Get Over Your Fear of Free Weights

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I've enjoyed working out at home for a while now. I don't have to worry about crowds or what I look like. I don't even have to wear clothes. I did weight training at home with what we had in the house, but I wanted to lift heavier and branch out to different exercises. So after four weeks, I forced myself to enter the free weight zone at the gym. It was really hard at first. I felt like a flopping fish out of water. It took me a good two weeks of going almost every day before I started to feel more comfortable.


Image: sportsandsocial via Flickr

Get the Gear

The right gear might make you look like you know what you are doing even if you don't. MJ bought me some cute pink work out gloves. They keep blisters off my hands, and I don't have to worry about feeling like I'm damaging my wedding ring. Listening to music is motivating and gives me something else to focus on besides my nerves. A lot of guys use the pockets in their giant gym shorts to put their music source but none of my outfits have pockets. Some girls stuff it in their tank or their pants but I didn't want to worry about sweat. I needed something to keep my hands free so I tried the SPI Belt first. I like it and it's great for running, but I needed to consult my online workout program too often to make it practical. I had to keep taking my phone in and out which made me feel conspicuous. I switched over to the Minisuit Armband and now I can operate my phone right through the clear plastic, and I can angle my arm in front of me to see the screen. It's neoprene so my phone is protected, and I can sweat all over it without worry and wash it later. It makes it easy for me to switch my music up too so for me it's the much better option for working out. I also wear my Polar HRM because I like to know how many calories I burn. There is always going to be someone dressed weirdly inappropriate at the gym in jeans, chucks, or a faded polo shirt. You can't stick out any more than that!

Get a Workout Buddy

It would have made things a heck of a lot easier if MJ could have just gone along with me for a week or so until I got comfortable using the machines, but he dropped his membership a long time ago. It doesn't even have to be someone who knows their way around the gym. I saw lots of workout pairs, and I know that if I'd had a buddy, I wouldn't feel so self-conscious even if neither one of us knew what we were doing. You can figure it out together. I went with my mom over the weekend, and it was great. I wasn't as afraid to try new things and risk looking foolish. I was nervous about doing box jumps because I didn't know if I could jump on the box without falling, but with my mom there, I went for it. Then I did it last night at the gym on my own.

Get Personal Training

It's really expensive so I only did the one hour free session that's offered to everyone. During that time, I asked him about three machines I wanted to learn how to use.  It was just one more day of being out of my comfort zone around the free weights that I didn't have to do alone. A personal trainer will be right there keeping you accountable, teaching you proper form, and helping you navigate the free weight area.  Still, it just wasn't something I wanted to pay for. I knew that I was capable of figuring it out so I toughed it out on my own  But you don't have to.

Find an Online Training Program

If you know nothing about weights, you are going to feel very aimless and even more confused in the free weight area if you don't have some kind of a plan of what you are even supposed to be doing there. Having exercises in front of you will force you to get on machines you don't know and figure it out. It's too easy to run back to the cardio equipment or the basic cable machines. I went onto to find a plan so I'd know what a weight lifting workout consisted of and have something to follow. You don't have to do the whole thing. Just get an idea of what a weight lifting plan looks like. I found out how many exercises to do per workout and how the muscle groups are split up. I followed the Live Fit plan for seven weeks and have now branched out to doing my own thing.


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