Friday, June 17, 2011

How I Got Over My Fear of Lifting

Happy FRIDAY!!
Haha I totally wish cats could dance like that :)

My workout this morning was a total body weights one. It looked like this:

Total Body Weights Workout
  • Walking lunges 3 x 15reps
  • Leg press 3 x 15 reps
  • Calf raises 3 x 12 reps
  • Hamstring curls 3 x 15 reps
  • Butt raises on the ball 3 x 10 reps each side (see picture below)
  • Push-ups (regular) 3 x 12 reps
  • Lat pull downs 3 x 12 reps
  • Tricep extensions 3 x 12 reps
  • Seated chest flies 3 x 15 reps
  • Hammer curls 3 x 12 reps
  • Shoulder press 3 x 12 reps
  • Assisted pull-ups 3 x 10 reps
  • Oblique side-bends 2 x 15 reps each side
  • Weighted crunches 2 x 15 reps
  • Regular crunches 2 x 25 reps
  • Plank on the ball with knee raises to chest 2 x 10 reps each side

I LOVE a good strength workout...the fatigue that I feel at the end is awesome- I can truly tell that I worked hard :)

For lunch today I tried something different- and it turned out delicious! Usually I just have a sandwich but when I was at the grocery store a few days ago I got this:
I am not vegetarian or vegan - I love meat wayyy too much - but I recently tried falafel and I loved it! So, I made a serving of the falafel according to the broiler instructions and made a wrap:
In the mix:
Whole wheat wrap
Roasted red pepper hummus
Cucumber slices
Red pepper slices
Falafel patties

This was yummy, but a little messy..totally worth it though! I will definitely be making this again :)

How I got over my fear of lifting weights:

While I was lifting this morning, I thought it would be a good idea to share how I got over my fear of strength training. Up until a few years ago I was a cardio-only kinda gal. I think the reasons I never lifted weights were:

One. I was afraid of the meatheads in the weight room. All that grunting, incessant staring in the mirror, and walking around like they owned the place kind of freaked me out. 
Don't mess with my dumbbells biatch!
Two. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Zilch. I danced and cheered in high school and thus never had the opportunity to lift weights with my "team" like other sport participants did.

Three. I totally believed that lifting weights would make me look like the guy above. Ok, maybe not like him, but I thought that I would get big. I do not naturally have bird-like arms and legs so I didn't want to increase their size anymore.

So how did I get over this and come to love lifting?

Well, the summer after my freshman year of college, my mom and I decided to join an all-women's gym in my hometown. We both needed a place to exercise and were kind of tired of going to our community center. The day we signed up, the owner took us through all of the weight machines. She showed us how to do everything and worked with us to determine what weight would be best to use.

This was awesome for me! I did not feel intimidated one bit because there were only ladies walking around, AND I was given instructions on how to do it. That summer, I consistently weight trained at the gym- but I only stuck with machines because that was all I knew how to do. However, once I went back to school in the fall, I was once again not sure about stepping foot in the weight room with all of the guys. Instead, I started going to total body toning weight classes.
These were awesome, and man oh man did feel so sore the day after one of them. Not only was I getting to lift weights, but again, only females attended these classes. Also, I was learning new ways to lift considering that only free-weights, stability balls, and exercise bands were used. An added bonus was that the instructor would tell you ways to correctly perform the movements- this was definitely helpful!

Later that semester, a good friend asked me to go lift with her. I figured, why not? - I'll have someone else with me so I won't feel stupid with all the men down there. I'm not gonna lie, I was still really intimidated, but I felt better doing it because I had a partner in crime. After working out with her multiple times, I finally decided to go in the weight room by myself. Eeek!

That first time, I have never felt so insecure in a gym in my life. I think my heart was racing the whole time- and not because I was exercising. I constantly felt like I was being watched and judged. I remember expressing my insecurities to my boyfriend - he said that I really didn't need to worry because the guys were either completely into themselves (and only looking at their own biceps), or if they were looking at me it was likely due to the fact that it still isn't totally common to see women lifting weights (other than using the inner thigh machine). He also told me that if I was confident in what I was doing or at least acted confident, then no one would really even notice me- being scared and glancing around to see if people were looking at me would probably attract more attention. This totally clicked for me! 

So, after that, I kept making myself go to my school's weight room and sure enough I did become more comfortable and my confidence definitely grew. I got so comfortable, in fact, that by the time I graduated I was totally fine going there and doing crazy plyometric type moves - who am I?

Now, I lift consistently and I love it! I think it is such a great form of exercise and I have come to love the muscles I have developed. No, I have not gotten huge like I thought I would. I like to think that I look strong :). I'm always looking for new ways to lift weights or find new strength training exercises- I scour magazines, websites, and other blogs. It was a process to be able to feel comfortable in the weight room, but it was totally worth it!

In sum, these are the things I did to get over my fear:

-I had someone teach me how to use the weight machines, and I wasn't afraid to ask if I couldn't remember
-I started the process in an all female gym
-When I didn't want to go to a gym with guys, I attended group fitness classes so I could learn correct form and new moves with free weights
-I worked out with a friend for a while in the actual weight room so that I wasn't alone
-Once I realized that people were more likely to watch themselves than me, I became more comfortable and confident doing my own thing :)
-I now read about new (to me anyway) exercises online, in magazines, and on blogs- also, these often tell you how to do them! SCORE!

This website has great descriptions and photos of certain exercises:
Exercise and Muscle Directory

Hope everyone has a great Friday!


  1. I love falafel but havent found an at home mix I like. I'll have to keep my eyes out for that one.

  2. Those are fun photos of the plyo--love the clappin' one the most! I have always loved to lift and hated cardio.. it's good that you have a passion for strength training! More muscle means you can eat more food.. fine by me :) Thanks for swinging by meals & moves.. hope you have a great weekend, girl!

  3. Mmm, falafel is just delicious. Now you have me craving some! :)

    I hope you have a beautiful weekend, friend.

  4. Hope you girls have amazing weekends too!

  5. I love plyo moves. I was in the same boat as you when it came to lifting...I always thought it was going to make me look bulky. I want to get back more into lifting...I recently have been doing more running and I have noticed my butt is more flabby..need to bump up those lunges.

  6. I remember when I got over my fear of lifting on my own in college as's great once you get past that hurtle and focus on your workout and not what others think. Lifting is awesome! Glad you have found a love for it :)