If you're a woman who is anything like I was a year ago, you're terrified to enter the scary terrain at the gym known as the "free weights area." However, taking that step across the border between the lady-safe zone and the "man's-area" is not as frightening as it may seem ... let me tell you why:
For me, it was about intimidation. I was scared to lift weights with the boys because I was nervous that they were all starring at me, wondering what business I had in a weight room, and secretly making fun of me for lifting incorrectly or for lifting weights that were not very heavy. The fact of the matter is though, I had to get over it! First of all, the boys could care less about you and your weight training. Second of all, it's about YOUR HEALTH, not about the way others perceive you (although if you're at the gym lifting weights I'm pretty sure the only way they should be perceiving you is "good for her for working hard.") So I thought of it this way: In the beginning I am going to look stupid and weak, but as I progress I will be able to train more seriously and will get stronger. Someday maybe those boys won't be starring at me for looking out of place, but for looking muscular, tone, and fit! I just had to get there first.
Here are some of the reasons why you should stop being intimidated and just get in the weight room!
Weight training tones your muscles which looks great! Also, it raises your basal metabolism which causes you to burn more calories 24 hours a day. You'll even burn more calories while you're sleeping!
Weight training energizes you.
It has a positive effect on almost all of your 650+ muscles.
Weight training makes you strong. Strength gives you confidence and makes daily activities easier.
It helps to ease aches and pains in your back and shoulders.
It decreases your resting blood pressure, which is good for your heart.
It decreases your risk of developing adult onset diabetes (along with a healthy diet!)
It improves your posture.
It improves the functioning of your immune system (less time feeling like crap and more time feeling strong and beautiful!)
Weight training improves your balance and coordination (important for walking on stage in heels at pageants :) but also important for your core muscles and your daily life).
Weight training elevates your mood.
Now, if those weren't good enough reasons for you to hit the weight room, here's my own little recep -- the boys really don't care that you're in there, so suck it up and hit the weights. After all, it's only for your benefit, not theirs! If you practice, you'll eventually get it right and won't look stupid, just awesome. If you're doing a move incorrectly, hopefully some nice boy will help you out and then you'll have a friend.
Plus ... do you really want to do the same boring cardio every day when you can be giving your metabolism a boost with weight training (which will cause you to burn more fat, longer)?!?!
Weight training ... the way to go ... NOW GO GET 'EM GIRLS!!!!