009, 03:31 PM
Weights are SO much fun!! I am excited for you!!

I would second the recommendation of a trainer. It sounds like you know some basics, but it might be nice the first few times you lay your hands on the iron in the gym to have someone supportive there with you.

Men are people too. Just consider that they are probably focused mainly on their workouts. If they do notice you, they are probably so happy that you are there too! Plus, I get a :devil: kick out of lifting heavier than some of the guys at my gym (ok, they are teenagers, but still). You are doing this for you!!! How fun!


prepping
04-29-2009, 03:41 PM
I third the recommendation of a trainer! And having a set routine before you start helps as well. That way you're not just standing around figuring out what to do next. lol I was in the weight section by myself for the first time yesterday and just ignored everyone else around, just as they ignored me. Unless you wear bright pink polka dot clown shorts and hopscotch everywhere you go, no one is really all that interested in what you're up to! :D

As for the other women that seem like they "belong"... I admire them! And as for men that seem like they "belong".... well, I um...admire them too. lol :D

Jacque9999
04-29-2009, 03:48 PM
I fourth the recommendation of a trainer! I had been doing pilates for 2 months and FINALLY went back to the gym that I had been paying for and NOT using. I got a trainer (who actually will be starting a boot camp in May) and she was fantastic!!!! She showed me so many things and really pumped up my motivation. I look forward to it now!!!

:strong::strong::strong::strong::strong:

Cammie-Cam
04-29-2009, 03:51 PM
Thanks for the encouragement! I have actually had the membership for quite some time, since November, so I'm not even sure if I can still get the personal training session they offer you when you first join. I'll be sure to ask about it though.

I guess because I've seen the men that are in the gym at the time I am sometimes stare and oogle some of them women in there it makes me uncomfortable. There is one guy in particular than seems to be quite obnoxious. The unfortunate part is that he's ALWAYS there. There is not one time I'm at the gym that he's not lifting or standing around in the weights section. I guess I shouldn't let him dictate whether or not I get the most out of a membership that I'm paying for...

geoblewis
04-29-2009, 04:11 PM
The first time I joined a gym and actually used the weights was with a trainer. And it was a great experience, to be encouraged, to see results, and to get over my very similar inhibitions about the weight room.

I'm a big woman. I went in there and found that my body had actually been a weight-bearing exercise, and that I already had strong legs. I was pressing a lot of weight with my legs alone. But my arms were very weak. Then I started doing the "girl" thing and looking at what the other few women were doing while they were in there. Mostly they were there to flirt with the men. The ones who actually picked up the weights did not know what they were doing. Their form was all wrong, their breathing was off, and I could already lift as much as them.

So I finally got over myself and am now in love with weight training. Get the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women. It's really informative and a great place to start. I also got a training diary for myself in order to keep track. I am so anal about tracking. I copied pictures of exercises, pasted them in my diary so I can refer to them as needed, take plenty of notes. But that's just me. I use this: http://www.amazon.com/BodyMinder-Workout-Exercise-Journal-Fitness/dp/0963796844/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241032109&sr=8-1.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the best benefit of lifting, for me. It's the training high...I love it! It totally relaxes me and I sleep really well after it.

Georgia

kaw
04-29-2009, 04:22 PM
Cammie-Cam: If you can afford a trainer and are getting a good one, great. If you can't I strongly recommend that you mosey on over to Krista Scott Dixon's free site, www.stumptuous.com, and read, read, read.

So, how do you know if your trainer is good? Unfortunately, it can be hard for a beginner to tell, but here are some tips on what to avoid:
1) a trainer who steers you to the machines
2a) a trainer who doesn't emphasize compound lifts (those that work multiple major muscle groups at once -- e.g., squats, deadlifts, bench presses)
2b) a trainer who overemphasizes isolation exercises (e.g., by showing you a dozen ways to work your biceps, but only one way to work your back.)
3) a trainer who tells you that you can lengthen your muscles to "get a lean look," spot reduce, or "tone without building muscle"
4) a trainer who tells you that you don't want to do x, y, or z because "you don't want to bulk up." (Here's news: it ain't gonna happen, unless you're a genetic freak or taking androgens.)

As for the men-folk in the gym, you already have a good start on the right attitude: as a paying member, you have as much right to be in the weight section as anyone there, including the muscleheads (male or female)!

If it helps, try also to remember that most men in the weight section fall into one of two categories: lifters who are eager to help anyone who shows that they're trying, and lifters who just want to focus on their own lifts and get out of the gym. Sure, there are the occasional men (or women) who use the gym as a pick-up spot or who make fun of newbies. But these are a much, much smaller percentage than you might expect from the stereotypes about bodybuilders, and they're usually easily ignored!

Be strong,
Kim

midwife
04-29-2009, 04:23 PM
There is one guy in particular than seems to be quite obnoxious. The unfortunate part is that he's ALWAYS there. There is not one time I'm at the gym that he's not lifting or standing around in the weights section. I guess I shouldn't let him dictate whether or not I get the most out of a membership that I'm paying for...

