The Guys side of the Gym


The 'Guys side of the Gym'

The Manly Side

I took a friend into the gym today who was interested in toning legs, bum, abs etc. We got talking before starting and she explained how she's wanted to strength train in the gym for a while, but hasn't had the confidence to go over into the weights section alone and so usually stays on the other side doing cardio. It brought me back to before last summer where I too shared similar opinions. The weights section of a gym does appear extremely intimidating, with large, muscular men lifting heavy weights and using strange looking gym contraptions. This is not only a problem for women, also one for men who have never really trained before. Sitting next to someone benching some huge, heavy weight and only being able to lift a few kgs is not really a confidence building experience.

First entry

This got me wondering how and when I first felt comfortable enough to enter the weights section of a gym. The answer is; when I started training with Jamie, my first PT. He would take me over there, show me some exercises and no one would bat an eye lid that 'a little girl' was in the manly section of the gym. After a while, I started to get to know the regulars who trained at similar times to me. We would chat during rest periods and comment on the intensity of exercises I was being given. I learned more and more about how to use the equipment in different ways and the best exercises to combine. I started to grow in confidence, as well as strength, in my ability to put together and complete a weight based training session.

Confidence and Knowledge

The biggest issue when it comes to doing weights is knowledge. Everyone knows how to get on a bike and cycle or run on a tredmil, but most people would have no idea what to do with a rack of dumbells or a leg press. The only way you can possibly have a clue is by being shown the ropes and being taught. Obviously not everyone can afford a personal trainer, but there must be someone who is willing to give you some ideas and show you some exercises. Girls, ask a male friend if you can join them for a session or find a training partner who has some knowledge and can help you out. Going with someone else can help you to feel more comfortable and allow you to get the most out of a session, rather than just doing boring cardio for an hour. 

Still need a little push?

For those who haven't quite yet built up the courage to go into the weight section alone or are still feeling a little intimidated, here is a short session I did with my friend today. We didn't once enter the weights area, simply staying in the floor work section. We still worked hard, using free weights and doing strength endurance exercises. I have to say it was much more fun than running on the tredmil for 30 minutes.

Legs:

2 sets of:
Squats (holding a ViPR horizontally in arms)
 - 15 reps
 - lower for 4 seconds, power up for 1 second

3 rounds of the superset:
Thread the Needle with the ViPR
  - 15 reps
Jumping squats
 - 10 reps

3 rounds of the superset: 
Kettle bell swings
 - 30 seconds
Step ups onto box holding dumbells
 - 12 step ups

Abs Circuit:

Leg throw downs
 - 5 centre, 5 left side, 5 right side, 5 centre

Leg throw downs
 - 5 centre, 5 left side, 5 right side, 5 centre
Crunches, passing medicine ball to and from partner
 - 12 reps

Leg throw downs
 - 5 centre, 5 left side, 5 right side, 5 centre
Crunches, passing medicine ball to and from partner
 - 12 reps
Russian twists with medicine ball
 -20 reps

Just do it

Despite the stereotype that a weights section of a gym is for big strong men, this really isn't the case. The truth is, when in the gym, everyone is so focussed on their own session they barely even notice you or what weight you are lifting. Everyone has to start from somewhere and you don't get big without first being small and working hard. Also, a girl who lifts will always have a much sexier figure than a girl who just constantly runs and guys will love that. My advice is bite the bullet! Get in the weights section of a gym and start really training. Go with a friend, ask for a gym trainer's help or get in touch. I will be more than happy to explain how to use some of the odd looking machinary and/or help put together a programme. If you would still feel more comfortable staying in the floor area, then again I can help with ideas of exercises. You can work just as hard and tone up just as easily using ViPRs, the TRX, kettle bells etc as you can from using the machines in the weights area. So go on, get started!!!