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  1. #1
    Registered User strabarie's Avatar
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    Intimidated by MEN at the gym

    Hi everyone!

    I'm Anastasia, I am new here.

    So, I was at the gym today, and something occurred to me that I immediately thought of posting in this forum.

    I just started lifting several months ago. I am a very small person, 5'4 and 108 pounds, and 6 of those pounds I have just recently put on due to weight lifting. Basically, I am not very strong yet, but I do feel confident in my workouts, most of the time.

    So there I was today, squatting 80lbs with pain, and next to me on both sides are men, one not much taller than I am, squatting like 300lbs! And then I am doing leg curls with 20lbs and then after me that same guy gets on and puts 4 45lb plates on and then keeps adding 10b plates. And so on.

    I understand that I am small and I am pretty new to lifting, while they are twice my size and weight and have more experience (although this particular guy was very short and not very big, probably in his 40s). I can not help but feel intimidated at the gym. I am usually the only girl there lifting, surrounded by men. I know I should not be intimidated or even care what others are doing and just focus on my workout, but I just can't help but to think that maybe I am supposed to be lifting more? Am I generally weak, even for a girl? I really do push myself, but I just want to know from other ladies on here, if you don't mind, what weight have you started on (any exercise) and how you made big progress... I know it takes time, but it would definitely help hearing other women's advice.

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Banned Ion26's Avatar
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    Don't be intimidated. Trust me no one is paying attention to how much weight you are lifting. If they're staring at you, its because they're checking you out (srs). Most women start exactly from where you are at now, but with the right diet, exercise routine, and consistency you'll literally get stronger every workout. Especially, since you are a beginner you'll build up muscle and strength very quickly in the 1st year of training.
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    Registered User ReClassify's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ion26 View Post
    Don't be intimidated. Trust me no one is paying attention to how much weight you are lifting. If they're staring at you, its because they're checking you out (srs). Most women start exactly from where you are at now, but with the right diet, exercise routine, and consistency you'll literally get stronger every workout. Especially, since you are a beginner you'll build up muscle and strength very quickly in the 1st year of training.

    ^ this
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    Hi strabarie,
    I do not really have the knowledge about what is "weak" for a girl, and probably Ion26 is right.
    I am the opposite of you I am 5'10 and way over 300lbs. When I started with specific muscle training I went from 20lbs to 80lbs within less than 4 weeks, with 4 sets each 15 reps (all on the leg curl machine), later 120lbs. But I am a strong woman anyway. Under all this fat are huge muscles, which makes me lose weight quite nicely. If I wouldn't eat too much .....
    One other reason why I believe I can pump that much weight quite quickly without any damage is probably that my legs are used to carry so much weight all day long.

    Anyway, do not feel intimidated by those guys, keep in mind they did not start with 180lbs either. Some of them might have started where you are now as well with 20lbs doing leg curls. Just keep up the work.

    And if this is how you look (profil pic) I am sure they are soooo glad that you stick around and doing your weight training, improving and changing. You must be such a nice breeze of fresh air amongst all those guys.
    "Your time is limited. Don't waste it living someone else's life."
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  5. #5
    Oh, yes!! lynore's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ion26 View Post
    Don't be intimidated. Trust me no one is paying attention to how much weight you are lifting. If they're staring at you, its because they're checking you out (srs). Most women start exactly from where you are at now, but with the right diet, exercise routine, and consistency you'll literally get stronger every workout. Especially, since you are a beginner you'll build up muscle and strength very quickly in the 1st year of training.
    Perfect advice ^^^^. At first, everyone is uncomfortable in the gym and feels intimidated. I find wearing headphones helps to tune everyone else out. I'm sure it won't be long before someone offers to help you along and from there you will find your groove. Remember: everyone has a first day in the gym.
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  6. #6
    Do I even lift?!? megdaig's Avatar
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    Everyone is built a bit differently so naturally our abilities to gain muscle/size and strength will vary. And us ladies are terribly disadvantaged compared to the men...stupid hormones.

    Like mentioned above, no one is really paying attention to what you lift. I find more guys "stare" at the women in the gym because they actually appreciate the work that they're doing. I don't find guys staring at that 100# chick wearing full sweats on the elliptical for 1 hour+ saying "dude...how awesome is that". Unless of course they're pervs and staring at her azz.

