Intimidated in the weights side of the gym

we went to the gym to lift weights today instead of staying at home. I was looking forward to it cause the kids would be in child care and not "underfoot." BUT oh my goodness do you know how intimidating "That side" of the gym is!!?!?!? I didn't till I ventured over there I grabbed some weights and ran (Literally ran!) to another area with matts and pilates balls. I did most of my routine there till I need to use a bench then did those two real quick and I think I skipped a rep trying to get out of there!

I looked around the gym and realized the bodies I liked best were on the weights not the tredmil but I think I'm gonna stay home for a while. Any tips on getting over it and just biting the bullet and butting in?

I mean what are the unspoken rules?
"heavy" for me is 10lbs. Is there a certain weight you have to be able to lift to not be sneered at?

On another note my husband was impressed I could do a chest press. ( I used an empty bar! hahahahaaaa!)

Thanks!
Emily
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Replies

  • ironanimal
    ironanimal Posts: 5,922 Member
    No unspoken rules. Just work hard.
  • That side intimidates me, too. Gotta cross over, though...I know EXACTLY what you mean.
  • hesn92
    hesn92 Posts: 5,949 Member
    what is so intimidating about it? I'm a scrawny girl and I go over there and lift weights. The muscular good looking men don't own that side of the gym. You can go over there too.
  • Graceious1
    Graceious1 Posts: 716 Member
    You could always get some weights for home. I work out at home most days and mix it up with Tae Kwon Do or running. I stopped with the gym a year ago and have been more successful with being in the best shape of my life.

    Having said that if you really want to work out in the gym do it. Put on sme pumping music and just go for it.

    All the best.
  • VelociMama
    VelociMama Posts: 3,119 Member
    It is intimidating at first, but remember, you paid for your membership just the same as all the other people in there did. You have just as much right to be there as you.

    As for "heavy" it depends on the lift you're doing and where you're starting. Doing your bench presses and squats with just the bar to begin with is good. Try to work on getting your form down as much as possible. Heavy lifting is typically defied as lifting a weight 5-8 times before you can't possibly do another, whatever weight that may be for you. It varies per person.

    Are you following a program?

    As for the "unspoken" rules. You should always rerack your weights when you're done using them, and wipe off the equipment when you're done. Don't stare at other people lifting, and just be courteous.
  • IronSmasher
    IronSmasher Posts: 3,908 Member
    It's hard to know the rules, because there's a good chance nobody there knows the rules or has a clue what they are doing.

    As a rule of thumb, just be a considerate human.
  • emandlukeplusone
    emandlukeplusone Posts: 38 Member
    It is intimidating at first, but remember, you paid for your membership just the same as all the other people in there did. You have just as much right to be there as you.

    As for "heavy" it depends on the lift you're doing and where you're starting. Doing your bench presses and squats with just the bar to begin with is good. Try to work on getting your form down as much as possible. Heavy lifting is typically defied as lifting a weight 5-8 times before you can't possibly do another, whatever weight that may be for you. It varies per person.

    Are you following a program?

    As for the "unspoken" rules. You should always rerack your weights when you're done using them, and wipe off the equipment when you're done.


    I am using a program that I found on a weight lifting for women website. It has 3 different routines to do 3 times a week so you do routine A one day B the next and C etc. in between you have a day of cardio. I think it sounds like a good plan. The routine says to do 3 reps of 20. There is no way I could do that with heavier than 10 but my husband suggested I do the first rep with a SUPER heavy weight like 20 then the rest with 10. From what you said that might be better for me.

    thanks for helping me with the "unspoken" rules. I figured I must not know something since they guys just kinda stand next to the bench your using and watch like they are waiting for something....its wierd and creepy!
  • VelociMama
    VelociMama Posts: 3,119 Member
    It is intimidating at first, but remember, you paid for your membership just the same as all the other people in there did. You have just as much right to be there as you.

    As for "heavy" it depends on the lift you're doing and where you're starting. Doing your bench presses and squats with just the bar to begin with is good. Try to work on getting your form down as much as possible. Heavy lifting is typically defied as lifting a weight 5-8 times before you can't possibly do another, whatever weight that may be for you. It varies per person.

    Are you following a program?

    As for the "unspoken" rules. You should always rerack your weights when you're done using them, and wipe off the equipment when you're done.


    I am using a program that I found on a weight lifting for women website. It has 3 different routines to do 3 times a week so you do routine A one day B the next and C etc. in between you have a day of cardio. I think it sounds like a good plan. The routine says to do 3 reps of 20. There is no way I could do that with heavier than 10 but my husband suggested I do the first rep with a SUPER heavy weight like 20 then the rest with 10. From what you said that might be better for me.

    thanks for helping me with the "unspoken" rules. I figured I must not know something since they guys just kinda stand next to the bench your using and watch like they are waiting for something....its wierd and creepy!

    Stick with the program as written. They are usually written that way for a reason, and there's no reason to push too hard to soon.

    I remember the first time I went to the "man" side of the gym too. I was still very overweight, and it was pretty intimidating, but just try to be confident and focus on you. Ignore everyone else unless you need to interact with them.
  • meshashesha2012
    meshashesha2012 Posts: 8,344 Member
    dont be intimidated.

