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.