It’s my birthday today. It’s also incredibly crappy out – rain, ice, sleet, snow. Happy birthday. Big plans for the day include NOT going to the gym, and instead, watching Game of Thrones with D.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to incorporate weight training into my workout routine. I feel like I should have some logical/scientific reason as to why I should be incorporating weight training into my routine…but I don’t. I really just want to have some muscles. Granted, it’ll make me stronger and probably make me a faster swimmer, but really – I just want some muscles.
The problem is – and I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem – no one really teaches you how to train with weights. And really, I think most women when they think of weight training, think this is what will end up happening:
So really, I’m afraid to be around all these dudes lifting big ass weights, because I’m small and lift 5-10 pound weights. And have no idea what I’m doing.
However, over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing some free weights after my Tuesday/Thursday cycling class. It’s been fine, and I can tell that it’s working – I’ve been lifting more weight and getting more reps in. Plus, I’ve been feeling more confident about the whole lifting-weights-at-the-gym thing because after my cycling class – no one is there except the really nice old man! And he is always impressed with my skills.
The downside of lifting on those days is that my arms are always incredibly heavy on Wednesday/Friday morning swims. So this week I decided that my new routine would be to go and lift weights on Monday/Wednesday/Friday nights because it’s not like I use my arms during my cycling class on Tuesday/Thursday mornings!
So on Monday night, I planned to work on some professional development stuff for an hour, and then reward myself with a trip to the gym. I was going to do my free weights, maybe do some of the machines, and basically, just be awesome. I threw my sweats on as soon as I got home – the same sweats I would wear to the gym. I didn’t throw my sports bra on because I figured I would remember to do that.
Instead of working on my professional development tasks, I Skyped with my parents for about 45 minutes. After hemming and hawing about how I should really not be procrastinating, I said F*** it, threw my shoes in my bag, and headed to the gym. I figured by 8:30, there can’t be that many people at the gym lifting, right?
Never have I been so wrong.
I get to the gym, and remembered I didn’t put my sports bra on. Awkward #1. Not that anyone could tell, but I already feel awkward 95% of the time. I figured I’m not jumping around, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. So I walk to the downstairs rec room, and the weight area is filled with guys like this:
Like, a lot of them. My heart starts racing and I swear my arms get longer and are dragging on the ground. I walked over by the free weights, and there’s just no room. And I want to be in front of the stupid mirror. I like to look at myself in the mirror when I lift, ok? It’s kind of like having a friend who isn’t judging me for my 3 pound weights. It’s just to strengthen my back muscles, okay guys?!
I give up on trying to do free weights, and go and start to check out the machines. I’m not super familiar with them, so I started reading the instructions on the side. YES I READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. As I was looking at one machine, this guy walks up to me and I’m thinking, oh maybe he’s going to help me out? NO. He wants to use the machine. Fine. So then I escape upstairs, hoping it’s quieter up there.
Yeah, not so much. I try to do free weights, but again…was unsuccessful. Awkward, and there’s really not a good place to do them upstairs. So after about 15 minutes, I said F*** it, I had already worked out today, I’m going home and eating popcorn and my last Cadbury eggs.
But as I’m standing in the locker room, I’m filled with an overwhelming amount of shame. So I stand there for about 30 seconds, talk myself into going back out there, and went back upstairs. It’s now 9:00 at this point, there was only one other person up there, and I managed to lift for about 45 minutes. I got to use the machines, I got to read the instructions, and I wasn’t interrupted. So it ended up being a good experience, and I feel more comfortable now using the machines and lifting.
However, it is the only time I lifted this week. I didn’t go on Wednesday (I had tacos and drinks with some friends) and I definitely didn’t go Friday night (Jurassic Park in 3D!). But I only skipped one morning workout, so made it and got workouts in 4 out of the 5 days a week. I’m still not doing a good job on the weekends of going, but I’m hoping and praying that it starts getting warm out and I can just start going for bike rides or runs on Saturday and Sunday mornings. But really, I feel like if I at least get morning workouts in, then I’ve been successful for the week. And 80% is still a passing grade!
So here we are – the start of a new week, and seven days full of potential to make me feel like a dummy.