Have you ever wanted to go to the gym and use the weights section?…But when you arrive, you see that the weights are dominated by the super-strong looking people lifting heavy, and you suddenly find yourself drifting back to the cardio machines or mats? We’ve all been there…
Having spoken to countless men and women of all ages (and from personal experience) who go to the gym, they like to stick to cardio or doing exercises on the mats where they feel comfortable working out. They have feelings of anxiety or uncertainty to enter the weights section to use the weights, even though they do want to use them. And rightly so, it never looks particularly inviting when all the squat racks are full and there seems to be no room to work out!
When I first started lifting, I always felt ‘watched’ and intimidated by other people standing around all the weights. I never wanted to ask if I could jump in using the squat rack or whatever I needed, so ended up just using dumbbells for the majority of my workout, which is ok up to the point where you run out of exercises to do… Eventually, I realised that I had as much right to be using the racks and free weights as everyone else!
MY TOP 6 TIPS:
- CONFIDENCE – Have confidence in yourself and don’t feel intimidated by anyone else using the weights. You have every right to be lifting just as much as others do. And you should never feel anxious, or like you are doing something out the ordinary.
- PLAN – Always go with a plan! Countless individuals will arrive at the gym and not be 100% certain on what they are training that day, or what equipment they will need that session. So, either the night before or during the day before going to the gym, think what you are going to train that day/week (for example, you might be training chest so will need the bench). Following a set program or workout is the best way to know what you are doing in the gym! – When I first started lifting I quickly jotted down on my notes on my phone what my workout was for that evening, so I wasn’t stood around like a lemon for 20 minutes thinking what my next exercise would be and what equipment I would need.
- TRAIN WITH SOMEONE – Going to the gym with your friend can massively help reduce any anxiety when weight training. You can both liaise with one another with what you want to do and how you are going to do it. Likewise, if you are worried about lifting heavy weights, you will both be able to help and spot one another where necessary.
- GOOD PLAYLIST – This is absolutely key if you want to knuckle down, get on with your workout and not feel unsettled when training. Listening to a good playlist and blocking out all surrounding sound will allow you to focus on your training session and you wont think twice about what section of the gym you are in and who’s around you.
- FIND A GYM THAT SUITS YOU – Everyone will have different goals they desire to achieve, so finding a gym that is going to fulfill those goals is vital. If you find working around the opposite sex intimidating and you know you are not going to get in a rewarding workout, there is the option to go to ‘single-sex’ gyms, or ‘women only’ weight section gyms. If this is not possible, a second option would be to try and avoid peak times (4:30-7:30pm) so the weights section won’t be as busy. The more suited a gym is to meet your needs, the more comfortable, and therefore more confident you will feel working out there.
- AVOID COMPARISONS – Avoid comparing yourself with other people. If you see a man or woman lifting heavy in the gym it can be massively off-putting. Don’t feel like you have to lift really heavy from the word go – everyone, and every ‘body’ is different, with different goals you want to achieve. So this means your workout will be different to everyone in that gym as it is unique to you.
… There is no need to feel anxious or uncertain when weights training, YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO LIFT WEIGHTS AND HAVE A REWARDING WORKOUT!