I believe that most of you that had been here for a while aren’t new to exercise. You might be an everyday workout lover that makes daily sweating your goal. However, you found it hard for you to step into the weight area and you’ll eventually settle down on the treadmill.
This post is for those that wish to overcome their fear of weightlifting. I’ll pinpoint the probable reason that you might be afraid of weight training, and some remedies for you to overcome it.
Different Types of Fears
Undoubtedly those that go to the gym and wish to try out the weight surely will feel some resistance. Sometimes the pressure comes from the outer environment (in reality, it turns out just be our own thoughts) and how we think others will perceive us. Here is some of the core reason that might cause your fear and how to overcome it.
Fear factor 1: Fear That You Are Not The Right Gender To Weight Train?
I know, for female friend to start walking up to the weight area is intimidating. I feel this deeply when the first time I went in. However, believe it or not, I’ve become one of the benchmarks there and as I progress my technique, I often become the one that people ask for advice.
Forget the false mindset that ‘girls shouldn’t lift weight’, that’s an old myth that should be died. I followed more and more female lifter that is expertise in weight lifting. They aren’t looking any bulky or less attractive than the hottest women I know. Show them.
Girls somehow appeared weaker than guys just because of our starting muscle mass. Females tend to have lesser muscle mass due to our natural setting of being the caregiver instead of the guardian. However, it is just the starting point but you are always able to build your strength up with training. Even more than that, here’s an article that explains that females fo possess muscular potential that isn’t any. The problem isn’t which gender you are, but how you willing to train yourself.
Fear factor 2: Afraid of Being The ‘Newbie’ Around Expertise
People really don’t judge whether you are a newbie or not. Most of the time it’s ourselves that thinking ‘I shouldn’t belong here’ or “I looks doesn’t fit in at all’. Whatever it is, there is one thing you should know– people that really working out seriously had no time to care about your presence.
Only the ones with not professional have the time and effort to judge you or give you some destructive critics. I’ve met a few before, at the time I really panicked when they pointed out what I shouldn’t do and I chickened out.. However, after years when I recalled the ‘advice’ that these people told me, it turns out that their own opinions are also wrong.
Most of them that reach up to you and give you advice are really sincere to help you progress. Most of the gym goers are actually really helpful and grateful if they could help someone in the gym. (That’s how I feel when I’m offering advice/assistance in the gym.) We love the feeling of being supportive and being the stepping stone of each other.
Fear factor 3: Think That You are Still Not In Great Shape?
There aren’t any written rules that which type of people or who shouldn’t appear at any part of the gym.
If you are overweight, and someone tells you you should belong in the cardio area but not in the weight area. This is truly, criminally, nonsense. Building up muscle is your best way to get in shape. I explained in the post about body recomposition, having more muscle mass will improve your body composition and results in a leaner look.
Let it be someone that is as skinny as they seem can’t hold a single dumbbell. There isn’t anything wrong with you stepping in the weight area. And you should definitely belong to here because this is the only way for you to get stronger. If you did not start picking up those weights, when did you going to build up your strength and become one of those that looks great and fit?
You are here because you are looking to be stronger, not that you are already stronger. Same as those that think they are overweight or obese. The gym is your clinic, not a showroom. Everyone here has the same goal ‘be better than yesterday.”
Most people that you saw in the gym that are already in a good shape also start in the same place as you. They are looking the same as you once before. And believe me or not, instead of judging you, I bet that 80% of them are happy to help you (because they are in the same place before and they know the frustration deeply).
If that is really someone that really insulted you in the gym. Remember, it’s not your fault. You have the choices to ignore them or if they really make you uncomfortable, choose another spot or avoid them entirely.
Other Excuses For Weight Training
Although you know the benefits of weight training you still have the dilemma for different reasons. In fact, a habit is easy to maintain once you get used to it. But the hardest part is how to make your first move.
This section will be some excuse that most people will make for themself on not weight training. And I have my solutions for it. Make it no excuse!
Excuse 1: Weight Training Is Suffering
Any type of training is required you to breakthrough through old capabilities and challenge the new ones. Be it either strength training or endurance-based training, or even your favorite sports (fill in the sport’s name that you think is the most stressless one).
Remember the moment when you eventually decided to run daily on the treadmill, how did you feel? Are the first few weeks comfortable? Of course not. Everything that we start getting into will have some kind of suffering at the beginning.
Well, not so much. The good news is you don’t have to train till you drop.
In weight training, we have the principle of progressive overload. You don’t need to immediately pick up the heaviest load that makes every move suffering, but you just add in bit by bit over time. This is the thing that keeps you fresh and still remains you in a relatively comfortable state.
Despite of ended up feeling miserable, people usually ended up falling in love with weight training. It is because the load is measurable and humans tend to feel satisfied when they are able to see their progress.
Excuse 2: Weight Training Is Time Consuming Than Other Type Of Workout
It depends. Every workout uses time.
However, do you know that weight training is more effective than cardio even for burning more calories? Here’s why. If we just account for the calories burned during the session itself, we could not deny that cardio seems to burn more calories. However, take a look at the afterburn effect (EPOC- excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), weight training often doubled up the number. It turns out to be the more effective one.
In terms of you might think that you might use up more time when you are adjusting or choosing the weight. You can do it strategically.
Of course, you might need some time to figure out which weight is suitable for each of your exercises. Or some trial and error to get yourself comfortable with using new equipment. That’s totally fine. Take your time and it is a great time for you to experience different equipment. You can also bring a notebook along to record the suitable weight for each exercise.
If you are concerned that you might waste time setting up the equipment. Make it strategically. You can group your exercise that is using the same weight or equipment together so that you are just required to do those adjustments once in a time (or add with only one or two plates in a convenient way).
Excuse 3: Those Equipment Are Dangerous
Alright, you might think that you look vulnerable under the big machines or just the series of weight plates that you don’t think you are able to handle. Well, for those free weights, just put your ego down and go for it. You deserve applause even if you are just able to take the lightest one.
Besides that equipment, that is a tricky one. Sometimes beginners tend to end up doing the wrong thing. There are two possibilities, first is that you keep doing it wrong until someone approaches you and points it out (this is great and you should appreciate it). Another less fortunate one is that you kept doing it until something happened (maybe you did not aware of the safety lock and the weight just dropped down). Injuries during workouts are the thing that you should avoid the most. Especially injuries that is caused by the equipment.
To avoid unnecessary injury due to the wrong way to operate the machines, make sure you make some research about how to function each type of machine before using it. If you are uncertain how to use it, don’t be afraid to ask others. They will be willing to help (more than you imagined).
One precaution for those that use a smith machine or power rack. The starting weight of the bar itself will usually be around 20kg. If you still did not have stronger arm strength, better to ask someone to help, or even spot you when you doing the exercise. This is what I did when I’m starting out: since I had underestimated the weight. I get myself stuck in the middle of the rack while trying to move the weight to my height. Luckily someone saw it and help me carry the weight up (phew!).
It’s Your Own Choices
Of course, you might prefer a bodyweight workout rather than using weight. Yes, for begineers, you can build up some fundamental strength using only body weight. Once you had already passed the beginner line and wish to further build more strength, body weight sometimes isn’t the best option.
I love the feeling when I get to progress to a heavier weight. The certainty that I had built up strength from the start of every program and that I’ll get to see the difference later makes me feel satisfied. That is the best part of weight training.
You get to identify what is the resistance that keeps you from lifting weight. If the reason is the fear of how others perceive you, remember it is your own choice to get stronger, not them. If your resistance comes from the form of the workout itself, there is always a solution.
Pick up those weight’s and you’ll surprised of how it can change your life.