Women are finally realizing the endless benefits of stepping inside the weight room and lifting heavy. No longer are females tied to the treadmills or on the sidelines doing ab work, and the fear of looking bulky and manly is finally coming to an end. Because let’s be honest: not lifting weights because you fear you might end up looking like a bodybuilder is as silly as not driving a car because you fear becoming a Nascar racer.
The reality is there is still a hyper-masculine view of the weight room. When I ask you to picture a gym, chances are you instantly see a bunch of bros smashing weights around, grunting, and participating in other bro-like behaviour. From an outside observer, especially a female, this can be very intimidating.
How does a woman enter this man space without feeling like she is being judged or gawked at?
A good portion of men have no idea what they are doing, but are still comfortable returning day after day. Well ladies, we need to do something about this. Here are four ways you can start working towards feeling more confident in the gym:
1. Invest in a proper program
When I first started lifting, I had no idea what I was doing. I had dreams of stepping on a stage and competing, but that’s all I knew. I wasted the first six to eight months of my gym life because I didn’t seek out proper help. Like most others I thought, “It’s lifting weights – what could be so difficult about it? You pick up heavy stuff, then you put it down. Simple!”
Yeah, not so simple.
Ladies, invest in a proper training program someone with more experience and knowledge designs for you specific to your goals. I am sure the majority of you are saying, but I can’t afford it, money is tight right now, blah, blah, blah.
How much did you spend going out last week? How much did do you spend when you get your hair and nails done? How much did that Lululemon outfit and Nike shoes cost you?
You cannot be willing to spend money to look good temporarily, yet not invest in something that will make you look great and feel amazing, permanently. Invest.
2. Embrace your femininity
I’ll be the first to admit, I love getting ready and picking out what to wear. I do this every morning when I put my gym gear on. I absolutely love picking out gym outfits, way more than I do regular clothing (weird, I know). Matching my sports bras with my leggings, my headbands with my shoes; it’s just fun in that girly way we are all familiar with. When you walk out on that gym floor, you feel great because you know you look great – the same feeling you get when you are out with friends and your outfit is on point. Embrace the feeling of looking good instead of throwing on old sweats all the time – have fun with it!
3. Ignore the gawkers
You are a female entering bro space, looking confident in your gym getup with a detailed program in hand, ready to smash some heavy weights and get your sweat on. People will look at you because you are a badass chick.
No one cares how much weight you are using; they are looking at you in awe. You are a female fighting the norm of the weight room knowing exactly how to work out in order to meet your goals and not being afraid to take control of the equipment you need. I would be staring too!
After a few workouts you will be so focused on your workout, headphones in, world blocked out, just doing your thing and none of this will matter anymore.
4. Use social media as a boost
Social media is great for a number of reasons.
If you are afraid of flooding your friends and family with fitness-related posts, make a secret account on twitter or Instagram and connect with strangers that have similar goals as you. This allows you to create a positive environment where others can cheer you on while you do the same to them. Another benefit of sharing your experience through online posts is that you get a feeling of accountability, not only to yourself but to your followers.
You want to keep others updated and let them know you are sticking to your goals, which forces you to actually stick to them. Another advantage? Progress picture database. Since I post quite frequently I have created a bank of all my photos over the last few years which allows me to regularly look back to see how far I have come. This is a very important part of any process.
We are currently in a movement where females are owning their bodies. We are all different shapes and sizes. We all have different goals, but what is beautiful is that more and more females are finding a new found love for their body by treating it properly. No more restricting diets to the point of starvation and killing ourselves with cardio. Embrace your curves, find your strength and go lift something heavy with confidence. It’s time to claim our space in the weight room.
About the author
Jasmine Moore is a 26-year-old bodybuilder who competes with the Ontario Physique Association in the Figure Class. Jasmine has an advanced diploma in Biotechnology and an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Biomolecular science. Both her passion and knowledge contribute to both her and her clients success in health and fitness.