    Strong for you is strong. Like Lynore said, we all have a day 1. I remember starting with the bar on everything. Give it time.
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  7. #7
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    in soviet russia weight lifts you
    -if you can focus on people around you you're not training hard enough
    -if they didnt say anything to you i dont see the problem
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    Use this "intimidation" as your motivation to put another 5lbs on... another 10lbs.. etc. You are new so your gains will generally be more impressive than someone lifting for a while. Don't be afraid to increase your weights... but don't do it to the point where you hurt yourself. If you're struggling for those last couple of reps then you're doing it right and everyone looking is approving ;-)
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by strabarie View Post
    Hi everyone!

    I'm Anastasia, I am new here.

    So, I was at the gym today, and something occurred to me that I immediately thought of posting in this forum.

    I just started lifting several months ago. I am a very small person, 5'4 and 108 pounds, and 6 of those pounds I have just recently put on due to weight lifting. Basically, I am not very strong yet, but I do feel confident in my workouts, most of the time.

    So there I was today, squatting 80lbs with pain, and next to me on both sides are men, one not much taller than I am, squatting like 300lbs! And then I am doing leg curls with 20lbs and then after me that same guy gets on and puts 4 45lb plates on and then keeps adding 10b plates. And so on.

    I understand that I am small and I am pretty new to lifting, while they are twice my size and weight and have more experience (although this particular guy was very short and not very big, probably in his 40s). I can not help but feel intimidated at the gym. I am usually the only girl there lifting, surrounded by men. I know I should not be intimidated or even care what others are doing and just focus on my workout, but I just can't help but to think that maybe I am supposed to be lifting more? Am I generally weak, even for a girl? I really do push myself, but I just want to know from other ladies on here, if you don't mind, what weight have you started on (any exercise) and how you made big progress... I know it takes time, but it would definitely help hearing other women's advice.

    Thanks
    Don't be intimidated, those guys have probably been lifting for a long period of time and built that strength up over the years! It takes time to do that but if you are consistent with your lifting and go up each week or few weeks, have your diet in check, and stay motivated, you will get stronger and more developed. Used to (about 2 1/2 years ago) I could barely deadlift 70 lbs and I made a PR earlier this year and did 305. I used to be insanely weak and could not shoulder press 10 lb dumbbells and now I can do 40's for around 5 reps. You will improve. when you look at how far you've come in a fitness journey, you feel proud at how much improvement is made. Everyone feels a bit intimidated at first but once you start going consistently, those men may be intimidated by you! You got this!
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  10. #10
    Registered User igsm1969's Avatar
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    Everyone has to start somewhere! You just keep working on you and don't let anyone else discourage you! I think that every gym has someone who looks a bit intimidating, but just brush them off. I was 460 lbs at my highest known weight....when I got down to 430, I walked daily before joining a gym in a very public place where I am still surprised no one heckled me. Then when I joined a gym 6 weeks after starting to walk, I was 395 lbs, and talk about feeling out of place! But I stuck with it that four years ago, and here I am, stronger than ever....and I escaped morbid obesity! Just remind yourself anytime you are feeling intimidated that you are doing this for yourself and it does not matter what others think! Keep up the good work!

    Originally Posted by strabarie View Post
    Hi everyone!

    I'm Anastasia, I am new here.

    So, I was at the gym today, and something occurred to me that I immediately thought of posting in this forum.

    I just started lifting several months ago. I am a very small person, 5'4 and 108 pounds, and 6 of those pounds I have just recently put on due to weight lifting. Basically, I am not very strong yet, but I do feel confident in my workouts, most of the time.

    So there I was today, squatting 80lbs with pain, and next to me on both sides are men, one not much taller than I am, squatting like 300lbs! And then I am doing leg curls with 20lbs and then after me that same guy gets on and puts 4 45lb plates on and then keeps adding 10b plates. And so on.

    I understand that I am small and I am pretty new to lifting, while they are twice my size and weight and have more experience (although this particular guy was very short and not very big, probably in his 40s). I can not help but feel intimidated at the gym. I am usually the only girl there lifting, surrounded by men. I know I should not be intimidated or even care what others are doing and just focus on my workout, but I just can't help but to think that maybe I am supposed to be lifting more? Am I generally weak, even for a girl? I really do push myself, but I just want to know from other ladies on here, if you don't mind, what weight have you started on (any exercise) and how you made big progress... I know it takes time, but it would definitely help hearing other women's advice.

