What do you actually do in a gym? What are the mysterious rules and is there a code of conduct?
One of the recurring things I hear from women is that they don’t know what to do in a weight room, so it puts them off. Learning to use the equipment is only one part of it. Knowing how to act, where to go and what the right thing to do is a huge part of being comfortable in the environment.
When I first started weight training, I was as blind as a bat, so I wasn’t particularly threatened by what was going on around me. It was all just colour and movement anyway. There was a 140kg powerlifter who screamed, “Get out of my fucking mirror”, at me once. Once was enough! No one has ever had to say that to me again.
What really prompted this is I was training a male client the other day and asked a girl if we could work in with her on a piece of equipment. She’d only just started and she scuttled away, clearly thinking I was kicking her off, despite me trying to assure her we just wanted a turn when she was between sets. I felt terrible.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen this, a woman undervaluing her own workout- as though it’s less important than a man’s workout. If we want respect in the weight room, we don’t so much need to earn it- as expect it. I think it was a blessing being so myopic in the early 80s- if there were any derogatory looks, I was utterly oblivious. It made me quite assertive- not aggressive-just assertive.
Of course there are bullies in the weights room, I won’t deny it, bullies are everywhere in this world. But to you women out there- remember- you have paid your membership fees and have every right to be there. Stand your ground! If someone asks to work in- don’t read too much into it, men really aren’t that complicated, they usually do just want to take turns.