How to Man Up At the Gym

Gym with no people interior

In my history of working out, I’ve done a little of everything. I’ve taken yoga classes and Pilates. I’ve done Zumba and finished a Tough Mudder. I’ve run a half marathon and put myself through plenty of hard gym workouts. But the one area that’s always intimidated me has been the heavy weights.

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Having belonged to a gym for years now — and doing what we do around here, which is to not be afraid to look a fool in the name of research — you’d think I wouldn’t be intimidated by the weight room, but I totally am. Or at least, I totally was. Until just a couple of weeks ago when I decided enough was enough. I was not going to be scared of the squat rack. I wasn’t going to let men with arms the size of my thighs keep me out of the weights. Girl power, I am woman, hear me roar, etc.

So what did I do? I marched right over to the squat rack and squatted the 45-pound Olympic barbell for a couple of sets. And that did enough for my confidence to channel my inner Arnold and announce to the dudes: I’ll be back.

Okay, the Arnold announcement is not totally true, but the squat part is, and it did get me over my initial intimidation.

The next time I went to the gym, I decided I needed more of a plan. I’m the type of person that even though I’ve worked out for YEARS and am a certified personal trainer, if I don’t have a plan, any past knowledge just disappears from my brain when I’m at the gym. I swear the only exercises that come to mind are crunches, planks and push-ups. Just like I do better with endurance training with a specific plan, I do better in my strength training when I’m following a specific routine. So I went into my FBG mental vault and pulled out The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. This time I wasn’t going to read it to recommend to others, I was going to put the plan into action.

The thing I love about the book is that it gives you specific workouts to do, and tells you how to progress them. The program in all is going to take care of half a year of strength workouts for me. Plus, there are pictures and detailed descriptions of what to do for each move of each workout, so if you’re like me and afraid of doing this …

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… you’ll be covered.

There is no wandering around wondering what to do that day. You’ve got your workout, the sets, reps and rest time all decided for you. It’s just up to you to do the work. Boom!

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I have a feeling that with just a few more workouts under my belt, I’ll feel as comfortable over there as I do on the treadmill. And the treadmill and I are very friendly. Stay tuned next week for some tips on how you can start lifting heavy.

Do you hit the weight room at the gym? Did you find it intimidating at first?Erin

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