I’m a powerlifter. I squat twice my body weight and deadlift considerably more than that even.
I’m also just over 5 feet tall, 120 pounds at my heaviest and a lady. To a lot of people, this simply does not compute.
I’m pretty accustomed to being the only girl throwing around big weights in the gym. It’s not uncommon for me to ask a guy if I can work in with him. Well, except when I’m doing squats. The height of the rack is a limiting factor there. I’m no stranger to wide-eyed stares or dirty looks from the elliptical as I grunt my way through a heavy set of deadlifts. That’s my reality. I rotate through a number of gyms, but only one is home to powerlifters and strongmen. The rest are comprised primarily of the general public: non-competitors, people who are just there to get their health on. To the average gym-goer, I am the weird one. And that’s ok with me.
I find that men, in particular, have a few different responses to my presence in the gym. And I believe it has something to do with a woman outfitting them.
Here Are The 4 Types Of Reactions When You Outlift The Boys:
1. The One Who Thinks, “WTF Are You Doing Here?”
This misogynist thinks that girls should resign themselves to the treadmill. The free weight area is his “territory.” When you ask to work in with him or if he’ll share a set of dumbbells with you, he acts annoyed and as if I’m disrupting his workout. He’s the type of guy who will blatantly step in front of your view in the mirror mid-set. Oh and tsk, tsk, shake his head when he sees you throw on a second plate during deadlifts when your form wasn’t absolutely flawless on that last rep. “Women don’t need to lift that heavy, you know,” he might chastise. He feels threatened by your strength and thinks you physique is “manly” or “too muscular.”
2. The Unsolicited Advice Giver
This is the one who critiques your form at the gym, making it a point to lecture you about “arching your back like that” while benching. Mid-set, he suddenly crawls out of the woodwork. He usually has to repeat himself because he starts talking while your headphones are blaring. Now, it’s understandable if you were some reckless newbie, putting yourself or other gym-goers in danger. But this isn’t your first rodeo. And the best part? He actually thinks he’s being helpful.
3. The Cheerleader
This guy is your gym cheerleader. He’s the dude who witnesses you killin’ it at the gym over and over again and is genuinely impressed by your efforts. If he approaches you to give you a non-creepy compliment, the interaction is very short, and you are able to quickly return to your set. When he notices that you’re in the zone, he’ll catch your eyes between a set and casually give you the thumbs up from across the gym.
4. The Gawker
It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a garbage bag or a sports bra with skin-tight leggings, this dude burns holes in the back of your head with his eyes. He blatantly stares like he’s never seen a chick squat plates before. Although obnoxious, he’s usually relatively harmless because he never actually approaches you to say anything. It’s just somewhat awkward. At times, you’re tempted to walk up to him and ask if he wants to take a picture.
No matter what types of reactions you receive at the gym, keep doin’ your thing and liftin’ heavy, girl!