Weight and Resistance Training - Intimidated by the men at my gym!! help!




Mukisa
12-15-2005, 11:50 PM
I just joined a new gym, the first time I'm in a co-ed gym and I can't seem to do my workout, the men in there are so intimidating to me that I walked in once, did a little leg press and left! I just feel like they're looking at me, like 'this fat chick doesnt belong here' and that Im just using the machines and wasting their time.. I know, it sounds so bad, but I can't get this feeling out! and not to mention, they make loud embarassing noises, rarely change the plates and hog the machines.. Ive already talked to staff about it and they have put up signs but.. *sigh* that doesn't change much

I guess what Im looking for is a mantra, something to say to my inner thoughts, that are making me feel like how I felt back in highschool around boys.. That Im not good enough to be around them.. God, its so stupid!! but, its my old insecurities...


Valerie Joy
12-16-2005, 12:59 AM
Mukisa I felt the same way when I use to go to the YMCA. I would swim lamps in the lap pool and I always felt like the guys and women were thinking I was to fat and to slow to be in the lap pool. I ended up quitting the YMCA and joining curves which I like much better. I don't feel like people are judging me there.

Tealeaf
12-16-2005, 02:07 AM
I would advise that you make your mantra, "I'm here for me, not for them". Truth be told, it is very unlikely that they are thinking about you at all. They're probably more focused on themselves, as you should be too in this situation.

You've paid your dime, and you have every bit as much right to be there as anyone else. You're doing your best to make yourself better, else you wouldn't be there in the first place. The gym is not a club for good looking people, it's a place to go to exercise to make your body better.

Hold your head up, don't worry about what might be in the heads of others, and go!


2frustrated
12-16-2005, 04:39 AM
I agree with tealeaf - they are more concerned about the size of their pecs than anyone else! ;)

kara22
12-16-2005, 07:58 AM
The average person at the gym is so lost in their own world that they aren't looking around at the other people working out. I personally "zone out" at the gym and I bet it looks like I'm staring sometimes! Instead of a mantra to repeat, I recommend getting a guy/girl to show how to use all the machines so you feel confident and then try to go to the gym at off hours to avoid the meathead crowds. I am a member at a gym that is notrious for it's "single's bar" atmosphere, but I avoid it by going at odd times.

I don't reccommend Curves gym, it's not a real workout, it's just a social gathering that happens to take place at a gym. If you want to get fit, you have to go to a real gym. Good luck with your workouts!

RobertW
12-16-2005, 08:21 AM
I like it when people are lifting and pushing themselves, regardless of the weights being handled. Some of the more dedicated lifters at my YMCA are women, a few of which are way ahead of the average male lifter in lower body strength.

The men get intimidated as well. Last year, when I was considerably fatter, I worked in on the overhead press with a guy who was using 95#. I guess he was feeling pretty good about himself because he kept lifting up his shirt between sets and checking out his abs. I then proceeded to put 225# on the bar and start doing my ladders(cycles of 1,2 and 3 rep sets), and the next thing I know he is giving unsolicited advice to quit lifting weights and focus on cardio. "You need to lose some weight". He wasn't even all that thin himself (~20% BF?).

I have the opposite reaction and find it fascinating to watch people lift big weights with good form.

Tealeaf
12-16-2005, 12:40 PM
That's a funny story, Robert. You just know that he was really meaning "Quit lifting weights so that I don't look weak in comparison to you!"

I would have probably been pretty snide, in your place. "Oh, I happened to see that you don't lift that heavy yourself. No offence, but it looks like you're not as serious about this as I am. You'll understand if I pass on your advice, I hope."

One think I like about having home equipment is that I don't have to put up with ridiculous conversations like that.

MrsJim
12-16-2005, 01:25 PM
I just joined a new gym, the first time I'm in a co-ed gym and I can't seem to do my workout, the men in there are so intimidating to me that I walked in once, did a little leg press and left! I just feel like they're looking at me, like 'this fat chick doesnt belong here' and that Im just using the machines and wasting their time.. I know, it sounds so bad, but I can't get this feeling out! and not to mention, they make loud embarassing noises, rarely change the plates and hog the machines.. Ive already talked to staff about it and they have put up signs but.. *sigh* that doesn't change much


I don't know what to say except what has already been said regarding the fact that everyone there is (or SHOULD be) focused on their OWN workout.

I hear ya on the leaving plates on the machines though...that was a problem at my previous gym; even with signs everywhere people (and it wasn't just guys!) would leave plates everywhere except where they belonged, not just plates but dumbbells would never be put back where they were supposed to go, or they would just 'disappear' forever, and so on. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe it was because I was usually there around 4:15 am, when there were like TWO employees around (one at the front desk, one janitorial/cleanup guy) for a two-story facility, perhaps later in the day the situation wasn't so bad...but I digress (as usual!).

