So, I’m going to tell you a story….
I’ve worked out for years, but I was primarily a “group ex” girl. I even worked in management at a gym for a year- but I was the group exercise coordinator. I was very rarely in the weight room.
I did my Body Pump style total body workouts in group ex 2-3 times a week.
And then I started lifting heavy.
First I started at home. Then I realized I needed heavier weight than I could handle at home, and certain machines just couldn’t be replicated.
So about 2 and a half years ago, I started seriously weight training.
I even lifted the through my third pregnancy
Now, walking into the weight room can be intimidating- especially for a female. Most of the time I work out in University rec centers, though, so I just tell myself the boys in there are young enough to be my kids and know nothing 🙂
Most of the time, I just put my head down and just go. I don’t think about what other people are doing, or what they think of me. I know I’m not visibly in shape right now, but I am capable and know what I’m doing.
I still, however, find myself getting ready nervous when the weight room is crowded.
Today I went to the local gym that has childcare. It has a different clientele. I usually workout in the weight room at 5 am on Weekdays, but I realized after I made the appointment for childcare that I had scheduled my workout for 10 am on a Saturday, which was bound to be a busy time.
I psyched myself up and told myself I had every right to be there.
The weight room was crowded, and full of guys. Guys who seemed to be trying to look as cool as possible. My first exercise was Romanian Deadlifts, followed by Squats. I would have liked to use a squat rack for both, but I can make due with just a bar for RDLs. Both squat racks seemed to be taken. One with 2 guys spotting each other and squatting ridiculously heavy amounts of weight. The other looked like this:
So, this is universal gym speak for “This rack is being used”. Notice the towel, and the bag, and the water…. I watched while I went to a bench and used the bar for my RDLs, and he did not do a single squat. (I might add that he was wearing a shirt with HUGE letters saying, “I’m not here to talk”, yet that seemed to be all he was doing…)
Apparently he wanted the OTHER squat rack, but was reserving that one just in case. When the other two guys started to walk away he moved his stuff. I racked my weights (another rarity apparently) and asked him if he was done with the squat rack (that he never actually used). He laughed and said, “Oh, I never started!”. (cough*asshole*cough)
I started my set. I realize my weights are small, but I am focused on form, and I don’t feel the need to let my ego get in the way. So, I guess that makes me look like a “weak little woman” to some people. I did my first set, and then tried to rerack the bar, but he was in the way. Like, if I put the bar on the rack, it would have poked him.
I guess he saw my hesitation and thought, “This dumb girl doesn’t know what she’s doing.” Because he sighed loudly and started to adjust the rack so that the place to put my bar was much lower. It ended up way too low. But obviously I didn’t know what I was doing, right? Because I’m a girl in the weight room.
I was angry. I wanted to tell him, “Look, I may not look like I lift, but I lift. I am a certified personal trainer, and I work with a coach who is an IFBB pro. I know what I’m doing.” Of course, I didn’t. I put the anger into my squats and kicked some ass. But dammit….
For the first time in a long time, I couldn’t wait to get out of the weight room. I felt like the minority and I felt disrespected. I’m sure it may sound like I was overreacting- maybe I was- but I didn’t like the feeling.
It’s not going to keep me out of the weight room though. It’s just going to make me stronger.