Working Out With the Boys

blog1 (1)  By: Xylia Lydgate

Stepping foot into a weight room for the first time is often intimidating, but imagine being one of several women in a weight room predominantly occupied by men.

You see racks of daunting weights in every size, machines with strange handles and nooks; then of course, you glance over and see a large heavy-lifter grunting with every breath, sweat dripping and veins pulsing through his neck. You think to yourself, are there even instructions anywhere?  Then you realize you probably should’ve come up with a game plan.

As a freshman, I avoided the Campus Rec weight room altogether. In fact, it took me an entire term before I built the courage to step foot onto the second floor of the gym. My first time walking into the weight room, I scanned the area and realized I had no idea what to do. Any machine that I couldn’t figure out from afar, I didn’t touch. The only exercise I knew how to do with free weights was bicep curls, which I didn’t dare attempt since the free weight space was crowded by big college guys. It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the weight room that I began to feel more comfortable using weights. I started to follow fitness videos on Instagram and became inspired to make weight training a critical part of my workout routine.

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Although there are still more men, I’ve been noticing more and more women in the weight room. In fact, the Rec Center offers a free program called Women on Weights that is designed to introduce women to a variety of weight training equipment, proper form and technique, and more.

I don’t mind being outnumbered by “the guys” anymore. In fact, there’s something empowering about being a woman in the weight room and performing the same exercises as men.

While the “fight or flight” response may naturally kick in during intimidating situations, continue on to do what you set out to do. Embrace it. Challenge yourself to do the unexpected. Lift weights!

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