Bleh. Don't let some icky goober keep you from reaching your goals. He is so not worth it!

LandonsBaby
04-29-2009, 09:42 PM
From what I've heard from men, they like that women are in the weight area. They think it's awesome when one of us "fluffy" ladies takes initiative to improve our heath by lifting weights. So basically, they think it's cool you are there. I will admit, I prefer to work out when the guys aren't all hovered around but I do tell myself that mostly likely, they don't really care what I am doing....unless I pick up the weight they just put down. :lol:

teahoney
04-30-2009, 09:16 PM
I know for me, right now I am taking classes at the gym that incorporate weights. When I have the extra dollars (hopefully in a month or so) I am going to hire a trainer for at least a couple of sessions to help with the machines.

jamsk8r
05-03-2009, 01:49 PM
If you can afford a trainer or get a free orientation session, that would be great, but if you can't, don't let that stop you. Start with a routine you know well, from working out at home, and do that. If you're very nervous, just start with, say, 3 exercises, that you know well, and vow to do those. It doesn't have to be a full workout, just something to get you in the door. Like you could do 3 sets of flat bench with a barbell, incline bench with dumbbells, and db flyes, then walk out of there and finish up with some cardio to calm your nerves. I was VERY nervous when I first started working out in the free weights room at the Y, so I can totally relate! :hug: Be brave, and go for it! Do a couple of shortened workouts if you need to, just to get your foot in the door, then you'll start to get comfortable, and you can start doing your "real" workouts there. Honestly, most guys are happy to see women lifting weights, and if they stop to stare, it's usually to gawk because they don't see a lot of women lifting heavy. If somebody stares at you, say, "Hi" and introduce yourself, shake hands, make a friend!

I always carried a clipboard with my workout chart on it, because I couldn't remember what weight I was using for every exercise, plus I could track my weights for that day's workout as I went along. Did not really see anyone else doing that, but it's what I had to do to keep accurate records, so I didn't really worry about what anyone thought of it. Online, though, it's rare to hear of somebody lifting who doesn't keep a log, so maybe all those guys just have really good memories and write stuff down when they get home.

Let us know when you get in there, and how it went!

WaterRat
05-05-2009, 11:32 PM
Hey, Cheryl, I always carry a small notebook with my workout: exercises, weight and reps. I date each entry and often list my weight there too. Keeps me on track. :)

Cammie-Cam
05-17-2009, 08:53 AM
Thank you sooooooo much ladies! I really do feel better about going now. Cheryl I think I will take your advice and work on maybe 3 exercises to start, then leave, and maybe add a new exercise each week. Georgia, I have New Rules, I was using it at home, but found that I wasn't really getting the benefits of the exercises because I was doing them at home. I didn't have a gym membership at the time, so now I guess I can use it there now!

Thinfor5Minutes
05-20-2009, 03:50 PM
I subscribe to several fitness magazines for women; [I]Oxygen[I] is a favorite. They have great exercises in there; I cut them out and put them in those clear plastic sleeves, then put them into a folder I bought at the drugstore for less than $1. It really helps to have a visual to show proper form, etc. Then I march over to the weights area with my head held high and pretend I know exactly what I am doing.

KDuffer
05-21-2009, 08:50 AM
As a man who often hits the weights, I can tell you that most people in there don't even notice that there are other people. To be honest, the only times I pay attention to someone is (1) the person is using too much weight, making loud grunting noises and using bad form or (2) the person is doing a new exercise that I've never seen before (I like to use them for my own routine). Big, small, weak, strong, I think it's great that people do weights.

Cammie-Cam
05-24-2009, 11:13 AM
I subscribe to several fitness magazines for women; [I]Oxygen[I] is a favorite. They have great exercises in there; I cut them out and put them in those clear plastic sleeves, then put them into a folder I bought at the drugstore for less than $1. It really helps to have a visual to show proper form, etc. Then I march over to the weights area with my head held high and pretend I know exactly what I am doing.


I do subscribe to Oxygen which is what's been motivating me to enter the weight section and do some of the workouts that are in the mag. I haven't been able to go yet, I was finishing up final exams for school and have done most of my workouts at home since that was more convenient for me. School's out though, so I'll let you guys know how things turn out. :)

jamsk8r
05-24-2009, 12:04 PM
Cam, we'll be waiting for your report, to hear how your first day went. You can do this! :hug:

OptimistK
05-25-2009, 09:42 AM
Something I did (because I was a college student on a budget) when I first started going to the gym, I would look up videos of certain exercises/machines I wanted to do online, that way I got a visual feel for what I should be doing. Just do a google search and you should be able to find something.

Lastly, the men at my gym were really nice to me! There were quite a bit of women though that lifted, some of them really hardcore. I actually think the gentlemen admire that!