I was a very active kid growing up. I played pretty much every sport under the sun and began studying martial arts at eight years old. My schedule was completely packed with physical activity and I thrived off of the structure. I was kind of a jock to be honest.
Going to college, I took a bit of a hiatus from fitness, not even on purpose. I lost the structure of fitness activities and with it went my focus and drive. After a couple of years of typical college laziness, I knew that I needed to get myself back on track.
Stuck in a cardio rut
I started going to my school’s fitness center and, like every other female there, I spent all of my time on cardio machines. I knew how to use them, I didn’t have to think, and they felt safe. I would occasionally glance into the weight room and see all of the bigger guys working out. I’d think to myself that I should start lifting weights but felt intimidated and would make my way back to the familiar cardio machines.
I followed that pattern for a couple of months until I decided that I really wanted to tone myself and lifting weights was the only way to do so. Cardio wasn’t getting me the results I was looking for and I knew that I needed a change if I wanted to progress.
Weight room newbie
To say I was nervous would be an understatement. Not only did I not have a clue how to use any of the machines, but I was also surrounded by a bunch of good-looking guys who also happened to be my peers. My plan of action was to try my best to make it seem like I knew what I was doing which, looking back on it now, I’m sure everyone saw right through. Admittedly, half of my time was spent pretending to stretch while I read the instructions on the machines, while the other half of the time I spent copying another guy’s workout.
I felt so uncomfortable and knew that I probably looked like an idiot, but I did it. I also promised myself that I wouldn’t give up on weight lifting and would get back in there. I researched different workouts online and joined my friends for some CrossFit classes to learn proper form from professionals. Although nothing came easy to me, I continued to lift more frequently and each time I got just a touch better.
Results go beyond the mirror
I’ve seen so many improvements in myself, which makes the awkward, uncomfortable moments spent in the gym all worth it. Physically I’m stronger and more toned, mentally I’m more focused and productive, socially I’m much more confident and sure of myself, and the list goes on. So, if you’re a slave to the elliptical, I urge you to shake things up and hit the weights. The improvements you’ll see in your work performance, your social life and, of course, your body are such a confidence boost.
If you’re unsure of how to get started, my best advice is to keep an open mind. Watch, learn and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Personal trainers, fitness apps and YouTube videos are all great resources that can help you feel more comfortable in the weight room. It’s okay to feel confused and uncomfortable, just get in there and lift some weights, girl!