Day 1 with weights and scared of all the men in the weight area!!

  • Sheesh guys.  I'm a nice 29 year old female and not even that out of shape but shiiiit, I'm scared to hit the weight area with all the men.  For starters, I gotta carry my book around (I think I'll go make copies at kinko's) to figure out the exercises cause I'll be like triceps what??!?  So I'm already gonna be a bit worked out with my book.  I'll probably even go all out and bring a clipboard  :)

    And I REALLLLLLY want to get in there and hammer it out...figure out this barbell stuff and just ATTACK it...and I'm totally scared I'll look like a nerdy female who's walking around clueless.  I'm a grown woman and I'm scared like a pubescent high school kid.

    What do you got for me guys?  I need some encouragement of how you got over the "woman in the weight area" stigma.

    Thanks!!!  -Sarah Joy, Santa Rosa, CA

  • SK, hahaha. I really had to laugh. You are so funny and cute! You will get there. I have used clipboard from day ONE! Who cares?? And besides, I am sure they love your presence there anyway just because you are female. But just a question, does your gym have machines where you adjust the weights too instead of all freeweights? Those are not scary at all. You just sit and workout and no one knows you were lifting 10lbs instead of 110lbs. (unless they come kissing distance to check it out, and no stranger does that). And your form will be good too for a beginner because the machine is set to work out with good form. Free weights you have to know what you are doing otherwise you can hurt yourself with the wrong move. But even so, you will get there. I started going to the gym when I was 16 and I can relate, but the men loved it. They all helped me and I became confident. Now I am 40 and I still use a clip board!! haha. I love being organized.


  • Hi Sarah.  A tool I discovered which was really useful in the beginning is called JEFIT.  It's an application you can put on your android phone, IPhone or IPOD and it's free.  It has a great list of exercises broken down by muscle group and each one has a brief description of the exercise as well as a small animation.  You can plan your workout ahead of time, and then you can turn to your device if you need help.  It also has a timer and you can use it to plan your routine.  I wish BFL would make a similar Application which would eliminate the need to bring a clip board.  Sounds like a great business idea eh?  

    Good luck,

    Mark, Ogden UT

  • I'm on week4 of my first challenge, and when I plan my exercises on the workout forms, I always note the page the exercise is shown on in the book noted in case I need to refresh my memory.  It's been 20 years since I did any kind of weight training, so it took a while for the exercises to come back, but I'm getting them down :)

    Mark I will check out that JEFIT program, that sounds like a good idea.  Would be nice if you could do the whole BFL planning/tracking and exercise techniques on an ipad ....hmm.

  • I plan ahead what exercises I am doing before I get there.  That way if I question what it is I can look it up before I leave the house.  As far as the men in the weight room - I am 48 and I just go in and grab my weights and work at it.  After 12 weeks, now those young studs say hey and offer advice to me.  If you go to the weight room, you will notice them all offering advice and spotting each other, many of them met at the gym, you are one of them now - you just happen to be female.  If you are motivated and push yourself until you are grunting, red faced, and sweaty - they will respect you as another weight lifter. To quote Nike, Just Do It! lol

  • Agree with above!

    The most important thing to those gym regulars is how hard you workout.  It doesn't matter about the weights, or if it takes you longer than everyone else, or that you take notes inbetween sets, it is the fact that you are there and doing your best means you will fit in.

    The guys who are ripped love to talk about how they got there and they love to see other people get there as well.  The looks of scorn seem to be saved for the people who read a magazine on the treadmill for 30 minutes and never break a sweat

  • My husband is a Marine, so when I go on base to work out in the gym, it's not only 99% men, but the 1% of females in there are ripped too!!! I FEEL YOUR PAIN! I too am not that out of shape, but it is seriously intimidating. My husband wants to be a personal trainer, so he knows his stuff, but it took me a while to let my him train me because of my intimidation.

    But, I guarantee those guys are more concerned with how they look than what you're doing. You seem to be a really fun girl, so maybe spot a guy in the gym and ask him for help with something. Maybe even make a joke about being a "weakling" and just watch how encouraging he will probably be! You'll stroke his ego, break your intimidation, and get cool points at the same time --everybody wins.

  • Buy a little spiral notebook and plan your workouts ahead of time at home.  Draw, write note what ever you do so that when you're at the gym you have a plan.  Each trip to the gym incorporate something new.  Also the BFL book has great color pictures you can copy and incorporate in your routine.  EVERYONE in that gym had to learn how to use that stuff too at somepoint so don't beat yourself up ;)  Download a great playlist on your headphones and tune out the world, you go this girl !!

  • I workout at a gym where many fitness competitors and bodybuilders workout, and 75% of them carry their workout sheets with them. It is important to take notes when you are lifting, so you know if you are making progress.  I bring my pen and paper with me to every workout, and have often been asked to share my workout with others.  The most important thing to bring with you to the gym is confidence!!!  You'll do fine!

    "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"

  • I never have looked at anybody funny with books or clip boards... if anything kudos to them for being dedicated.  I also have used jefit, can't live without it now.  Being able to plan your workout, record your sets and set up rest intervals is great!  I paid for full version and love that I can also sync online so I'd not lose anything

  • Hey Sarah Joy

    I too felt the exact same way you did and I finally just walked right over and started getting into things even though I was so nervous.  

    After a few of the exercises I felt a little more relaxed and was able to actually look around at everyone and I noticed that no one there really had a plan like I did.  Majority of the guys just wandered around and did a lift here, a squat there and some seemed as unsure as I felt and just talked with their buddy while holding onto a free weight!   Once I noticed that I had a good chuckle and felt at ease.  After that first day I felt a lot better and more confident.  I may be a girl lifting light little weights but I am working on it.  I am dedicated and I am serious, as anyone can see from my book I write in the entire time.  For that reason, the weight area is my area too.  

    Cheers and happy weight training!!

  • I would suggest you follow BDMom's advice, she is nonpareil on this subject and program.  

    I forego the high-tech phone app approach and follow my two trainers - Bill Phillips and Arnold Schwarzenegger (through their books).   Use dumbbells.   The women I see in the fitness center who get the best results have no qualms about finding a spot at the weight rack, and every male in there admires their efforts and strength.  I too had to carry my textbooks for the first few weeks to learn the proper lifting techniques.  The alternative would have been to lift improperly and risk injury. The best source on dumbbell training I have found is the book "Dumbbell training for Strength and Fitness" by Fred Fornicola and Matt Bryzcki.

    It will be nearly impossilbe to re-shape your body without doing resistance training, so ignore any advice to skip the weights.

    Good Luck!


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • I'm sure by now you've conquered your trepidation, but I'll throw this out anyway...

    Old gym proverb: "He who watch and worry about other person working out not working out himself".  ; )

  • The Heavy,

    Thanks for your advice about JEFIT. I just downloaded the app and I plan to use it a lot.

    Come visit my blog!

    Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you'll be right!