My immediate suggestion would be to invest in an MP3 player and some good headphones so you can really focus on YOUR workout and tune out everything else...players are incredibly cheap right now (there ARE more than just iPods around) and they're 1,000% better than a CD player...having your own music (or listening to "Books on Tape") makes your workout more fun and helps to focus. ;)

teapotdynamo
12-16-2005, 01:41 PM
I definitely know how you feel. I recently moved to a different part of the city and go to a different gym. While plenty of women used the free weights at my old gym, I am the only woman I *ever* see in that area of my new gym. And the men at this gym are HUGE -- tattooed, big, serious (and sometimes they like to critique my form... ugh). Like you, the first time I went I was completely intimidated and actually left before finishing out my program. The second time, however, I was DETERMINED not to be intimidated. Now I actually feel a certain amount of pride for sauntering over there as if I owned the place. It may take time, but I truly think if you can make it past that initial hump you won't think about it. One other thing; I noticed that there's almost nobody there in the mornings, so I started making sure I get my a** out of bed in the morning so I don't have to work out at "Rikers" (my nickname for the place at night). Changing your time may actually help you, too.

I definitely think, just in general, that it's good for us formerly and currently fat folks not to cower in fear in places we aren't comfortable. At some point, we have to embrace the fact that we are are no less entitled to walk this earth (or work out at a gym!) than the skinny and beautiful. Keep your head high and know you're doing the right thing for you, your body, and your self-esteem!

RobertW
12-16-2005, 02:59 PM
And the men at this gym are HUGE -- tattooed, big, serious (and sometimes they like to critique my form... ugh). Like you, the first time I went I was completely intimidated and actually left before finishing out my program. The second time, however, I was DETERMINED not to be intimidated.

Which Gym is this? I lift at the W63rd st. YMCA in Manhattan, and it is not nearly as hardcore as I would like.

slimmingsi
12-16-2005, 07:07 PM
i used to train at a hardcore gym. full oldstyle rusty plates everywhere cold wharehouse type building and some of the guys were massive. but i found they were some of the most helpful nicest people around. i found that yes they all looked at me for the first few sessions lifting my meager 80lb bench (recovering from dislocated shoulder). but in the end i got talking to a few guys and they said the unwritten rule for any good gym is it don't matter what your lifting as long as your are lifting

teapotdynamo
12-16-2005, 07:37 PM
Robert - it's Queens, baby! Long Island City. I just moved from Manhattan where it wasn't hardcore at all at the Kips Bay Crunch (except a couple of the trainers). Things are different out here in the boroughs :).

RobertW
12-16-2005, 07:49 PM
Robert - it's Queens, baby! Long Island City. I just moved from Manhattan where it wasn't hardcore at all at the Kips Bay Crunch (except a couple of the trainers). Things are different out here in the boroughs :).

Yes, they are. There was a pretty hardcore gym up here in Washington Heights ("Frank's") but I think Frank went to jail and the place closed. Ah, well, when Frank gets out of Riker's he should be "Prison Big".

Ilene
12-16-2005, 09:20 PM
...the unwritten rule for any good gym is it don't matter what your lifting as long as your are liftingslimmingsi -- what a great saying!! Mukisa, you should heed that saying :yes: ... We're all in the gym for the same reason to get healthy and strong :strong:

Mukisa
12-17-2005, 04:51 PM
Thank you guys so much for the encouragment. I really need to remember that I am just as worthy as all these others, and learn to laugh more at these grunting noises I hear (well to myself) then letting it make me feel uncomfortable. Or ignore it alltogether! I'm trying to get a petition started at the gym for the staff to start enforcing the rules of not using a towel after a machine, stacking without removing etc. So far,I have a few women who agree with me.

But aside from that, I have to remember this:

it don't matter what your lifting as long as your are lifting

I am DETERMINED not to be intimidated. I am going to feel a certain amount of pride sauntering over there as if I owned the place. (love that!)

Get a rockin' playlist going on my iPod.. lots of hip hop.

Remind myself that everyone gets intimidated at some point

Try to haul my butt up before 7:30am to get to the gym

I've paid my dime and do deserve to be there as much as them

"I'm here for me, not for them".

Thanks everyone!!!

slimmingsi
12-17-2005, 10:01 PM
I'm trying to get a petition started at the gym for the staff to start enforcing the rules of not using a towel after a machine, stacking without removing etc.

this is an interesting point most gyms provide paper towels to wipe down but enforcing is hard especially if you gym is really busy and there is a que. with regards to the stacking and not removing thats an almost impossible things to do. example i do 600lb on the diagonal leg press ( the 45 degree sled thing) for i needs 10 20kg lates plus a few little ones. thing is after i've done a serious leg session i can barely carry myself around the room let alone unload the rack.

