(Another) UPDATE: Women Who Lift Heavy Unite!

I’ll be honest – it’s been a while since I set foot in a gym. Of course, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working out, I’ve just be doing it at home. Since my husband bought me some cute workout clothes for Christmas, I decided I should put them to use and go to the gym. (When I work out at home, I’m usually in some Felix the Cat boxers and an over-sized t-shirt from some work event that I would never be caught wearing in public.)

So I get to the gym, change by my usual locker, and head down to the women’s fitness area. I’m doing the 15-minute workouts, which consist of a very quick circuit with very limited rest. So I need everything within close vicinity and easy to access. As you might recall from my original Women Who Lift Heavy UNITE! post and the first update to this saga, the main workout floor is usually overflowing with testosterone-laden Arnold-wannabes.  And everything is so spread out and machines are high in demand, it’s just a pain to hog a bunch of weights AND a machine for my circuit.  So I go to the women’s fitness area which is much less crowded and circuit-friendly.

<a href=
Umm, what am I supposed to do with these tiny weights? (photo credit:rick's old photos)

I get to the women’s fitness area, reserve myself a bench, and head over to the weight rack. Hmmm…5’s, 10’s, 15’s, 20’s…20’s…20’s…Where did my 30’s and 40’s go?

THEY’RE GONE! [dun dun DUUUNNNNN]

Oh, young trainer behind the fitness desk, you’ve failed me!  Two months ago when I asked you to kindly put heavier weights in the women’s fitness area, you made every effort to fulfill my request, leading me to believe that you understood my plight!  And now, behold, you’ve receded into the unforsaken mindset that women wouldn’t lift anything more than 20 pounds. 

<Insert unnamed health club here> has officially lost the brownie points they earned with me.

I don’t know what’s more upsetting: 1) that they realized that no one was using them in my absence so decided to remove them because they don’t believe they should enable women to lift heavy, or 2) that no one else was using them.

Either way, I turned around, threw my towel over my shoulder, and left the women’s fitness area in disgust.  If that young trainer were standing in front of me, he would have gotten a sharp ponytail wisp in the face.

I made my way down to the big workout floor, past the women on the ellipticals and stairmasters, and joined the men in their evening ritual of grunting and iron pumping.  The two other women in the room were quietly pushing through their sets amidst the macho-fest surrounding them.

Stand proud, sisters.  Stand proud.

<a href=
photo credit: Pranav Singh
Advertisements

Time to Change It Up and Get My 15 Minutes of Fitness

15-minutes

Whew!  Just got done working out.  That was one of the toughest 15 minutes I’ve ever lived through.

I’m starting a new program by who else – my husband.  (Why would I train with anyone else?)  It’s merely 15 minutes.  But let me tell you, it’s a tough 15 minutes.  He’s big on getting fit without spending hours in the gym.  He’s always told me that you should never have to spend more than an hour there.  My average workout time is around half an hour – 45 minutes if I throw in some cardio intervals.  One hour max when I do his Saturday morning fitcamps.

But this time, I’m getting it done in 15 minutes, and at home nonetheless.  Although I do need to go to the gym once in a while to sport my cute new workout clothes.  My husband got me a really cute jacket from Lululemon and some reversible workout pants for Christmas.  Yes! 2 in 1!(Yes, I’m one of THOSE people…you know, the ones who wear color-coordinated outfits to the gym.  But I DON”T put on makeup to go to the gym, unlike some people I know.  That’s just ridiculous if you ask me.) 

Anyway, today we used resistance bands connected to the door and a sandbag.  That’s it – nothing fancy.  Who said you need fancy equipment to get fit?  He has a couple “quick fix” workouts posted on his website, http://www.element5fitness.com.  Scroll about halfway down, and they’re posted on the right-hand side.

I’m also putting more focus on my nutrition again.  (Yes, during the holidays I did let myself indulge a little bit.)  One of my goals for this year is to educate myself more on nutrition for healthy living.  I want to combine one of my passions – yummy food – with eating in a way that supports a healthy, fit lifestyle without sacrificing the God-given gift of taste and occasional, planned indulgence (i.e. indulgence that doesn’t take advantage of an undisciplined mind).  Who says you can’t have it all? 🙂

I’d love to hear from you if you’re changing things up with the New Year as well!  There’s nothing like change to get you motivated and moving again!