    Thanks
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  11. #11
    Registered User lssanchez's Avatar
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    Don't be intimidated. Men (and women) look out of curiosity. Some people look when they should be focusing on their own work. About 30lbs ago I felt intimidated when I could only squat the bar and people looked. Now I squat 225lbs and people still look. I just put my headset on, play my music loud and pretend I'm alone! Everything happens in due time. You will increase the plates when YOU are ready. For me it is never about measuring myself against someone else. Good luck!
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by lssanchez View Post
    Don't be intimidated. Men (and women) look out of curiosity. Some people look when they should be focusing on their own work. About 30lbs ago I felt intimidated when I could only squat the bar and people looked. Now I squat 225lbs and people still look. I just put my headset on, play my music loud and pretend I'm alone! Everything happens in due time. You will increase the plates when YOU are ready. For me it is never about measuring myself against someone else. Good luck!
    in for video of 225x10 squat, 125x12 bench and ohp 125x10.
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  13. #13
    Hey man KenyonDonaldson's Avatar
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    They are probably showing off to you
    Having a girl close by can be quite motivating. Don't be intimidated all guys like seeing a girl around at the gym and none of them give a rats ass about how much your lifting.
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  14. #14
    Registered User NvrBSkinnyAgain's Avatar
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    They are checking you out guaranteed. We try not to do it but it can't not be done. Sorry about that.
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  15. #15
    Registered User kellylien's Avatar
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    What makes me feel better at the gym is thinking in terms of body weight % lifted, not how much weight it is. I bench 135x8, so theoretically my one rep max is around 165. I only weigh 127, so I'm lifting roughly 130% of my weight... when I see a big guy benching 225, I think, "Damn, wish I could do that." But then I estimate his weight to be around 200ish, and realise he's at 140%.. so I'm pretty damn close!

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    Yup, I always think in terms of % of bodyweight lifted. It's the only way to compare to others if that's your interest.
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  17. #17
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    Thank you everyone for replying! I'm glad to see that everyone starts low! I just need to be more confident in my workouts, and I am in most exercises, but certain ones like Squats for example, or bench press, I guess I'm just scared to hurt myself without anyone spotting me...

    Originally Posted by kellylien View Post
    What makes me feel better at the gym is thinking in terms of body weight % lifted, not how much weight it is. I bench 135x8, so theoretically my one rep max is around 165. I only weigh 127, so I'm lifting roughly 130% of my weight... when I see a big guy benching 225, I think, "Damn, wish I could do that." But then I estimate his weight to be around 200ish, and realise he's at 140%.. so I'm pretty damn close!

    Yeah, I thought about that too... But I feel like what I lift is a lot less even in percentage than other people in the gym.. But from posts above I understand I just lack the experience others might have. I guess I just really want to get to the point where I am the intimidating one. :P
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    I feel the same strabarie! In fact one of the reasons I started training in the morning was so that the gym was quieter with less guys. I am the only chick in the weights room in the morning. The regulars are used to me now. Occasionally someone new comes in but I'm feeling more confident now because I'm getting gains. I was pretty pound of myself the otherday when I did a 100kg (220 pounds) less press. Then my other half started training someone a guy that has never done weights before and they cranked out 120kg first session. I must admit I felt a little deflated but I am trying to focus on my own improvements rather than to compare to someone else. I'm squatting about the same as you....
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    You are new and need to start somewhere. Be proud of the fact you are in the gym and making yourself get in better shape! If they look don't worry. Just be you and do what you need to and make gains. You can do it! Keep up the great work!
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    Trust me, they're more intimidated by how pretty you are than you are of how much more they're lifting. If guys are looking at you they're either checking you out or admiring the fact that you're actually lifting instead of trying to look cute while you run on a treadmill.

    I practice martial arts and only did body weight exercises until recently. I fractured my femur a few months ago, so add that on top of starting to lift for the first time and I know just what it's like to feel like you're not lifting as much as you think you should be. Everybody has to start somewhere so don't feel bad about it.

