I was recently taught how to use free weights. It really does feel like a better workout than using the machines. You use so many muscles making microscopic shifts to keep balance and posture rather than sitting in a machine that just restricts and focuses your workout to a couple of specific muscles. I’ve already noticed a few things in a short period of time… For example: I get big packs of water – usually lifting with two hands and thinking they are heavy… now I just reach down and get a big pack with one hand, and it doesn’t feel heavy. (I think to myself that feels kind of like a 5-pound weight – or maybe a 10… LOL).
I have never previously gone to that area of the gym – in this one or any other gym. It felt… “off limits” or like I would be an intruder in a private male club of some kind. But… a guy went with me several days in a row to teach me how to use them – so I had a pass because he was there. And one day, I did see a woman in that area… so sometimes it happens. I guess I am allowed. I noticed that men feel entitled to take up space anywhere. How did I learn that it is not okay for me?
My middle daughter came by on her way home from a board meeting last week and I told her about free weights. What is the best way to really know something new? Teach it to others – LOL. We belong to the same gym franchise but different locations, so I told her when I came up to help Ed, I would show her how to use them. Last night we went…The first words she said? “Are we allowed over there?” Geeze – she feels it too! I told her “Of course we are. We pay the same monthly fee as the guys that are working out there.”
She felt uncomfortable at first. She wanted to take weights around the corner near some machines that weren’t being used… after a while I told her we needed a bench for the rest of the things I wanted to show her. She felt so awkward about that at first… I reminded her “We are allowed to take up space here. We are working out too.” She felt guilty taking a bench a man might need for his workout. Did I teach her not to take up space or did society? We both unapologetically (mostly) take up space in male dominated jobs… but we aren’t allowed to take up space at the gym? It makes no sense! By the end of our workout, she was feeling much better about it. And mentioned she was glad we didn’t need to strut and pace between sets like the guys – she had said she thought that might be a required part of it – LOL.
Tonight, at the gym I felt it again… like somehow, I don’t belong in this part of the gym… not welcome… an imposter of some kind. Where does this come from? I am determined that I will keep fighting this feeling and learn to feel at home in this area of the room. I am liking the workout. I will go with my daughter at her gym again tomorrow night to show her another group of free weight moves, and I will need to be extra confident we belong on those benches – so she will feel confident.
I need to help her with the breathing more too… are women the only ones who have the urge to hold their breath?
I kind of wish there were private cubicles – LOL.