By Meghan Noonan, University Recreation & Wellness, Group Fitness Instructor
Have you ever thought about wanting to start weightlifting, but you weren’t sure where to start? Will I become too bulky? What if I do something wrong? Will people make fun of me? Is it even worth it? These are all valid worries when it comes to a topic such as weightlifting that has so many misconceptions and contradictory information. Not to mention, that initial walk into the weight room greets you with the sounds of big plates being moved around with ease and the grunts of experienced lifters who look the part. However, it is important to remember that everyone has to start out somewhere. If you were looking for a sign to start lifting weights, here it is!
Let’s start with the misconceptions about weightlifting and the weight room.
“I’m afraid of getting too bulky.”
This is one of the most common fears girls have about weightlifting, and is so far from the truth. The men and women who participate in bodybuilding and have the “bulky” body type are incredible, dedicated athletes who put extraordinary time and effort into sculpting their bodies to look a certain way. They didn’t just start weightlifting one day and accidentally became shredded. Additionally, women do not have the same level of testosterone and hormones that men naturally have which causes more hypertrophy, or muscle growth. This means that weightlifting is more likely to result in greater lean muscle mass rather than the large, muscular look.
“I don’t know correct form.”
This is a valid and easily fixed concern. No one walked into a weight room, picked up a bar and performed a perfect squat without any research or instruction. Everyone starts somewhere. It helps to go in with a workout plan or split that you found online.You could also hire an affordable RecWell personal trainer or go with a friend who knows how to weightlift. RecWell also offers free weight & fitness orientations to learn more about the machines.
“I’m worried someone will judge or make fun of me.”
When people go to the gym, they are typically focused on their workout. Most people are not looking around, scoping to see who looks like they don’t know what they’re doing or how much weight everyone is using. If that were the case, they probably aren’t getting a great workout in either. When you get to the gym, do what you got to do and don’t worry about others. You came to the gym to reward your body, better your health, and improve your lifestyle. It’s about you, not anyone else.
The benefits of weightlifting greatly outweigh the fears or concerns you may have about starting. These positive outcomes include greater lean muscle mass, improved mood, reduced risk of osteoporosis and other diseases, improved self-esteem, and so much more. So now that you’re a little more informed about weightlifting, get out there and see how strong you really are!