    80% of the weight room strut is just people catching their breath and letting their muscles get ready for the next set. the other 20% comes from you actually felling like a bada$$ :laugh:
  • dinosnopro
    dinosnopro Posts: 2,179 Member
    No unspoken rules. Just work hard.



    this x 10, and if you haven't? research beginner lifting programs. Other than that just go lift and become a bad *kitten*.
  • gmallan
    gmallan Posts: 2,099 Member
    It IS intimidating to begin with. I found that at first it helped me to have someone to go with who could show me the ropes. Once I was fairly confident that I knew where everything was I started to go on my own. Some tips:

    - You have as much right to be there as anyone else
    - Have a routine so you know what you want to do before you get there
    - It can be easier and less intimidating to lift with a friend, then you can alternate sets and reps
    - Pop in some head phones and ignore everyone else
    - Heavy is a relative term, lift what you can manage and never compromise on form
    - You need to challange yourself with the weight you are lifting
    - Anyone who make you feel bad for the amount you are lifting is a douche :), everyone has to start somewhere. The majority of people will be supportive and encouraging
    - Put things back where you found them
    - Wipe off things after using them
    - Ask someone if it looks like they are using a piece of equiptment, just be generally polite but no need to engage in conversations unless you want to
    - Give it a few weeks you'll be surprised how comfortable you start to feel once you get into a routine

    Feel free to add me as a friend as a fellow female who lifts weights (fairly new to it though)
  • blsdhands
    blsdhands Posts: 12 Member
    I approached the Personal Training Manager at my gym and he told me they would be happy to show me how to use the weights. This is a free service because the last thing they want is for someone to get hurt in the gym. The trainer walked me through basic rules and form for exercises and when we finished I knew how to use the weights just like everyone else. Now I use the WHOLE gym that I pay monthly to use!
  • Contrarian
    Contrarian Posts: 8,147 Member
    You belong there as much as anyone else. Besides, most people are focussing on their own workout, and not looking at you, even though it doesn't feel that way.

    Take a deep breath, and act like you own it. Then actually own it. You can do it! Lifting is fun!
  • BuckeyeBoi
    BuckeyeBoi Posts: 233 Member
    Dont worry about the MeatHeads! If I notice someone new and there struggling or they seem to be out of sorts I offer my time. The victory is showing up first and you are there to be a better you! Keep it going!!!
  • gmallan
    gmallan Posts: 2,099 Member
    thanks for helping me with the "unspoken" rules. I figured I must not know something since they guys just kinda stand next to the bench your using and watch like they are waiting for something....its wierd and creepy!

    This is probably either of two things

    Resting between sets of the weights they are doing. Neccessary for recovery

    Or waiting for the equiptment you are using, probably trying to make it obvious to others that they are waiting so someone else doesn't jump in front of them

    If they are being genuinely creepy or getting in your way, say something and/or inform management

    Starting out I would say maybe try doing 3 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise. This is somewhere in the middle in terms of rep number (not super high ot low). This means you'll be able to focus on form while still lifting reasonably heavy.

    Compound lifts (using more than one muscle group) are best and should be done at the start of your workout. For example dead lifts, sqats, bench press, pull ups, dips, overhead press.
  • MizKittyB
    MizKittyB Posts: 47 Member
    Seconded! I always find it intimidating, but I just put in my headphones, put on my best 'bugger off' face, and get to work. I went with a friend to a different gym after work so he could spot me and did the barbell (even empty, it's 45 pounds!) for chest presses. It's less scary with a workout buddy, if it's crowded.

    If you can, I've found that the best time (at least at my local gym) is the pre-work hours of the weekday -- everyone in the building at that point is focused on getting in, getting their workout done, and getting out the door before 8. No one even makes eye contact with me at that time of morning, and by and large, the free weight area is almost empty (and the cardio area is packed).
  • CottonCandyKisses
    CottonCandyKisses Posts: 246 Member
    It can be! But usually nobody is going to bother you, you have a right to be there too! I've had to elbow my way in a few times and make a space. It will get easier the more you do it/the more you go--You can do it!
  • RedHeadDevotchka
    RedHeadDevotchka Posts: 1,403 Member
    I remember being intimidated by that side of the gym. This is what I have learned.
    You will feel weird for a while, bc it's a new experience, it's gonna be like that.
    It's WAY easier to go there and not be scared if you have a partner that knows what they are doing.
    The people who you are afraid are judging you are not ones you should worry about. The people who are actually serious and care about being there for the right reason probably don't even notice you.
    Once you are there a while you will get stronger and it will get better!
  • dont be intimidated.

    80% of the weight room strut is just people catching their breath and letting their muscles get ready for the next set. the other 20% comes from you actually felling like a bada$$ :laugh:

    Haha! So much truth here! Honestly, people are really more focused on themselves than you (just like outside the weight room too). It may seem like they're staring at you but most of the time they're just zoning out/waiting for their next set.
  • IronSmasher
    IronSmasher Posts: 3,908 Member
    As a general rule, I'd avoid any fitness advice or routine that is sex specific.

    Heavy for you can't be 10lbs (e.g. for squat or deadllift). One of the main mistakes I see people make is that they decide to use one weight for all exercises. There's no way your tiny tricep muscle is as strong as both of your legs for example.

    Why don't you and your husband work out a routine you both like, and do it together. One rests while the other one lifts, then you swap the weights and person each time?

    Luckily, in the sexist world we live in, if a woman is in a weights area of the gym with a man, anyone shallow/stupid enough to be judgemental, will assume you're being taught, and there is absolutely no pressure on you.