It’s Ok to train like a man…
We’ve all seen her. The woman that is walking out of the gym having completed a workout and she’s pristine. I’m talking about her hair still cascading down her back in waves or curls and a full face of make-up and not a single speck of sweat anywhere. Really? Showing up at the gym to be seen in cute spandex is not a method of training, that is a social gathering. When anyone shows up at the gym, male or female, it is time to go to work. The gym is about exerting effort and earning the physique that is desired. Why is it that more men have taken time to learn the art of bodybuilding? How come a woman sees it more acceptable for a man to fully exert himself at the gym but not ok for her? It’s time that women learn a few things from men…
I remember the first time I stepped into a gym after college when the sports, classes, coaches, boyfriends and all other structure I otherwise had in the gym was gone. I had just broken up with my college boyfriend, my job went out of business and I was newly healed from my wisdom teeth being pulled. Seeing as I was single, swollen and had nothing better to do, I went to the gym. Walking in I smelled the sweat, heard the familiar sounds of weights being dropped, saw the elliptical and took off in a damn near sprint for it! This is because I realized I had no clue what I was doing. Not to say I was completely inept in the gym – I knew how to squat, bench and most fundamentals from being involved in sports and enjoying being active – but, I had no idea how to put a workout together.
I always had coaches telling me what they wanted or boyfriends making me train whatever they were doing. I had never gone to the gym by myself and said, “I’m going to lift today!” Well today was that day and I had a true rude awakening. Why hadn’t I taken notice of what my coaches asked of me? You know, really looked at the entirety of the workout and tried to appreciate what they were designing for me to achieve a certain goal. I should have asked more questions about methodology, rational and learned why I was training in the manner I was. Same concept applies, showing up to the gym is not enough when random exercises are performed in hopes the goal will be achieved. A goal without a plan is called a dream.
Ladies, let’s try to be less dreamers and more achievers. Pick a goal – Big Booty Gains in 2017 – and know exactly how you want to get there. Speak with as many people as possible, ask professionals questions, hire a quality trainer, look on YouTube, read articles, blogs and books. LEARN! Learn which methods give the best results you want, try different methods, walk into a gym with confidence knowing exactly what you will be doing and how hard you are willing to work to get there.
BE AN ATHLETE
I was never allowed to walk away from practice without having been physically exhausted – regardless of the sport. Subpar effort was unacceptable. May I ask, why is it deemed ok to walk out of the gym without sweating? The workout at the gym should be treated like the practice we used to have for athletics. Maximum effort possible should be exerted every day. That’s not to say that some days will be better than others; and, you might be really feeling it one day and not so much another. What shall remain consistent is the effort expenditure should be in line with the attitude of ‘all in, all the time,’ regardless of how much there is to give.
Women should demand excellence from themselves and require progress. One key attribute that has helped me to achieve fitness goals was keeping a log book of my workouts. When I rolled up to the gym with my log book, I didn’t run for the cardio machines any longer. I calmly walked over to the squat rack. Ahead of time, I would write in the book what to train, how many reps, the weights and number of sets…I’d even write down what kind and how long to do cardio for! This book I began to refer to as my bible. Although slightly compulsive, the book gave me a very clear picture of exactly what I had been doing, what I will be doing, what has worked for me and what I was going to try next. Progress in the gym take time and it’s easy to get lost in the thick of it. To avoid feeling like progress is too slow and painstaking, I’d review my book. Believe it or not, the book helps remind where you came from and how far you have gotten. When using the log book, it is easy to pinpoint what is yielding results and what isn’t. And, it helps inspire new workouts when I have writers block! What was done before helps inspire new challenges and workouts for myself.
BUT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
When scanning the horizon around a random corporate run gym, the group fitness classes are mainly filled with women; and, there are the few brave men, very secure with their sexuality, in the back row of the salsa aerobics class. It is time to expand horizons. To achieve goals faster, it is essential to do workouts and training be specifically designed to achieve your individual goals. Ask other women questions, talk and have fun while at the gym. I can almost guarantee another lady there is trying to achieve a Brazilian booty too! Inspire and motivate each other, don’t be in competition. However, if you are on the shyer side, then hire a trainer to only train you. One-on-one workouts with a quality trainer will teach a huge amount to a woman trying to achieve fitness goals and possibly help her push herself past what she thought possible. Similarly, smaller groups, such as one or two women training together, can make workouts more fun and still have the training achieve the specific goals you all seek. HIIT cardio and super sets can easily be done with two, three or even four women together. Alternate planning the workouts amongst the training partners and be sure to train all muscle groups. The point of ‘small group fitness’ is to make the process of starting to train alone easier with the ideas of multiple people and feel less overwhelming.
Ultimately, it should be a goal to feel confident as you walk into a gym. It should be refreshing to feel the sweat dripping down your cheeks and the physical exhaustion of a completed workout. However, a sense of accomplishment and determination should never be fully satisfied. Constantly strive for greatness, if for no other reason, then to challenge yourself. Be in the know constantly, ask professionals for advice, work with experienced trainers and take yourself out of your comfort zone (aka out of group fitness). Keep track of what you have been doing with a log book, make adjustments when needed and never stop because bodybuilding is not a sport to be conquered.
By: Samantha DiSabello