The weight section at the gym can be intimidating. Walking into a land of unknown can be nerve-racking, but lifting weights is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it can be one of the most powerful things you add into your routine.
Throughout history, women have been expected to look a certain way. Much of a women’s relationship with the gym revolves around expectations too–losing weight, losing body fat, shrinking her waistline–however, lifting weights can empower you in ways that can move you beyond your physical appearance.
1. Increasing confidence and happiness
When I first picked up a weight, I had no idea what I was doing. I walked into a mystery section of the gym and was surrounded by men much stronger. I felt out of place. I put my headphones in and blocked out everyone surrounding me.
As the days, weeks, and months went on, I continued my journey into the weight section and increasingly became more proud of myself. I learned through practice exactly what to do and I began to feel like I fit right in. I felt bad-ass knowing I was improving myself in such a unique way. I left each gym session happier than the last.
Lifting weights, like other exercises, can make you feel powerful. You’re making a change for yourself, both inside and out, and the endorphins flow. Endorphins are the chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy… and feeling happy is one of the best feelings you can experience.
2. More independence in everyday life
Lifting weights can help you learn how to do things more confidently in your everyday life. So many of the moves we use in the gym translate to our outside life.
Take deadlifts for example: Deadlifts are movements that involve hinging at the hips and lifting a barbell/weight with your lower body. It is a compound movement that mainly works your legs, but also works your core.
Have you ever been lifting a box or other item and heard the phrase “Lift with your legs… not your back”? Well, this is exactly what a deadlift can teach you! By deadlifting in the gym, you can learn proper mechanics to lift things safely in your everyday life.
In addition to from deadlifts, there are endless functional movements that translate from the gym to home.
3. Finding a community
Soon after I started my lifting journey and began to feel more comfortable in the gym, I started a fitness Instagram to keep myself accountable and find other people who were in a similar place as I was.
I was introduced to an amazing community of strong and inspiring women who also lifted weights. Whether they were competing in bodybuilding shows or just lifting weights for fun like me, I made amazing connections.
I discovered Facebook groups, too, full of thousands of strong women who encouraged each other to lift weights and be strong. I met others who live in close proximity to me and wanted to work out together.
I have met some of my best friends through weightlifting.
Finding a community of encouraging women is reason enough to start weightlifting!
4. Building Strength
Weightlifting is both a physical and mental game, and can contribute to both physical and mental strength.
Physically, it can build muscle. Everyone starts somewhere in the weight section. When I first started, I could barely even curl a dumbbell! But looking back, we were all there at some point. Increasing weights in the gym and gaining strength is a great feeling. It can also positively impact your everyday life… I lift weights so I only have to make ONE trip to carry in my groceries!
One reason women might be scared of lifting weights or getting strong is that they are afraid they will “get bulky”. Trust me, though, you won’t. If it were that easy, we would all be bulky! Gaining muscle takes a lot of work, training and time. Women also do not have enough testosterone naturally in their bodies to become bulky, like men.
As much as lifting weights can contribute to physical strength and muscle growth, it also includes a mental component. It requires concentration, consistency, discipline and persistence which are great exercises for our brains and mental growth.
Lifting weights is so beneficial for women and can make you feel empowered both inside the gym and out. With so much pressure from social media, magazines and influencers to look a certain way, lifting weights can make you feel good on the inside. Women should not focus on meeting society’s physical standards, but rather focus on how they feel. Weight lifting can make you feel confident, independent, bad-ass, strong, happy and so much more.
What are you waiting for!?
Maddie Savitt is a personal trainer and online coach who aims to help both women and men live a healthy lifestyle while still finding balance.