It’s amazing that in 2016, a lot of women are embracing the fitness culture and are going to the gym more regularly. I, for example, love the gym because my best results are produced there due to the vast amount of equipment available. I do, however, know what it’s like to feel intimidated at the gym particularly because it is stereotyped by many as a testosterone haven filled with “buff” men grunting and groaning as they lift their 60kg weights. To an extent, this is true. I’m sure many of you women have entered the weight room, seen that the majority of the spaces are occupied by men lifting the heaviest dumbbells and as a result, have walked straight out to find a place on the yoga mats to do some light resistance exercises. I have and this was certainly an observation I made after attending my university gyms for 3 years.
No, I’m not saying that this happens to all women because increasingly, more and more women are embracing the weight-lifting culture. However, this is the case for many women and after hearing some of my female friends talk about their experiences in gyms, I discovered that walking away from the weights room is a subconscious decision. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard a female friend say, “Yeah, I didn’t do weights today. There were too many guys in the weights room.” Lifting weights is usually stereotyped as a man’s activity because of their desire to “bulk up”. On the other hand, women are more drawn to the cardio machines and the exercise mats due to their desire to slim down. It’s okay to have different goals but the problem lies when women deny themselves the opportunity to achieve their full potential because they lack the confidence to simply enter a male-filled weight room.
I went to an all-girls boarding school so I had never been in a unisex gym until university. So, when I first entered my university gym, I have to admit, I did feel slightly intimidated. You feel like as soon as you enter the weights room, all eyes turn to you (although this has actually happened to me before). After shying away from weights for a year, I realised that the only person I was disadvantaging was myself. Who said that lifting weights was solely created for men and so what if they turn around to stare at you when you enter the weights room? The more women that jump on the weights bandwagon, the more of a norm it will become. My best results have been produced as a result of weight-lifing and no, it has not made me bulky. It might sound cheesy, but I feel a sense of empowerment when I am the only woman in the weights room and when I see more and more women joining men to lift weights, I almost want to go up to them, give them a high-five and say, “you go girl! yasss honey!”
The main point I want to get across is that no one should ever make you feel intimidated just because you are a woman. As women, it is important to break down the stereotypes and embrace the changing world. No one should ever stop you from doing what you want to do. If you want to lift weights, go ahead! If you want to do cardio, go ahead! The more women realise that they belong in the gym just like men do, the easier it will become to blaze new paths to create a more gender-equal world.
I hope you liked this post. Like share and subscribe!