Image Source: Pexels / Li Sun
I had just finished up a sweaty, monotonous four-mile run on the treadmill when it all came into perspective. With sweat dripping down my face and stinging my eyes, I looked around and realised that I was paying $215 a month for a global gym membership, only to use two cardio machines, a stretching mat, and a Spin class here and there, all because I was too terrified to walk onto the weight floor.
That grand total of $2,500+ a year hit me hard, but what really bothered me was the reason I was avoiding lifting weights: I felt intimidated by the jam-packed floor of dudes dominating every single dumbbell, and having no idea how to get started, I was terrified of injuring myself.
Turns out, I might not be alone on the latter. Only 17.5 percent of American women meet the aerobic and strength-training recommendations of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Motivated to finally learn how to tackle the weight floor (and, if I'm being honest, to put an end to this ridiculous patriarchal-driven anxiety), I started researching training programs and landed on Melissa Alcantara's Instagram — aka Kim Kardashian's trainer, @FitGurlMel, a woman who transformed her life (both physically and mentally) through bodybuilding. I immediately took the plunge and purchased her 8-Week Body Sculptor Program, ready for a boost in weightlifting self-confidence and to further my fitness education.
The $80 program is incredibly comprehensive, including a detailed two-month workout regimen that heavily concentrates on weight training for your arms and legs but also covers cardio and core. Each week is filled with five superunique workouts (i.e. not just bicep curls), one extracredit workout, and a day of rest. That's about 40 curated workouts in total. Not too shabby for $80.
On her website, she has an impressively comprehensive exercise database that pairs each move listed in her program with a demonstrative GIF. So if you are like me and had never heard of an "Arnold Press" before, she's got you covered. I also found that the GIFs helped me maintain proper form, which also helped reduce my chances of injury.
After following Alcantara's program with minimal modifications, I have gained noticeable definition and strength in my arms and legs.
While I'm thrilled with the physical results I've experienced, I'm even more pleased with the fact that my weight-floor anxiety has dropped drastically. I'm no longer worried about looking stupid or what people think about me as I try to navigate the space. With a thorough guide by my side, I didn't experience any injuries. I no longer waste time staring at a lat pulldown machine in confusion, and I haven't once resorted to my repetitive treadmill routine out of fear.
The weight floor has opened up an entire new realm of exercise for me, just like I thought it would. And, not going to lie, that $215 a month feels way more worth it.