Every girl who is into fitness has probably heard that lifting heavy weights will “make you bulky." Especially during this past year in quarantine, trends like the Chloe Ting ab workouts and Tik Tok fitness influencers have added to the narrative that women workout to be skinny, not to be strong. I spent the first few years of my fitness journey binging YouTube channels like Blogilates and Chloe Ting, scared of other people judging me in the gym and turned off by the idea that any other kind of exercise would make my body big and “manly." Of course, there is nothing wrong with those workouts at all! But I have learned that for me, I burn more calories, feel more powerful, and have more energy since I have overcome my fear & started weight lifting
Since I started a few years ago, I feel a sense of power that I have never felt before. I am confident in what my body can do for me. I love knowing that I am in control of my muscles, that they are getting stronger and that I can work hard to shape my body the way that I want to. As a person who never played team sports or had any kind of physical training, it is such a powerful feeling to have confidence in the way I can control my muscles. In fact, the more I lift, the less I care about how I look and the more I care about what my body is capable of.
I wish that I could go back five years and encourage myself to forget my fears, stop doing sit-ups, and start lifting weights. Here are the tips I have for every girl who wants to branch out and try new things in the gym!
1. Plan ahead
I highly recommend planning out your week by which part of your body you will train on which day (aka a workout split)! Watch videos on how to use equipment if you’ve never used it! Knowing what you are going to do ahead of time takes away the panic of walking into the weight room blindly. It can be intimidating when it seems like everyone else knows what they're doing, but remember that everyone started from the beginning at one point too!
2. Bring a Workout Buddy
It is far less intimidating to walk into the gym when you have someone by your side—especially if you have a friend who can show you how to use the equipment and check your form. Working out can be so fun! Play some music, bring someone along, and even find partner workouts you can do together!
3. Step off the Scale
It can be so discouraging to work your butt off and then step on the scale and not see the changes you were expecting. When it comes to lifting, you are developing and growing muscles all over your body, and muscle weighs more on the scale than fat! Your body composition could be changing drastically, and you could lose pounds of fat yet the numbers on the scale might stay similar because you are also growing muscle. Do not let this discourage you! I use before and after pictures to track my progress, rather than the scale. Or just enjoy how working out makes you feel rather than how you look!
I promise that weightlifting is NOT a man’s sport, and I have the gym to thank for major changes in my confidence, appearance, attitude, and overall lifestyle. Don’t let the stereotypes steer you away from the weight room! Lifting just might be your new favorite way to workout!