Last updated 6 months ago by Sarah Chebaro
We live in a world where women are looked at strangely for being into weight lifting. I’m here to give you some advice on ways to break that stigma. I’ve been introduced to the gym at the age of 9. My father would do his training and place me on the rowing machine. As time went by, I slowly started to develop a love for the gym. I always wondered why the majority are men training in the free weights zone. What was the reasoning behind it? Society has this idea of women needing to be slender and skinny.
Muscularity is only for men
We have this idea that women should all look like those models on the catwalk. We see all those bodybuilding shows and women are up on that stage, a lot of us tend to think of it as un-natural. It is like their bodies were replaced by a man’s body. How can that be beautiful? Years passed by and more women around the world took on CrossFit and weightlifting. The average gym still has more men than women in the free weights zone. I am here to help all of you women to be proud to be in that part of the gym.
Strong is beautiful
- Don’t compare yourself to a man
We need to understand that woman are biologically built a certain way. We can be as big as men with the help of steroids. This is if we want to participate in those bodybuilding shows. Men have stronger upper bodies. Women have stronger lower bodies. Men have an easier time putting on upper body strength. Women have an easier time putting on lower body strength. We do have to carry that child in the future. Shakira sang it right “Hips don’t lie”
- Ignore some of the grunts and strange noises that some men do
There are always those men who are vocal. I don’t mean vocally forming words or sentences. It is more along the lines of grunts and moans. Sometimes they can be distracting and uncomfortable. You’ll learn how to ignore them. What helps me laugh is remembering the grunts and who did it. I’d go to work or to my friends and say ”grunt man was there today. He learnt a new noise”. Have some fun with it. Everyone at the gym has a personality.
Sweating is the best feeling
- It’s okay to sweat and look like you were in a battle with the weights
Some women have this idea that sweating is just for men. I’ve been brought up with the idea that women don’t sweat, we perspire. It is a less disgusting word. It doesn’t matter what the word is to describe it. Sweating is natural. After a good sweat, you feel accomplished. Remember to shower after you are done!
- Some men will try to talk to you
The best advice I have is to brush them off with short responses and a smile. They are only human, and perhaps some of them are trying to pick you up. It is your choice to let them down nicely. If you are interested and the guy is good looking, go for it. Hey, who knows you might find the love of your life.
Confidence is part of the deal
- Be proud and confident
Girl, remember you are all woman. Be proud that you are doing a workout. Feel good about yourself. It’s good to be active. Go pick up those weights, they can be heavy or light, you do it with confidence.
- Don’t be shy if you need certain equipment
There can be a bunch of men surrounding the squat rack or a bench. Build up the confidence and ask them how long they’ll take. They appreciate it if they see that you want to do your workout and you aren’t only there for the fun of it. Sharing is caring!
- Accept that some days will be good and some days will be bad
Some days your whole body will hurt. What was light, now seems like carrying tons of bricks. Those days are normal. Don’t give up if you have a few days where your body hates you. Take those days off or do something light. Your body is the second most amazing tool you have (your brain being the first).
The sounds and the smells
- What is that smell?!
It’s a room filled with people sweating. It’ll be potent. You’ll get used to it. Sounds terrible I know. When you’re on that mission to lift those weights nothing around you will matter. Even that guy who smells like he hasn’t showered for days (there really is that one person who doesn’t know how to shower).
- Grunting is fine. Men grunt. Women can grunt too!
Don’t be shy to make some noise. I am not saying to scream like you’re giving birth. Grunting is allowed. The grunting always starts with the last few reps.
- Have the courage to crack up a joke. People always appreciate laughter
If you have some humour, these men will love it. Let me give you my experience. I saw one guy looking at himself in the mirror and showing off his biceps. I joined him and started showing off too. He laughed it out. Interacting with all these macho men is fun. You never know you might need them on your side one day outside a club.
Have fun in the free weights room. It is really not as bad as you might think. Keep up that positive, confident attitude and going to the gym will be second nature!