I was recently asked to describe myself as a trainer and the "type" of person I was in the gym. As I thought there thinking about all the different sterotypes that are known in the gym I couldn't really find a word to describe MYSELF. When I first starting training many, many years ago I thought the type of trainer everyone wanted was the scary, in your face and down your throat trainer. I tried it and it didn't work for me. I then started to sit back and listen to the concerns and comments from client after client. The most common reason people would come to me was for guidance. People are coming into the gym looking for some guidance on how to achieve their goals. Seems simple, right? Wrong. I started to see a pattern occurring. Many clients would only perform certain exercises when they were with me. I started to question WHY this was happening. I wasn't making them do crazy things (OK not all of the time) and most exercises were basic. So what was the issue? I finally got down to the root of the problem and many turned to me and admitted they were intimated of certain areas of the gym. What was there to be intimated of? I didn't understand..until it occurred to me..
I just joined a new gym near my house so I could get in my own workouts during the day. It was a brand new gym that was filled with brand NEW equipment. Exciting, right?! Wrong again! I found myself looking at some of the machines saying OK... after 9 years in this industry I have no idea how to work this machine. Yah, I admit it. There were machines I had no idea how to work! So I sat there playing with some of them until I figured it out. Most of the machines I didn't understand were because different manufactures make them, but it still can be confusing! The few minutes of confusion before I had relief were scary. I felt INTIMATED! Everyone around me was buzzing around and I was sitting there trying to figure out this stupid machine! Now I know how it feels!!!
Now I know your probably saying, it isn't just the equpiment! Ladies, a lot of you have admitted to me that you don't feel comfortable working out in the free weight area because of all the men. I can relate. Before I got seriously into weight lifting and I was still a new seed in the industry, I felt the same way. While I was attending the University of Illinois I had access to the LARGEST recreation center in the United States! But did you know that I was always too scared to go down to the BIG weight room were all the dudes were? I never went! Not once! But why?!!! I kick myself now for it, but it was intimidating. I am going to let you in on a little secret in the gym though and it's something not many think about. Everyone is looking at THEMSELVES in the mirror, not YOU! Chances are they could care less of what you are doing and could care more about the weights they are lifiting. So why be scared?
Once I got into lifting seriously and competing, I became a new person and had a whole new outlook on the free weight section. It really isn't as bad as it seems. And it's even cooler when you lift more than some of the big macho guys (sorry guys!) So my advice? Pretend like you own that area and that no one else is even there (but still be respectful). :)
Next time you go to the gym and you feel intimated by the machines or dumbbells take a step back and think about it. Is it the machine that makes no sense? Chances are it has instructions, so take some time to read it. If you still don't get it then ask a personal trainer. Are you afraid of the dumbbells? Ask someone to show you how to do the exercise correctly. Most of the time people won't mind stopping and helping you so don't be afraid! It beats guessing and getting hurt!
Everyone may be on different pages when it comes to the gym but everyone is in the same book; the book to live a healthier lifestyle. Make sure you feel comfortable and confident with what you are doing and you will keep benefiting your lifestyle.
In good health,
Cristina Walterman, owner of CW Physique, let's you in on fitness and nutrition tips, recipes, exercises and much more. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, she loves to inspire and motivate individuals. She always practices what she preaches and leads by example.