Three years ago something remarkable happened to me; I discovered weight-lifting. At my gym, I, much like a stray cat, was adopted into a group of balloon-animal looking men known as bodybuilders. However, before I was picked up off of the treadmill and stairmaster, I had never stepped foot into the free weight area. I was terrified I would make a fool out of myself not knowing how cable machines worked or how to properly lift a dumbbell. So, rather than trying to something new, I stuck to what I knew and that is why my body never looked the way I wanted.
Growing up overweight, I learned early on the only way I would stay lean and healthy was to workout at least three times a week and keep a healthy diet. It took me two years to lose my first twenty pounds and from there, I plateaued. And let me tell you, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong was frustrating as hell. (Sure, I was smaller, but my body still retained the shape of a mushy pear).
All I wanted was shredded abs, a gorgeous tan, and a booty so big you could have a mug of coffee on it. I wanted to look like one of those “Instagram-fitness-models,” but I wasn’t training like one. It wasn’t until I started working out with the boys I realised the errors of my ways and it wasn’t only with how I approached the gym. They taught me more about how to carry myself as a woman than anyone else before. Here are the top five lessons the bodybuilders at my gym taught me:
DON’T FEAR THE FREE WEIGHT SECTION
Women are terrified of becoming a female bodybuilder after a single set. Well, let me promise you this: you will not wake up in the morning with vascular muscles and thighs that could crack a man’s neck – only steroids will take you to that level. In fact, the total opposite will happen when you start weight-lifting; you will become more compact and lean; your metabolism will rev up and burn more fat; you will feel better and sexier! If you are afraid of making a fool of yourself (like me) feel free to hire a personal trainer or ask a friend to show you the ropes at the gym. It takes time, but it is so worth it.
DO IT TO BE STRONG
The majority of the girls I have spoken to about fitness had goals a lot like my own: they wanted to workout for the sole purpose of looking hotter. It’s true, most people’s journey begins with frivolous pursuits, but a wonderful side-effect of weight training is strength. That’s right ladies, you can be strong. The greatest lie ever told is women are the weaker gender; you are only as weak as you allow yourself to be. Now, I go to the gym because I want to be strong and kickass. The same applies for my tribe of bodybuilders. Sure, they still go to look good, but in the end, they like being able to do more than the average person and defend themselves if a situation arises.
PUSH EACH OTHER
Boys in the gym forever call out one another out to finish their set or to do heavier weight – do the same for your girls! Push each other! Inspire each other! Be healthy, fit, and capable. You can do it together with the right mentality. If you see your friend lounging around on the elliptical, grab her and bring her to a bench. Help her press the bar. Show her the squat rack. Deadlifts can be your best friend if you let them be!
There is nothing sexier than seeing a group of active women supporting and uplifting one another in the gym. There is a saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Keep each other going through every set until your workout is done and you will be amazed how quick and fun your gym sessions will be. Some of the boys would use ostarine to help push them to their next level in their fitness journey (and to lift the most out of everyone), this is a good write up to find out more about ostarine.
One difference I have seen between working out with boys and (most, not all) girls is men hold each other accountable for their gym session whereas women comfort one another. “Oh, you’re sore? Okay, we won’t go today,” said no man ever. Girls, don’t coddle each other at the gym or in life. It is fine to comfort your friends and let them cry when the time comes but don’t allow them to be complacent or satisfied when they can be so much more. Yes, it’s hard building new habits, but help each other form them every day. It will become easier. I promise.
COMFORT OVER CUTE
Men go to the gym to work. It is very rare to see someone serious at the gym wearing a ton of gym gear for no apparent reason which brings me to my last point: you don’t have to look cute for the gym. Sure, every once and a while a new matching outfit is nice to motivate you, but you don’t have to wear makeup, jewellery, and matching sneakers every day. The gym isn’t the club. It is the one place you can go to stop feeling insecure because everyone in there is sweating and looking awful too. Everyone is too busy working hard to stop and admire how nicely done your braid is – who cares?! Go for comfort over cute. Throw on those yoga pants and tie your hair up in a fun-bun and get to work. This workout is for you and no one else. Own it.