Yup... it's a real thing.
Admittedly it is a term that I have come across while doing research for this article, but nevertheless, it is something I have seen and heard from my clients for years.
I've also found some pretty sad stats about gymtimidation as well:
- Twice as many women as men feel embarrassed when exercising
- Most off-putting is other people noticing them and feeling unfit
- Women tend to find the weights area intimidating, 47% saying they're put off by the people who use it
- 44% of women avoid using weights because they don't know what to do, or how much they can lift.
- Self-conscious women are concerned about what both sexes think, with 14 per cent saying they are intimidated by the thought of men are judging them, while another 10 per cent feared other women.
So rather than write a blog post about the benefits of weight training for women (of which there are many) I thought I'd write something more practical that will help you get into the weights area, safe in the knowledge that you are going to say, do and perform everything perfectly!
Now, I, & you for that matter, cannot control the way others will act when you look to be a weight lifting bad ass. HOWEVER 9/10 times it's cool, you might draw looks & sometimes some unsolicited advice, but that's just boys wanting to show off.
Just see it for what it is,besides... your there to do a job & no sweaty boys banging weights a round is going to gymtimidate you!!
So for the sake of this article I am going to concentrate on two lifts the Deadlift & the Squat. I will go through how to set up for each exercise, stretch/mobilise & what to say to someone if the squat rack is being used.
The squat is the King (or Queen in this case) of lower body exercises. It works your calves, thighs, hamstrings, bum... everything from the waist down (plus many more muscles which I won't bore you with)
To get the real benefit of squatting you need to be using the squat rack, not those silly little barbells that you can lift over your head.
BONUS TIP: If you have the strength to pick a barbell up, lift it over your head & put it on your shoulders to then squat... it is far too light and a massive waste of your time.
Ok, the squat rack - this is very rarely free as it is also used for benching pressing... the most popular exercise amongst gym bro's.
If it's being used by a fellow member - no matter what he or she looks like, this is what you want to say to them to get on it next...
- "How many sets do you have left?" (Say this with purpose & confidence!)
- His reply "3 - 4 sets" or something like that
- You - "Cool, can you give me a shout when your done"
& thats it... this is the language of the gym rat!
You now back off to let him carry on, but stay within eye shot so he can nod to you when he's done.
Awesome... part one of the plan is accomplished & the first hurdle of gymtimidation is over with.
How to Set Up
- Put the bar at a height which is the same height as your shoulder or a little lower.
- Take a step back & notice that there are two "rings" on the bar
- Put your index finger on each and line your body up in the middle of the bar
- Step forward, ducking under the bar & placing it on the back of your shoulders
- The bar should be resting right in the of your shoulders
- Lift the bar off the hook, step back & get feet into position
- Squat... like Tom Hardy is behind you 🙂
The deadlift is also another massive calorie burning, muscle toning exercise, but again, I'm not going to go into the benefits or technique of deadlifting... just how to set up for it.
This is a much easier set up than the squat as all you need is some space & the bar.
If all the bars are in use, apply the same "gym bro conversation" as with the squat.
How to Set Up
- Find some space and grab the Olympic bar (the big one)
- Start with small weights (so the bar is off the floor)
- Deadlift to your heart's desire
So now that you know exactly what to say, how to set up and what to do, it's time to face your gymtimidation head on, safe in the knowledge that you are now going to look and sound like a seasoned gym goer