When You're The Girl At The Weights Rack

When You're The Girl At The Weights Rack

What Happened When I Broke The Stereotype
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Why is it that girls are intimidated by the weights section at the gym? We feel perfectly comfortable on all the cardio equipment, but in our minds, the weight rack is the guy’s unspoken territory. There’s some very clear segregation at every gym I’ve ever been to. Well today I’m here to share my side of the story, and break down the unspoken stigma that the weights room is a guy’s only zone.

I’ve been working out regularly since I was fifteen, because I absolutely love fitness. I love seeing progress, I love the way it makes you feel, and I love the sanity that it brings to my sometimes crazy life. My usual workout routine over the past few years, has consisted of cardio, hiit training, yoga, and light hand weights. I’ve never had weights be a part of my everyday routine, because I work out at home, so I was working with what equipment I had. I usually throw some five and eight pounds weight into the mix, but nothing heavier.

This semester I decided to sign up for my school’s gym, and eight weeks ago I stepped inside for the first time. My school’s gym is designed as one big room, with cardio equipment lining two sides, the weights rack on one side, weight machines on another, and an aerobics circuit in the middle. For the first few weeks I stuck to what I knew. I felt intimidated, and didn’t want to mess up, so I stuck to the aerobics circuit, elliptical, and stationary bike. My workouts were great, but they became a bit repetitive. One day, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I realized something. There was nothing holding me back from being like every other fit girl I follow on Instagram. If they could lift weights, so could I. So the next day I went back into the gym, and I hit up the weights rack. I didn't stop there- I used the stairmaster for jogging and leg abductions. I used the bosu balls for incline crunches. I did lat pull downs, chest presses, leg extensions, and so on. I had forgotten how much fun new workouts could be!

There is nothing that holds me back in the gym now. I do the workouts I want, and I do them with a smile on my face. I've formed new routines, that are always changing, so that I'm constantly challenging different muscle groups. The results have been amazing. My arms are finally gaining real definition, and my quads have taken on a life of their own. Today I leg pressed 85 pounds, which is a big difference from the measly 40 pounds that I could do at the start of this semester. I love seeing my progress, and changing up my workouts every week.

I’m a girl at the weights rack, and here’s what I’ve learned. I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me while I’m in the gym. When I’m there, I’m in my own zone. I put in my earbuds, blast a good playlist, and get to work. Yeah, I still get people that stare at me sometimes, but I just ignore them, and remind myself that I’m one of the few girls that actually lifts weights at my school. I stand out, but I’m okay with that. I’ll proudly be in the minority, because I’m happy with myself, and the workouts that I’m doing. At the end of the day, my workouts are about me, and not what other people think of me.

Cover Image Credit: Emalee Fox

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


@abidickson01 on twitter.com


Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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