Don't Be Nervous or Scared to Lift Weights!

Years ago, as a young woman, I was intimidated by the weight section of the gym, even the machines. I hid out on cardio machines, attended group fitness classes or went to the women’s only section. In the women’s only section, I used (very) light dumbbells to do a couple reps of a variety of exercises I saw other people doing, I had done on a workout video, or read about in a fitness magazine. Then, I went back on the elliptical or treadmill. I didn’t want to lift heavy weights or do much strength training a lot because I wanted my arms smaller and not bulky, plus I thought cardio burns more calories. Does this sound familiar to any of you?

I was completely wrong! I was young and uninformed. The more I’ve talked to fitness professionals, read articles, listened to podcasts and studied to be a personal trainer, the more I’ve learned the HUGE benefit to lifting weights. Now weight lifting has become one of my favorite ways to exercise (second to running), and I can’t imagine going to a gym and hanging in the corner again. Women do not contain enough testosterone to bulk up, even when lifting heavy weight. I don’t think my arms look bulky and I lift fairly heavy weights on a regular basis.

Not only does having muscles allow you to do daily activities easily, including lugging in all those grocery bags into the house, picking up your kids or dog, or lifting something heavy off a high shelf, but muscular arms look sexy in a tank top. Did you know that more muscles you have in your body, the more calories you burn when YOU ARE DOING NOTHING?! Who doesn’t want that??? Not to mention how cool is it if you could bust out some regular pushups, do a chin up, or curl a 20 lb dumbbell? Yes on a cardio machine, you work your leg muscles and possibly even some core strengthening, but it dulls in comparison to physically lifting weights.

It does take some kind of confidence to saddle up next to the very muscular men in the weight section and grab a pair of dumbbells or use the weight bench, especially that first time. I know it did for me - I was so nervous, wondering what they would think of me. I had to learn that who cares what anyone thinks about me. I’m exercising to make and keep myself healthy and strong, not to impress anyone. In fact, I’m a hot mess when I workout - I’m super sweaty and my hair sticks out every which way possible. I challenge you to go to the weight room and starting lifting weights. And perhaps, try a heavier weight than 5lbs. I bet you can do it!

If you need help on what exercises to do, contact me, as I can develop a gym workout for you to do (with confidence) on your own at the gym. (trainedbystef@gmail.com)

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