Do you avoid the ‘testostozone’?

You know, the weights section of the gym populated by protein-shake guzzling gym junkies.

With weights clanking, music throbbing and people grunting, it tends to be noisy … and don’t get me started about the smell, a unique combo of sweat, body odour and spray-on deodorant.

When I first started lifting weights, even I found this part of the gym intimidating. I’m no longer a shy teenager and, despite my height and slender build, don’t think twice about claiming my spot amidst (usually) much larger guys.

When I asked my wife and female clients, here’s what they said about the ‘testostozone’:

I try and avoid the area as much as possible, by either working out during off-peak times or training in the ladies-only section.

I go in there with you but I rarely go on there on my own.

No thanks. The smells is enough to put me off!

I avoid the area and do classes instead.

It seems most women give the ‘testostozone’ a wide berth.

I get it. The gym can be an intimidating environment, especially if you’re new to exercise or returning after an extended period of inactivity. The way my wife sees it, women tend to feel more self-conscious (not just in the gym but everywhere they go) and are more likely to worry about how they measure up.

Some of the concerns I hear from female clients include:

  • I feel like everyone is watching me, judging me.
  • I don’t really know what I’m doing.
  • I’m not as fit/toned/thin/strong/confident/trendy…
  • I’m too fat/old/weak…

I think this is why many major gyms have female-only zones… but doesn’t this just reinforce the perception that the ‘testostozone’ isn’t a safe or welcoming space for women?

Get out of your comfort zone and into the ‘testostozone’

In my opinion, there is one major reason to get out of your comfort zone and into the ‘testostozone’: You pay for your damn gym membership and have the right to use any and all equipment! In comparison to the smaller, women’s zones, the ‘testostozone’ is jam-packed with equipment, machines and functional gadgets to enhance your training.

I encourage all female clients to incorporate resistance training.

Whether you use pin-loaded machines, free weights or body-weighted exercises, there are many benefits to weight training.

6 reasons to start lifting weights today

1. Increased muscle = decreased fat

Lean muscle increases metabolism. Higher metabolism burns more calories at rest. You can read more about this over here.

2. Strength without bulk

Lifting weight won’t turn you into Arnie. With less testosterone than men, lifting weights helps women create toned muscles. You’ll look good and, more importantly, you’ll have the strength and stamina to do all the things you love to do.

3. Reduced risk of osteoporosis

Weight training strengthens your bones and increases your bone density which is important for all women, regardless of age.

4. Better posture

If you work in an office, slouching at your desk may have left you with rounded shoulders, lower back issues and a weak core. Exercises which target your core, upper back, glutes and hamstrings will make a huge difference to your posture.

5. Less stress 

Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins, which trigger positive feelings and naturally relieve pain and stress.

6. Fewer injuries

Weight training increases the strength and stability of your joints, enabling you to perform your daily activities with greater ease and reduced risk of injury.

Get over your fear of the ‘testostozone’

Taking the plunge is never easy, but, I’m hoping I can give some great tips on how to get over the fear and mark your territory.

The first thing to remember is that other people don’t look at or think about you as much as you think.

Sad but true, my friend. They’re either too busy thinking about their own technique and form to worry about yours, or too busy looking at themselves in the mirror to glance your way. Next time you’re in the gym, look around. See the guy with massive biceps checking himself out in the mirror; the lithe woman in coordinating tights and bra taking a selfie (#fitspo); the PT with eyes focused on his client’s form; the woman obsessively checking messages while on the stationary bike. Each in a world of their own.

Second, have a plan. 

Don’t wander around aimlessly. Go in with a plan, including:

  • what machines or equipment you plan to use
  • weight
  • number of reps

I’ve put together a Beginners Free Weight Session so you can get started with confidence.

If you’re still feeling reticent, remember that there is strength in numbers.

Train with your partner or a friend so you have someone to laugh with when you sit on the thigh press the wrong way. And, of course, working with a Personal Trainer is guaranteed to boost your confidence. You’ll not only learn what the equipment does but how to use it safely and effectively. Just a couple of sessions with a PT can totally transform the way you see and use the gym

I can’t wait to hear how you go. Next time you’re in the testostozone, take a picture and share it using #vitalitahealthandfitness

– Sam –

 

 

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