    Also, first post.
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  21. #21
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    Join a women's only gym?
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  22. #22
    Dyslexic Superhero InhudibleCrelk's Avatar
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    the weight a woman is using when training is secondary to anything i notice.
    if she's training i'm looking for 2 reasons... 1. if she's hot (let's be honest) and 2. is she doing it right.

    i don't care what "weight" she's lifting, more so that she's got good form and working hard.
    ... now if it happens to be a good amount of weight it's definitely eye catching but i've never saw a woman training and thought "she's lifting too light". plus you never know what point in training a person is at. It could be your first week or your tenth year... there's all types of variables. injuries, recovering from illness, etc.

    work hard and do you, the respect comes with it, and that insecurity will fade out. you've got this.
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  23. #23
    Bicep of Peace Aaronza's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by InhudibleCrelk View Post
    the weight a woman is using when training is secondary to anything i notice.
    if she's training i'm looking for 2 reasons... 1. if she's hot (let's be honest) and 2. is she doing it right.

    i don't care what "weight" she's lifting, more so that she's got good form and working hard.
    ... now if it happens to be a good amount of weight it's definitely eye catching but i've never saw a woman training and thought "she's lifting too light". plus you never know what point in training a person is at. It could be your first week or your tenth year... there's all types of variables. injuries, recovering from illness, etc.

    work hard and do you, the respect comes with it, and that insecurity will fade out. you've got this.
    dis.
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  24. #24
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    intimidated by a manlet squatting only 300 lbs?

    plis he was probably squatting 1/4 reps trying to show off his 18" quads.

    He was probably more frightened than you were.
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    TBH, the only people I've ever seen at the gym who think weight is ultra-important and try to impress people with it are 15-18 year old manlets. Some of the biggest guys I've seen at the gym use small to medium weight on many of their sets.



    Oh, and if guys are staring at you, it's not because of the amount of weight you are lifting. Just saying.
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  26. #26
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    Good responses.

    At my gym alot of the people know each other in general so at any given moment you'll here "whats up man" followed with a power tap or man shake. For the women it's "Heyy so and so" followed by a hug or "girl tap".
    The point to this is everyone just does their own thing and I dont really notice the level of weight each person does. Just remember, at the end of the day its YOUR body and YOUR responsibility for how it will turn out so dont worry or let people get to you where your workouts are in jeopardy.
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    Originally Posted by DHFX View Post
    Good responses.

    At my gym alot of the people know each other in general so at any given moment you'll here "whats up man" followed with a power tap or man shake. For the women it's "Heyy so and so" followed by a hug or "girl tap".
    The point to this is everyone just does their own thing and I dont really notice the level of weight each person does. Just remember, at the end of the day its YOUR body and YOUR responsibility for how it will turn out so dont worry or let people get to you where your workouts are in jeopardy.
    What is a 'girl tap'?!
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  28. #28
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    Originally Posted by Guevesa View Post
    Trust me, they're more intimidated by how pretty you are than you are of how much more they're lifting. If guys are looking at you they're either checking you out or admiring the fact that you're actually lifting instead of trying to look cute while you run on a treadmill.

    I practice martial arts and only did body weight exercises until recently. I fractured my femur a few months ago, so add that on top of starting to lift for the first time and I know just what it's like to feel like you're not lifting as much as you think you should be. Everybody has to start somewhere so don't feel bad about it.

    Also, first post.
    Originally Posted by Botika View Post
    I feel the same strabarie! In fact one of the reasons I started training in the morning was so that the gym was quieter with less guys. I am the only chick in the weights room in the morning. The regulars are used to me now. Occasionally someone new comes in but I'm feeling more confident now because I'm getting gains. I was pretty pound of myself the otherday when I did a 100kg (220 pounds) less press. Then my other half started training someone a guy that has never done weights before and they cranked out 120kg first session. I must admit I felt a little deflated but I am trying to focus on my own improvements rather than to compare to someone else. I'm squatting about the same as you....
    This is great! I AM seeing major improvements... Even though I can only lift so and so now, 2 months ago I barely could do half of that.... I know I am working the hardest I can, and that is satisfying. I guess maybe guys do stare just because I am the only other girl at the gym...? But many of them are older men so it's kind of creepy if the case is they are checking me out. :/ It is also on certain days I feel insecure... Like my legs day and my shoulders/tris day because those are pretty weak in comparison to what others are lifting. But some days I feel better because I can handle heavier weight. Even though guys are using like 150lbs dumbbells for press I only use 20 but they are pretty big in size so it makes me feel more confident. ))
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    Never intimidated at the gym. Advice for you, don't feel intimidated
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    Instead of looking around and see what everyone is doing, put your headphones in your ears and concentate on your lifting. Guys, girls everyone is spending to much time looking around when they should be lifting... I don't pay attention to anybody, because my gym time is my time.
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