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

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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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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If I Could, I'd Start Running And Not Stop Until I Got To Kenya ​

The high altitudes of this east African country make conditions ideal for any runner looking to excel.


If you're into running like me, then it's no secret where the best runners in the world come from. The African country of Kenya is home to some of the greatest runners to ever step foot on planet earth. Phenomenal talent emerges from Kenya year after year. Records get shattered as if they were minor accomplishments. Most of the talent goes unnoticed until the Olympic games roll around and get showcased to the world.

Kenya is a place I've always wanted to visit. Many of my running idols either live or train in Kenya. I'm talking about some world record holding athletes. Like Eliud Kipchoge, for example, who recently broke the world record for the fastest marathon ever. He trains every day alongside other world-class runners on the NN Running Team.

I constantly see athletes post on social media about their experiences while they training in Kenya. I think I would enjoy getting to know the culture. Life as a runner in Kenya looks like a lot of fun. The trails and roads look fascinating. There are always other runners striving to push one another towards their highest potential.

One big reason why I'd want to visit Kenya is that life seems so calm and simple. I wouldn't be caught up in the trends of society that resides while living in the United States. At times I feel overwhelmed and depressed from what goes on in the USA. I feel like there is a constant theme of people trying to outdo one another.

It's annoying because we are all the same and nothing should separate us, Sometimes I just want to get away from all that. I'd rather live out like a hermit and pave my own path in the vast open lands of eastern Africa. I admire the closeness of people in tribes and group settings in Kenya. People seem to be bonded tightly and enjoy the precious moments of life.

From what I read about Kenyan athletes, it sounds like I'd enjoy my time in the country. I would get to train with like-minded individuals day in and day out. The scenery would be incredible and breathtaking. There's just something about Kenya that gravitates me towards it. I've got it on my bucket list to accomplish at some point in my life.

Maybe my running ties could lead me to this place someday. Who knows, I'm just going to keep running until I can't anymore.

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