Mukisa
12-17-2005, 10:53 PM
Hey slimmings,I totally understand the amount of weight you need is different from mine. But I think you may have proved my point as to what my problem is. I may actually not be strong enough to move the plates after you may have used them, so this, on top of the whole intimidated part, makes for another reason why I feel that some men may consider us a nuisance in the gym.. Don't forget, I know your tired after all that weight, but theres me behind you, why am I expected to clean up after you?!


Maybe some are resistant because now they have to really start considering the others that don't lift nearly as much as that! I can do about 95lbs on the diag. leg press, so if I were to leave my weights, at least you would be adding to it and not having to remove them. I actually do prefer working out after a woman, because sometimes we are at around the same level and theres not a large amount of adjusting to be done (and time to be wasted!)

I have just been speaking to other women there, and heard simular concerns. I don't think that enforcing it would be of great difficulty, it is the culture of the gym that needs to change and perhaps some people need to be accountable for their actions.

RobertW
12-18-2005, 10:06 AM
this is an interesting point most gyms provide paper towels to wipe down but enforcing is hard especially if you gym is really busy and there is a que. with regards to the stacking and not removing thats an almost impossible things to do. example i do 600lb on the diagonal leg press ( the 45 degree sled thing) for i needs 10 20kg lates plus a few little ones. thing is after i've done a serious leg session i can barely carry myself around the room let alone unload the rack.

Consider unloading part of your workout. Also put the weights back where they belong; don't put 20kg plates on top of the 2.5kg.

slimmingsi
12-18-2005, 10:36 AM
i have to take most the plates off the smith machine at the other end of the room only about 15 feet but afer 3 sets of 6 to failure its dangerous. usually i don't have any problems unloading cos i use nearlly all the 20kg plates in the gym so there is usually a nice crowd of guys hovering around waiting for me to finish to dive in and grab what they need

kykaree
12-18-2005, 01:28 PM
Warning - non technical descriptions ahead! Our gym is a small council run one, and it's tiny. Our machines are the ones with pins, where you choose the weight you want, so there isn't any lifting of plates, thank goodness.

My main bugbear is our free weight area is tiny. men often sit on the benches for ages (and I am talking 20 - 30 minutes) resting between sets, and we only have two benches. At first I used to avoid weights. Now I just approach with humour and say, can I share your sandpit please, I want to play too! My other issue is that our gym has a tiny budget and they have just invested in a set of weights which goes from 25 kg to 40 kg. They take up quite a bit of room, only 5% (and that's generous) of the gym membership use them, and people don't put them away after use. I get them back to move them. All the people who do use them have spotters, usually who haven't been using them, so the "tired" issue isn't one I accept with them. Or I get the staff to move them. We have no equipment like fitballs which annoys me as I think 50% of our membership would have benefitted from those rather than the ginormous weights, but hey ho! Some you win, some you lose.

The staff are there to help, and I know they're busy, but no one objects to helping out if you can't move weights on your own, they would rather do that than risk you injuring yourself.

As for the cleanliness issue, if someone is about to finish and I am queing I bring over some paper sprayed with disinfectant (it's hanging on the walls at two points in our gym) and hand it to the finisher so they can clean up after themselves. They appreciate not having to walk over and come back.

I think what would make gyms great is more teamwork. We all have different needs and abilities and it's about taking ownership of our space, and our responsibilities to others.

RobertW
12-18-2005, 01:37 PM
My main bugbear is our free weight area is tiny. men often sit on the benches for ages (and I am talking 20 - 30 minutes) resting between sets, and we only have two benches. At first I used to avoid weights. Now I just approach with humour and say, can I share your sandpit please, I want to play too!

Ask if you can work in with them. If they balk explain to them that they have to share with people who want to use the benches for their intended purpose. They can go recover on the bench out in the hall.

Most people get embarassed and hop right up if you ask to work in.

kykaree
12-18-2005, 01:45 PM
Nah wouldn't work in the north of England, with these tough Lancashire folk, humour (with a sprinkle of dryness) works best. If I asked to work with them it would be instantly assumed that I fancy them and it would be taken as a come on!!!! Eeek!!!! And we;re not talking cute guys like slimmingsi, :) We don't have a hall! Every available space is used up, although there are chairs they should be using but they are near the managers office and some people are embarrassed to sit there!

Mel
12-18-2005, 03:27 PM
with regards to the stacking and not removing thats an almost impossible things to do. example i do 600lb on the diagonal leg press ( the 45 degree sled thing) for i needs 10 20kg lates plus a few little ones. thing is after i've done a serious leg session i can barely carry myself around the room let alone unload the rack.

Wow! RANT ahead!

