I can’t go to the weights area...it’s scary!
Do you find yourself doing endless hours of cardio every week yet you see little to no change to your body shape?
Every day your social media feed is probably filled with fantastic looking fitspo models or fitness influencers who have incredible bodies and you're thinking to yourself "I want to look like that".
You know weight training is one of the best ways to get yourself toned and also burn calories, but the only thing holding you back is…you. Your lack of confidence.
A number of women often find weight training an area that they’re not particularly comfortable with. (That’s not to say all men are comfortable with weight training either!) So here's a few reasons why you might feel this way:
- Not really knowing how to use the machines or free weights. With so many different types of machines and free weights, how do you use them? What exactly do you do with them?
- Gym stigma. It can be totally intimidating to be entering a room full of people (mostly, those big muscly guys you see there) that look like they know what they're doing and may possibly have been doing it for years.
- Lack of confidence. Speaking of self-confidence, you may not feel comfortable at all so you completely avoid this area altogether. Instead, you retreat to group classes or independent cardio as the "safe option".
To help you take the first step towards a more toned and shapely physique, we asked 7 accredited personal trainers how they would help women like you, build the self confidence you need to start weight training.
We asked them:
“What would you say to a woman in her 20s who wants to start weight training but lacks the confidence to come to the weights area of the gym and isn’t sure what she’s doing? (Other than book an appointment with you!)”
Responses from our highly acclaimed Crunch Fitness Personal Trainers
“A good way I boosted my self-esteem in the weights sections was to just do my thing.”
1 ) Watch YouTube videos/online forums
Before I had started to be confident in the gym I had used tools such as YouTube and online bodybuilding forums to give me an understanding of the basics I needed to be getting it right. Understanding the core compound lifts paved the way for creativity in the gym.
Observing what others are doing and applying the new techniques to your workout helps with your own self-learning. Comparing what I was doing to what others were doing in the weights section really boosted my progress.
3) Find a quiet spot in the gym
Finding your own area or your own corner in the gym can act as a sanctuary for self-growth. Not being in the middle of the section and out of the way of the advanced members allowed me to focus more on myself.
4) Don’t care about what others are thinking
Easily one of the main reasons for a lack of confidence would be the fact that other people are watching and judging. A good way I boosted my self-esteem in the weights sections was by just doing my thing. Whether it was good or bad, I didn’t care as to what anyone thought. Everyone started somewhere and nobody has any reason to judge.
“Tune into yourself”
I have encountered many women and men alike that are new to weight training and don’t know where to start. I’m an advocate for building strength and although you may not want to look like Arnold, the benefits of strength training are numerous.
Just jumping on weight training will allow you to burn fat more efficiently whilst providing you with feeling fit, improving stability and balance. Some of the assisted machines are simple to use and can improve stability, strength and balance.
The progression to free weights and cables will add variety to your workouts. Ask a trainer at the gym and find out how to use a machine, and then you will never look back.
Once you start, you will have the confidence and would have gained inspiration to slowly progress through your weight training journey.
We have all been there, so forget about the others around you, tune into yourself and achieve what you may now find a daunting experience. We have all been through this journey.
“It’s like getting ready for a date!”
The old scary weights area. Such a daunting area to enter. Truth be told if you can look at the weights area the same as getting ready for a date, you will be in there ready to go and truly work to a level you never thought possible.
Why a date you ask? It is very simple, a couple of basic human emotions happen when getting ready for a date, your stomach is turning full of anticipation and full of butterflies. The same feeling you get when you are entering the weights area.
Next step and the key to a good work out and a date is preparation. Picking your dress maybe red or blue. With the weights, you will decide if you are doing upper body or lower body. The movements at times will be hard but when mastered, it would be so worth it.
At this stage, you are putting on makeup and trying to get that perfect cat eyeliner (I think that is what its called!). You would have mastered that with some help from friends or Youtube of course.
Weight training is the exact same, just ask the friendly staff at your local gym and do some research on Youtube.
The time has arrived, you look amazing ready to go on your date butterflies are going crazy as you are ready to meet up with that special man in your life.
On your way there, you realise that you look so amazing and so excited that your mind goes to the one place it feels calm, there is no stress, it doesn’t matter what is going on around you.
You realise that the scary weights area has taught you to be strong and the sweat represents hard work paying off. The sounds of weights dropping which once was scary is now the sound that gets you excited.
The journey is what you should be valuing the most. Start small and work your way up. Just like a date, get excited, prepare beforehand, work on your craft and the most important part - go and have fun.
Responses from notable influential Australian fitness trainers
Libby Babet - Biggest Loser Trainer
“Group classes are key to helping with your confidence”
I'm a BIG advocate of group classes as an excellent place to start your weight training journey because it's a cheap way to gain some instruction and become familiar with using weights.
