Weight Room Intimidation

Author: Richelle Morgan PTS, NWS, Fitness Instructor
I was training a new client one day and as we walked around the gym, I was explaining to her what we would be doing that day for her session. As soon as I mentioned that we would be using the free weight room, she had a look of uncertainty on her face. Seeing this look surprised me as she is a very confident and strong woman, so I asked her if she ever used that room. It turns out that she was and is intimidated. Too many men, too little women and she was afraid of someone watching her and not knowing what she was doing.
This confession me realize that there are a lot of women and men that feel the same way. Having implemented free weights in my routine years ago, the thought of being intimidated by the whole concept of free weights, let alone the "free weight room" was mystifying. As I reflected on my past experiences and the first time I ever entered a free weight room, I came to realize that I had felt the same way. To walk into unknown territory can be a confusing and intimidating experience. Think back to your first day at school and I'm sure you can relate at some level.
When we were through with the session, she turned to me and said" Hey, that wasn't that bad. I think I might be able to come here on my own next time I am here."
Hearing my client say that gave me a definite feeling of accomplishment and a new goal to strive towards.

For those of you who are new to training and have experienced this at some level before, take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. The weight room or the gym as a whole does
not have to be an intimidating experience. There are many outlets that you tap into to educate yourself on what to do when you take that first step. Approach gym personnel and ask someone to show you around. Book a training session with a personnel trainer, rent a workout video that features free weights, go to your local bookstore or library for books on the subject or use the internet (as you are doing now) as a guide. It is like learning to drive or ride a bike. And once you take the step, you will gain results that will make you feel like you can tackle anything. Implementing free weights into your fitness routine will:

- increase and strengthen muscle tissue
- increase bone density
- improve body composition
- will make everyday activity easier
- improves core strength
- reduces loss of valuable muscle mass that occurs with aging
- reduces incidence of injuries to joints and muscles
- will help lose body fat
- increases self esteem and body image
- increase in resting metabolic rate (the rate at which the body 'burns' fat)

The benefits are endless. So the next time you go to the gym, remember that you are not alone and there is always someone out there willing and able to help. Taking that first step is always the hardest, but once you do, I promise you will not be disappointed.

*before implementing a strength training routine or any form of regular activity always check with your doctor

by Richelle Morgan PTS, NWS