‘This Kent Girl Can Lift’? Girls, yes we certainly can! So why is it that spotting another female ally in the gym such a rare occurrence and how can we turn this around?
First things first, understanding that you are not alone in the feeling of being scared to head on over to the weights area; we have all been in that position to start with. Next step, knowing that weight training can be something for you and how to get started.
A Girls’ Concerns
A room packed with guys, exasperatingly grunting and groaning, whilst they stare at their muscles in the mirror-covered walls; this sight is often the first impression girls have as they approach the unfamiliar territory of the weights room. All eyes appear to be on you. And not I’m going to lie to you, they most likely are. You are here for a reason though, so you can’t let it bother you.
Unfamiliar Equipment and Terminology
Bars, benches and racks. Everyone understands using new equipment can be daunting. Especially as, unlike the machines upstairs, the equipment in this area isn’t labelled with friendly instructions and diagrams. The technique involved is crucial in performing the exercises correctly. This can make the prospect of making a fool of yourself all too easy an excuse not to step foot in the area.
Feel Weak and Unprepared
All the people in here are much stronger than me; they all want the biggest “gains” and gulp down their expensive protein shakes after each workout. Everyone has different goals, yours don’t have to be the same as most guys. Don’t get me wrong though, maybe one day you may well get addicted to some form of recovery drink afterwards too! But trust me, Latte flavoured protein is one to skip! (An expensive lesson on my part.)
Concern on Over- Bulking
Over bulking? Think you’re going to end up looking like you’ve been hitting the ‘roids with your thunder thighs instead of getting that toned perky bum you where after?
All you need to achieve your goals is a little bit of education. Want to bulk up? High weight, low reps! Want to get toned? Low weight, lots of reps!
Obviously, it’s a little bit more complicated than that but just ask any of the gym staff for some tips.
How to overcome this?
Attend a Fitness Class
Start small. A fun way of accomplishing this is to book yourself into one of many fitness classes available to you. Kent Sport runs their 50 minute ‘Body Pump’ workout class 6 days a week at the Sports Centre; it aims to improve muscular strength by using barbells and bodyweight, pair this with some absolute bangers dating from your school prom years and you’ve got a decent gym sesh.
Then once you’re a bit more comfortable with the lighter stuff you can start your journey to some of the heavier weights.
1-2-1 Instruction with a Gym Coach
The best thing you can do if you’re feeling a bit lost is go find yourself one of the Kent Sport gym staff. They are always hiding somewhere and they are far more friendly than you might think. Think cuddly not scary! They are always happy to help or just have a good chat about everything. On the more official side of life. Kent Sport offers an initial fitness consultation, followed by a fitness assessment and topped off with a bespoke exercise programme. You’ll be shown and guided through how to perform all of the exercises safely, correctly and effectively so you are able to achieve your fitness goals. This might sound like a lot of rubbish and a lot of hard work, but realistically it’s exactly what you need as a beginner and is far less effort than it sounds!
Work out with friends
One of the best things you can do to feel a lot more comfortable in the gym is to bring backup. A gym buddy makes everything easier. You no longer feel like you have to get your session done quickly to make space for other people. You can take your time and have a good chat while you’re doing it all. Also your buddy can keep an eye on what you’re doing and give you crap when you’re doing it wrong. Any good gym buddy will try and help you improve your technique; how brutal they are with their criticism depends on how good a friend they are!
In the circumstances when you have to go by yourself, having music pumping down your eardrums can be an excellent technique to keep you focused. You are here to get your sets down and dusted, don’t let other concerns get in your way. Even if it means you have to break out a bit of Avril Lavigne. (Yes, I’m one of them...)
FINALLY….Remember Kent Union are holding their ‘This Kent Girl Can’ Strength and Conditioning session on Wednesday 24th October, from 3pm-4pm. Make the most of this opportunity to meet other girls in your position.