Once you've done a few classes and have a handle on technique, jump online and Google how to do some of the exercises you've learned with different equipment. For example, you might type in, "Beginner kettlebell exercises", or "Medicine ball circuit", or "Simple dumbbell workout", or "How to use a barbell", or even just, "How to squat (or pushup, etc)"
. Once you understand how to do a few moves, put them together in a circuit and go for it!
Of course, if you can afford it, it's always great to book a one-off session with a personal trainer to nail your technique.
“Lack of confidence around resistance training is perfectly normal. Your 20s is the perfect time to start.”
I think a lack of confidence around resistance training is perfectly normal, as none of us are taught to lift weights at school like traditional sports. But age 20 is perfect to start learning some basic exercises and enjoy health benefits like increased muscle tone and bone density. With an increase in our resting metabolic rate, we can eat more of the foods we enjoy.
I would encourage any beginner to meet with an experienced fitness professional at least once to get a tour of the gym, an exercise demonstration and some direction on what type of exercises are best suited to their goal.
“Start light and easy. Don’t overdo it.”
From my experience, the majority of males focus on strength and weight training and us girls focus more on cardio-based activities.
But I can tell you that you need a combination of the two - cardio is important for your heart and lungs (your engine room) and for weight control and improving your fitness.
However, weight training is for building strength, developing lean muscles and changing your shape. The simplest way I can summarise is that cardio training is for feeling good and strength is for looking good.
So if you want to start weight training but don't know where to start, here are my top 4 tips:
1) See a personal trainer
Yes, I am being a bit biased here but this may be the best place to start.
A good personal trainer should always make good technique a priority to ensure you do the moves correctly so you are training safe and you get the results you want.
Whether you lift weights at the gym or on your own, you must have picture perfect technique, have the right range, move smoothly and with control with every rep.
2) Start with body weights first
Before you start to use weights, dumbbells, barbells or other equipment, why not first focus on body weight moves only? Squats, lunges, dips, planks and pushups don't require anything except you. Also just using body weight means you can focus on great posture and perfect technique.
Once you progress and start to build your confidence, you can start to introduce weights but master the basics first.
3) Try a strength training class
Whenever I walk into a gym, I usually go past the weights room and no matter what the gym, it is always dominated by the boys. And I can understand why it can be intimidating to go to the weights area with all the boofy blokes, especially if you are fairly new.
Training in a team can be less scary, you work every muscle in your body (some you may not even know existed) and you have an instructor to guide and motivate you.
4) Start light and easy
Anytime I teach someone weights for the first time, I insist they go light. This is to ensure correct technique but also if the moves are not done quite right, there is a chance of injury.
The last thing you want to do is lift too heavy or push too hard and hurt yourself in some way and stop your weight program before you barely start.
So be sensible, lift within your means, never substitute form for heavier weights and you will soon see a difference in your body and confidence in no time at all.
“You have the opportunity and tools (or ingredients) to create the body and life you want.”
Entering the weights room will become like entering a playground, a kitchen or even a science lab. You have the opportunity and tools (or ingredients) to create the body and life you want.
Weight training will change your mindset. It will not only boost your physical health and mental health but also improve your relationship with exercise and your body. Weight training provides long lasting results and will become a part of life rather than a chore. There is so much opportunity to progress in so many directions that your training sessions will have more variety and the results with consistency, will become very pleasing.
Instead of how many calories you burned or how many minutes you have completed in the cardio section before you feel you’re allowed to go home, you can switch to self-care and self-creation mode and ask yourself, “How do I want to feel?” or “What do I want to design MY body to do today?”.
Your goals may be to keep up with your kids, reduce chronic back pain from a weak core or maybe tight muscles, or you may have a goal to complete your first triathlon or half marathon. All the tools to support a strong, mobile body are in the gym.
How do you get started? Ask at the front desk of your gym if there are any PT intro packages or a qualified trainer able to show you around the gym, discuss your goals and get them to put a program together for you. Remember everyone starts somewhere!
How you can conquer the weights room!
Wow! What an amazing set of responses from our favourite Crunch personal trainers and fitness professionals!
So what’s next?
You’ve now read all the fantastic, motivational tips and useful advice. The next step starts with you!You have the confidence within yourself to get the results you’ve always wanted.
We know the first step of getting yourself to the weights area is the hardest! We have an excellent team of personal trainers at each of our Crunch locations who are completely understanding of the difficulty of starting and have been in the position where you are now, believe or not!
Still not convinced?
Start with doing some of your own research as suggested by our personal trainer, Troy and then start progressing to free weights to add variety to your daily workouts as Nicky from Crunch Fitness Bankstown says.
Once you learn how to do the right form and the right techniques which is critical in getting the results you want, the confidence will come naturally through. Practice makes perfect, and learning is all just a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Our personal trainers are a team of supportive coaches, that you are sure to have the confidence to fall back on if you require any assistance. After all, we’re all in this together, so why not advocate our “No Judgements” mantra, and cut that pressure off yourself and come as you are.
You’re a strong, confident woman, you’re ready to conquer the weights room.