I don’t know about you, but sometimes starting a different workout plan or trying a new machine can be intimidating and make me feel a little uneasy at times. Many times it’s because we’re self-conscious, feel intimidated, are unfamiliar with the machines, or because we’re afraid we won’t be using the machines correctly. I’ll admit, today was one of those days I was a little nervous going into the weight room!
That may sound a little crazy, especially because I incorporate weight lifting into my workouts at least 3 times a week. But I’ve started to get into the routine where I am using what’s familiar to me and not stepping outside my comfort zone. The problem with this is your body starts to get used to the same workouts and will plateau if you don’t switch up your workouts and “shock” your muscles as I like to say. It’s kind of like if you never challenged yourself to try something new, you won’t ever grow or change. Your body works the same way.
Last week, I decided to start a new workout plan which incorporates what I call the “triple m’s”- Manly Man Machines. These are the machines that are often surrounded by men and rarely do I see women use them. Why? Great question! These machines often incorporate several different muscles so you’d think it’d be a no brainer that women would want to use them. The machines I’m talking about are typically the smith machine, bench press, barbels, and leg press.
Today’s workout involved the smith machine, barbells, and leg press and I was a little nervous because I hadn’t used these machines since I worked with a trainer for Miss America. It can be intimidating to be one of only a couple women working out in the “triple m’s”. The reason I was nervous this morning is I didn’t want to look incapable of working the machines and as if I didn’t belong there. So instead I took a few actions to make myself comfortable so I didn’t go back to what my body was comfortable with.
Tips to overcome your fear of lifting weights
1. I’m afraid lifting weights will make me bulk up. Realize that as a woman your body is built differently than a man. Unless you are trying to obtain bigger muscles,you probably are not going to see a massive increase in bulk. I like to use weights that will allow me to work about 12-15 repetitions when I lift so I’m focused more on toning.
2. I don’t know how to use the machines. This was one of my fears when I first started working out. Even today when I’m unsure of how to do a workout I will look online for videos on how to properly work the equipment so I’m comfortable using it and so I don’t injure myself. Bodybuilding.com has some great videos and tutorials on how to properly perform workouts.
3. How do I know how much I should be lifting? What if I hurt myself? You can always add more weight, that’s why I like to start out lighter if I’m unsure just how much I should be lifting. This is a lot easier than lifting more than you should and finding out the hard way.
4. I feel intimidated by everyone else who looks like they know what they’re doing. First things first, understand that at some point in everyone’s life they had a “first timer” experience at the gym. No one is just born knowing how to workout (even Arnold Schwarzenager!) Don’t be afraid to ask questions, read instructions on machines, or even bring a friend so the two of you can help each other out. This helps significantly to have a workout partner to help make you feel more comfortable and who can push you as well.
5. I’m self-conscious about the way I look. Believe it or not, everyone is self-conscious about something. Ask yourself “Why am I here?” or “What are my goals through working out?” Is it to feel better about yourself? To live a healthier lifestyle? To get in better shape and feel more confident about yourself? Remind yourself these reasons and realize that the more often you go to the gym, the more comfortable you are going to be in that setting as well as with yourself.
Here are my top tips that have helped me
1. Educate yourself! Watch videos, read articles, and make sure you are comfortable with the workout you are doing.
2. Walk in there like you own the gym! (Not like you’re trying to intimidate those around you, that’s being cocky!) But rather walk in like you know exactly what you’re doing and approach that smith machine with no fear!
3. Bring a friend. I like this because they can also open you up to new workouts and can push you.
4. Bust up the jams! Music can change your mood and can also give you more courage and drive during your workouts.
5. Make sure you are fueling your body correctly and not starving it. Your body needs protein, complex carbs, good fats, and lots of water so it can have the strength and endurance to get you through your workout as well as your busy day. I like to have a piece of toast with peanut butter, cinnamon, and bananas on top before a big workout. Avoid something with lots of sugar because this will result in your body crashing. Also replenish those calories you burned and feed your muscles the protein they need to recover after a workout.
6. Last but not least, be confident in what you are doing and even have a mantra to get you to the gym. You are fit, you are strong, and you are fabulous! Just remember how good you’ll feel after you are finished working out.
This morning I decided to add an extra little kick to my egg white scramble after my intense leg day (I made it through the “triple m’s”!) I typically like to add a little taco seasoning to the mix or some siracha to spice things up. Instead, today I went to our local co-op. I really wanted to go to Whole Foods but they don’t open for another 9 days (the countdown is on!) After pondering for a good 15 minutes over the variety of salsa and hot sauces, I finally asked one of the sales people what they would suggest. He steered me towards El Pinto All Natural Green Chile Sauce because of the spicy factor and the unique green chile flavor. He had actually worked at the restaurant that produced the salsa in Albuquerque and suggested also adding it to green chili stew. I’ll have to try that next time! I decided to take it home and give it a try.
It was pretty good, though it wasn’t quite as amazing as I was expecting. I love my salsa extra chunky and spicy but with flavor still. This salsa was definitely spicy but the flavor felt a little watered down to me. I would consider adding extra bell peppers, corn, and black beans to the mix in the future.
Well, I have a 15 page research paper to get to and finish by midnight tomorrow! So I should probably save the rest of my writing time and witty words for that. I hope some of my tips encourage you to try a new workout for the week though! Remember, work that smith machine, you own that bench press. Be fierce and fearless in the weight room!
Random Fact of the Day
Did you know that your tricep is actually bigger than you bicep? No way Jose! Yes way. This is because the tricep actually has three attachment points while the bicep only has two. Happy Monday everybody!