As a gym employee (actually I only get paid when I'm training a client), I'm the lucky one who gets to unload your plates :p I've been known to chase down guys in the men's locker room and embarrass them into coming back and cleaning up after themselves. OK, so you're strong enough to need almost all the 20k plates in your gym? Take a few minutes rest then put them away!!!! It will help your grip. :)

We have 100 pounds plates next to the leg presses in my gym. I'm strong enough to press several of these per side, but I'm NOT strong enough to rack or unrack them. So I don't use them. One joker left ten of them on the leg press last week and I tried to clean up so I could train a client. I managed to get 1 off and successfully onto the plate rack, but the second one went onto the floor. There was no way I had the strength to rack it. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to pry a 100 pound plate off the floor?

Same goes for dumbbells. If you are strong enough to use 90 pounders for anything you are old enough and strong enough to put them away. Gym employees are NOT your mother.

BTW, I've pressed 10 plates and put them away.

End of rant.

Mel

WaterRat
12-19-2005, 02:35 PM
Yay Mel! I get so annoyed with people who can't/won't clean up after themselves in any situation (not just the gym - folks at work who don't wash their dishes hear from me!) Our gym provides spray cleaner and towels to wipe down the cardio equipment, and most of the folks who are there when I am are pretty good about this. Some to the extreme of wiping down the whole machine after they do a 5 min warm-up and frankly didn't even sweat. :lol:

Like Kykaree, most of the machines I use have the captured weights you change with a pin so I'm not bothered by the plates issue - they're in another part of the gym. I do speak up if someone leaves the free weights on the floor.

4rabbit
12-20-2005, 08:58 AM
Hi Mel,

My thoughts EXACTLY when I read Slimminsi's post. If you are so macho that you must use huge amounts of weights, then are so tired that you cannot clean up after yourself, you need to bring your own slave with you to clean up.

If you have no slave, clean up after yourself.

I am a relatively tiny older woman who is totally, but totally fed up by having to clean up after men that are younger, bigger AND much stronger than I am because they do not feel up to it.

GROW UP! to all the people that do not put the stuff back where it belongs. if ypu are capable og getting it out, you are certainly capable of putting it back.

Thank you Mel for giving me the courage of speaking my mind on this.

rabbit

slimmingsi
12-20-2005, 09:59 AM
firstly using loads of plates isn't "macho" its just what i need to train to failure in 8 reps. which is part of my programme and its not cos i'm a muscle head its because of my weight my legs are used to carrying it around. secondly if you are training to failure and you can carry plates around you havn't trained hard enough. like those "macho" guys who use massive dumbells then insist on throwing them when they finish a set

RobertW
12-20-2005, 10:31 AM
firstly using loads of plates isn't "macho" its just what i need to train to failure in 8 reps. which is part of my programme and its not cos i'm a muscle head its because of my weight my legs are used to carrying it around. secondly if you are training to failure and you can carry plates around you havn't trained hard enough.

Training to absolute failure is one of the LEAST productive strategies you can follow. The whole "one set to absolute failure" method is a gimick developed by Arthur Jones to sell Nautilus machines. If you can develop a decent physique with HIT, you could deveop a GREAT one with more volume and less intensity. There is no reason to train until you puke or mess yourself.

Leave enough in the tank so you can put the plates back and wipe the machines down afterwords.

Meg
12-20-2005, 12:56 PM
if you are training to failure and you can carry plates around you havn't trained hard enough.

Sorry, Si, you're not going to find any sympathy here. You're pressing with your legs, not your arms and shoulders, right? Put the :censored: weights back!

Keep in mind that many women can't lift off the heavy plates and YOU refusing to clean up after yourself is denying them the right to use a machine. How fair is that to the other members of your gym?

In my gym, it's considered the height of rudeness not to re-rack your weights (of course, we have morons who still think the rules don't apply to them - every gym does :dizzy: ).

If you can't put back your own weights, you have no business being in a gym.

hellcatjill
12-20-2005, 08:01 PM
Think of it this way. . . would you drive until you completely run out of gas and then just walk home? No. You save enough fuel to get home or to a gas station, right? Same should be the case at the gym. Either you save enough "fuel" to put your weights back or you rest up long enough to get enough strength back to put them away. Or maybe you could work out with a friend and take turns putting plates back. That way you can work out to complete exhaustion and have him put the plates back, then next time you can do the same for him. I don't know. I'm sure you'll think of something ;)

Luckily, our gym has a separate women's only area so I don't have to deal with this if I don't want to.

BethC
12-21-2005, 07:03 AM
I totally agree Meg. I've actually gone after guys at the gym that didn't put their plates back. First of all it's just plain rude, and 2nd I can't always get the large ones off myself.

jennifa
01-03-2006, 06:40 PM
"Homer. Wipe off the machine. I'm getting a rash." - McBain