How To Overcome Weight Room Fear
|August 2, 2011||Posted by Katy under Health Tips, Weight Lifting, Weight Lifting Tips|
I have always considered myself to be an athlete. These days, my sport of choice is running. However, one look at my about page and you will notice that I haven’t always been a runner. In fact, I hated running!
In high school, I was more focused on the “field” aspect of track-and-field and threw the discus and shotput all four years. For the first two years, I was not that great. I had no technique but I had natural strength which allowed me to throw the discus far enough to place in local meets.
It wasn’t until my junior year that I decided that I wanted to focus more on throwing, specifically the discus. Over the next two years, I worked with a couple of throwing coaches who helped me with my throwing technique. I dedicated countless hours to throwing and even practiced over the weekend.
My technique improved and I placed high in every meet I did my junior and senior year, ending with me placing 4th Overall in the state of Florida for Class 1A.
However, technique was not everything when it came to throwing. Yes it was important, but I attribute my success in discus throwing due to the strength training I did.
My dad was my official strength and conditioning coach for two years. In two years, I learned a lot from him and while he is not a certified personal trainer (although I think he should look into it ), he is very knowledgable about weight lifting.
After high school, I fell off the strength training bandwagon. I would start up again, only to quit a few days later. Why?
Because the weight room intimidated me!
Admittedly I was spoiled in high school. Over the years, my dad transformed our garage into a home gym complete with a weight bench, rack, and all of the free weights you can imagine. When I went to college, I no longer had the privacy of being in my home. Instead, I had to deal with the “meatheads” in the college/ local gym. Every time I walked into the weight room, I immediately felt all eyes fall on me and always hightailed it out of there!
Recently I have decided to tackle strength training again to have a stronger body overall (and hopefully reduce my risk of injury). This time, I have a new outlook. I am not allowing any “meatheads” to scare me out of the weight room!
Here are a few of my “tricks” to overcome my fear of the weight room:
1) Go into the weight room already knowing how to do everything. This is important not only for confidence, but also for personal safety. If you have the money, consider hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions. They will personalize a workout for you and your goals and teach you how to do exercises correctly! (Some gyms have special introductory rates and/or group rates which can keep the cost down.)
However, if you can not hire a personal trainer, a GREAT resource is the ExRx Exercise & Muscle Directory. They have exercises organized by body part and by muscle groups and each exercise has a small image showing you how to do the exercise. YouTube is also a great resource for exercises!
2) Play confidence boosting music! Sounds like an easy tip, but it works every time! Seriously! Playing music that makes you feel confident will allow you to get into your “happy place” and put yourself in a “meathead repellent bubble”.
Not going to lie, I play the most OBNOXIOUS “club bumping” music when I lift and run. I usually hate this type of music, but it makes me feel on top of the world when I workout.
3) Realize that you will get looks. Hate to say it, but it is true- you will get looks from people. Since the weight room seems to be very testosterone filled, putting a little estrogen in there makes men give you looks. They range from “why is she in here?” to “get the heck out of here” to “oh man, she can lift more than me” to “oh baby .” Just remember, that YOU are allowed to be in the weight room. It is a free country and women are just as strong as men! Easier said than done but don’t let the looks scare or intimate you.
You will realize over time that the looks will diminish as you see the same people all the time. However, if all else fails, just give them a friendly smile and go about your business!
4) Try to go during “non-peak” hours. I realize that this may not be a possibility for those who work a 9-5 job, but if you have the opportunity, try to go to the gym in the mid-morning or early-afternoon. You avoid the before and after work crowds and usually the weight room is not as busy, allowing you to have more space and use of the equipment.
Another great time to go is early in the morning on the weekend. My gym opens at 7am on Saturday and Sunday, and I love going to the gym that early because I am basically alone!
5) Act like you are the S*@t! Normally I refrain from using expletives on my blog, but it is needed here. Don’t go into the weight room looking uncomfortable, timid, and scared- even if you are feeling all three of these feelings, keep your “poker face“.
Pretend that you are the best weightlifter in the world. Pretend that you can take every single person in the weight room and bench press them. Whatever it takes..just be the s*@t. It’s okay!
Of course, these tips can apply to both women and men!
If I can get over my weight room fear, so can you! So get up, go hit up the weight room, and get STRONG!
Do you strength train? Do you have any tips you would like to add to the list?