I’m weird about confidence. I think I am painfully self-aware, but at the same time I don’t usually even care about looking presentable. Jeans, tshirt, ponytail, and I’m good to go. Today is the first time in a month that I’ve worn makeup.
So I guess you might say I’m a pretty confident person. That, or I don’t care what other people think. Maybe a little of both. I think part of confidence is not caring what people think and part of it is all about caring what people think.
Sometimes I care and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’ll go out in sweats and wish I could disappear. Sometimes I’ll go out in sweats and completely forget that I might be wearing anything worthy of judgment. Not like I judge people who wear sweats. I couldn’t care less. But sometimes when I wear them, I feel sloppy and like I have dressed sub-par. Whatever.
I have always liked strength training and I used to train with machines and light dumbbells (nothing over 12.5lb) a few times a week, but around the end of last year I started getting interested in doing more free-weight training (dumbbells and barbells) and lifting heavier. I wanted to start so badly, but I was afraid to walk into the free-weight room at my gym.
The weight room with the machines was no big deal. There are girls in there all the time. No problem just walking in. The free-weight room, however… I guess it took me a couple months to get my butt in there.
The weight room at my gym is like the Guy Zone. Occasionally I’ll see another girl there, but usually it’s just males males males. I was terrified of walking in and being judged. I was scared to feel embarrassed and to feel like people were looking at me, even though in reality everyone is so focused on their own workouts at the gym that no one really even knows what the people around them are doing.
The weight room at my gym is divided into two sections: a smaller room with racks of dumbbells, some benches, and an EZ bar rack; and a bigger room with everything else (a squat rack, power cages, Smith machine, you name it). The first time I got up the courage, I entered the dumbbell room. I had been lying awake the night before too distracted to fall asleep because I was dreaming up a workout surrounding dumbbell bench press. I was so excited. I was finally excited enough that I was willing to face my fear.
I went in the room, but all the benches were taken and I didn’t know anything about Waiting for a Bench Etiquette (hint: there is none, just stand and wait or come back later), so I walked out with a pair of 15s and did my very first bench press lying on a stability ball in the exercise room across the hall.
The crowdedness made me scared to go back, so the next time I wanted to use the room, I brought a friend with me. A friend who knew less than me about the gym. So I had to take charge and be the one who knew her way around the place. I think being put in that role really helped me, because ever since then I have completely had the confidence to stroll into that weight room (yes, even the big one) and knock out my sets like a motherfucking boss.
Face your fears, ladies and gents. Because they’re probably irrational. And you’ll probably net some more confidence in the process. Go for it.