UPDATE: Women who lift heavy UNITE!

Surprisingly enough, I actually got a response to my inquiry about putting heavier weights in the women’s area at my gym.  (Read about it here.)  Only two days after I received the email from the nice, young personal trainer I spoke to saying they’d “definitely consider it,” I got an email from his manager indicating they were going to put in heavier weights that same day!  And they did! [Insert Hallelujah Chorus here.]

Granted, they only added a set of 25’s and a set of 30’s – way short of the 50-60 pounders I asked them to incorporate into their dumbbell ensemble – this is progress.  They’re supposedly looking into incoporating up to 50 pounds by way of Power Block dumbells.

So they still have yet to follow through completely on their word.  Hopefully they don’t disappoint me. 

I was in there today using the 25’s, and it’s not far off that I’ll need to upgrade to using the 30’s.  Pretty soon I’ll need those 35’s or 40’s.  (Not to mention that I already need those and heavier for single dumbbell squats (aka plie squats), but I’ve been avoiding doing those because of the lack of appropriate hardware.)

So yet again, I will keep you posted.  At least I got a response that indicates they acknowledge there’s a need for heavier weights in the women’s area.  I hope I’m not the only one using them!

Women who lift heavy UNITE!

I work out at a pretty huge gym.  It’s actually more like a health club.  They have raquetball, tennis courts, a spa/salon, a restaurant, a pool, fancy locker rooms, etc.  They also have a small area that is restricted to women’s use only.

Don’t get me wrong.  I actually like working out.  But that wasn’t always the case.  I used to get nauseous at the thought of going to the gym.  Not only because it just seemed like too much effort to put some workout clothes on, drive to the gym, and expend way more energy on a treadmill or doing squats than sitting on the couch watching reruns of Friends, but also because it was actually a daunting experience.

I think now I can say I somewhat know what I’m doing when I’m at the gym.  But when I first started working out, I was really self-conscious about it.  Firstly, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was sure it was obvious to everyone around me.  Secondly, all those guys on the weight machines, grunting and flexing in the mirror, while scrawny, petite me had to completely remove the pin on the row machine because even the lightest weight was too heavy. 

And while I was in college, I was self-conscious around men in general, let alone while suggestively raising my hips off the ground to do lying butt bridges.  And honestly, I still am slightly self-conscious about these things.

Fitness institutions such as Curves were established for this very reason.  They understand that testosterone-laden gyms may not be the best environment for women who are not figure competitors to begin their journeys towards their fitness goals. 

And this is the reason behind the area at my gym that is women only.  Sometimes I workout in the big, crowded weight room, filled with Arnold-wannabe’s.  But sometimes I want to work out in an environment where I feel comfortable and where I don’t have to put myself on a waitlist for the 30-pounders.  Only problem is, the dumbells in the women’s area only go up to 20 pounds.

Back in my college days, that may have been good enough.  But now that I’ve gotten stronger, I need to lift heavier.  It’s like the big-wigs at the fancy gym think that women who are able to lift more than 20 pounds are advanced enough that they shouldn’t be self-conscious about working out among the men.

(This could potentially get into the whole “I’m afraid I’ll look like a man if I lift more than 8 pounds” conversation, but I’ll save that for another day.)

I don’t know about you, but I feel it’s discriminatory and somewhat hypocritical that this gym would force me out of the women’s area because I start getting stronger.  Isn’t that something the gym big-wigs should support?  I can see how this would deter some women from continuing to pursue their fitness goals: They start seeing results, get stronger, start needing to lift heavier weights, but then stop progressing because they continue to lift 20 pounds because they don’t want to leave the women’s area.

Anyway, so I approached the nice, young man behind the personal trainer’s desk and asked him if they’ve ever considered putting heavier weights in the women’s area.  The answer was “no.”  But he did talk to his supervisor and emailed me asking what weights I would like introduced.  It’s something they’ll “definitely consider.”

Good sign.  I’ll let you know what happens.

Like/hate what you read?  Can you relate?  Have a reaction?  Add a comment below!