As if being a woman isn’t hard enough on its own in this world, there comes a whole new set of challenges when it comes to being a woman in a gym setting. Raise your hand if you have ever been uncomfortable in the gym due to: the male gaze, fear of judgment, unwanted advice, inexperience, clothing, etc.? Yeah. I think we probably all have our hands raised!
The truth is no one is safe from these things and sadly, we probably can’t prevent them from happening. Men will stare because, let’s face it, you’re a boss ass bitch. People will judge because they’ve got their own insecurities. You’ll get unwanted advice because people think they know it all. *Hint: they don’t.*
I’m not saying there is one right way to deal with any of this stuff. If you really want to confront someone and put them in line, you can (respectfully) do so! And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because men do it all the time and are seen as strong for it. So besides taking that course of action, here are some of my best quick tips for surviving as a strong woman in the gym:
1. Wear clothes you’re comfortable in
Everyone has a different style! One woman might be most comfortable going to the gym in sweatpants and a tank top while another shows up in tight leggings and a sports bra. BOTH are perfect! As long as you’re comfortable and can get through your workout without obsessing over how you look (in a negative way), then you’re wearing the right clothes for you.
2. Practice your RBF (Resting Bitch Face)
I swear, the best way to avoid unwanted attention or comments at the gym is to wear your best RBF. No one wants to fuck with a woman who looks eternally pissed off at everything. Don’t confuse having an RBF with actually being hostile though. Most days I’m actually in a pretty darn tootin’ good mood and chances are if you do come talk to me I’ll be very polite and pleasant. But I personally like to be left alone to do my own thing at the gym and if you do too, just put your earbuds in and keep your eyes forward. I promise it works!
3. Stop worrying about impressing everyone else
The moment you stop thinking about what you want for yourself and start worrying about what everyone else thinks about you is the moment you’ve lost sight of what’s important. Every day you show up to the gym, show up for yourself. Lift however much your workout calls for that day and don’t compare that to people around you because it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Not everyone values the same thing when it comes to fitness. So being the person to lift the most weight at your gym doesn’t have to be something you put value in. And it honestly shouldn’t be.
4. Realize that everyone feels insecure at times
No matter who you are, chances are you’ve felt insecure while at the gym. Insecurity can stem from a lot of different things but I think a common one for women is just feeling like they don’t belong in the space. The thing about the gym is: LITERALLY EVERYONE BELONGS IN THAT SPACE. The gym isn’t just for the most fit people! Nor do the most fit automatically have more authority to use it. If you think you’re the only one feeling that way when you’re lifting weights at the gym, think again. You’re not alone. And the more you show up day after day, the sooner you’ll become comfortable with owning your space and realizing that we’ve all got insecurities.
5. Own it!
You don’t have to be the biggest or strongest or fastest or most athletic person in the gym to be flexing on everyone. All you have to do is stay true to yourself and own what you’re doing. We’re all at different levels and stages of our training. Let’s make the gym less a place of exclusion and competition and more a place of inclusion and support. We all have different goals and are on a lot of different paths. If you give off confidence and good vibes then that’s really all you need to survive at the gym!