By Zaarah Booley
This article is exclusive to the online Edition 2 (Wrap Edition) of VARSITY Newspaper.
It’s not difficult to identify you, my fellow goddess. At the gym, you stare longingly yet hesitantly at the weights, ranging in weight and size. You inch towards them, taking a step closer and closer until you find yourself in the peripheral view of men – the ultimate gladiator. Their stares are enough to deter you from your intended course, and you retreat to a domain where femininity and daintiness rule – cardio or yoga.
“GYMTIMIDATION” IS REAL
“Gymtimidation” is real and it’s painfully prevalent with regard to strength training or weight training and its masculine association. As females, this intimidation not only frightens us, but hinders our fitness goals, and we simply can’t allow this. We need to show these supposed gladiators that they haven’t seen anything yet. A goddess, despite her beauty and fragility, is a warrior in disguise.
Here are a few tips on how to claim your rightful place in the weight section of any gym:
- Establish the habit of training amongst males bit by bit and progress once you are comfortable:
If you find yourself in a sea of men, start small and perform a few reps and sets among them. Aim for 10 – 20 minutes as a starting point and as you become more confident, progress from 20 minutes to half an hour and beyond. It’s about establishing a sense of belonging bit by bit, because you do belong.
- If unsure about how to perform certain exercises, conduct research on said exercises:
If you are unwilling to ask for help, there is another alternative – research and practice. Perhaps you are unsure on how to perform a certain exercise. Simple research will clear that up as fitness articles, videos and even apps give clear instructions on how to perform a wide variety of exercises. This will help to minimise the fear of looking clueless and help you to appear less amateurish.
- Wear earphones or headphones as both a distraction and a means to focus:
By wearing earphones or headphones, you will zone out from the rest of the world and enter a bubble-like state where only you, your fitness goals and the music exist. This will also benefit you in the sense that the music will motivate you to work harder, getting you closer to your fitness goals – one session at a time.
- If you feel outnumbered, encourage your friends to join you as well:
It’s a fact –there is strength in numbers. If you feel that men outnumber you and a few other courageous goddesses, gather your friends, mothers and sisters and start a movement that ensures more females begin to dominate the weight area.
- Adopt an attitude of confidence:
As in life, there will always be those gym-rats that make it their life’s mission to judge and impose their unwanted opinion. The best way to ensure that this doesn’t affect you is to adopt a confident attitude that will challenge any opinion thrown your way. When they are so sure that you can’t perform a certain exercise, look them dead in the eye and smile knowingly, because you sure as hell can.
Be one of those womxn that challenge the paradigm of weight-training belonging strictly to males. Be confident in your own strength because you are a Goddess after all, and mere mortals tremble beneath your feet. Begin a paradigm of your own: in order to look like a Goddess, you must sweat like a Gladiator. Now, be fearless and show yourself just how strong you are.