The Myths Of Women In The Weight Room

 WORDS BY: ASHLEY BERMUDEZ
PHOTOS BY: SHAYAN KHEZRI

October is here, which means pumpkin lattes are in season, Hocus Pocus is finally on TV and Halloween is around the corner. There is no better time than now to dig into the spooky tale of the seldom spoken “Iron Room,” where it’s believed that no woman makes it out alive.

Fear not, I’m here to tell you that these scary stories are just that — stories. The myth is if a woman lifts a weight over her head, she will magically turn into a towering muscle machine — or, shall I say, “She-Hulk.” It’s long told and absolutely untrue. Wishful thinking!

I suspect this second story holds more weight for women than the She-Hulk tale — any woman who dares step foot in the weight room will breathe her last breath. Let’s divulge these stories and myths and lay them to rest forever.

Myth 1: If I lift weights I’ll get too muscular!

I workout often and believe me, I wish that were true! I would finally have big boulder shoulders and hamstrings made of steel! But, the truth is, unless you bust your ass in the weight room consistently and, more importantly, eat according to your goals, you will never have the issue of “having too much muscle.”

Sorry, ladies, but we naturally carry more fat than men – which leads me to my next point: cardio. We’ve all grown up believing that skinny is sexy, so we use rows of machines for weight loss. Well, I’m here to tell you skinny IS sexy, but having a thicker frame is just as sexy. Do you want to know what the sexiest body type is? Do you? Shhh, huddle closer. The sexiest body…. is a healthy, happy body!

With almost 150,000 Facebook followers, Antoniette Pacheco, social media fitness figure, urges women of all fitness levels to start weight training because, “It’s your own inner strength that matters. Nobody can take that away from you.”

Being healthy doesn’t come in the form of a certain body type. It’s more than skin deep, Pacheco said.

“The majority of fitness people don’t look at how they do on social media, so you shouldn’t compare yourself,” she said. “It’s not about that.”

Being healthy means supplementing your body with nutritional foods, said Lindsay Del Rossi, a personal trainer with more than 17 years experience and who instructs classes at CSULB.

“Training for functionality and feeling good about yourself,” she said. “Muscle is sexy. I worked for this, and I’m proud.”

Still not convinced about hitting the weights? Well, what if I said you could burn more fat if you incorporated weight training into your daily routine? Del Rossi explains that, “Muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you have, the easier it is to burn fat. [Plus], muscle changes your shape and gives you a booty!”

So, if there was any confusion, allow her to clarify, “Weights don’t make you big, cupcakes do.”

Myth 2: The Weight Room is Scary!

While it may be true that the weight room is testosterone packed, the only scary thing about it can be the smell. Deodorant, guys – try it! Can it be intimidating? Yes.

“I didn’t want to look stupid because I didn’t know what I was doing,” Pacheco explained of her initial fears hitting the weight room. I would be embarrassed if I did something wrong.”

But, the good news is that the intimidation you may feel can be remedied. The Rec Center – along with other gyms – is filled with passionate trainers ready to help anybody in their fitness journey.

“We love teaching people the proper way to train,” Del Rossi said, “we can go on and on about fitness!”

Both Del Rossi and Pacheco feel the best way to overcome intimidation is by making friends with someone at the gym, finding someone you respect who inspires you and someone happy to help you with different exercises. If you don’t feel quite ready to walk up to someone, try taking a class at the Rec Center or research weight-training routines online. With over 10 million Instagram hashtags, such as #GirlsWhoLift, you don’t have an excuse of not knowing what to do or how to do it.

Having muscle builds not only your strength but also your confidence, Pacheco said.

“Your body is always changing, but one thing that you can hold on to to make yourself happy is being active,” she said. “Training is the best medicine. You can’t deny that you feel good when you’re doing something and getting stronger.”

The most important aspect of doing anything is that it makes you happy. The goal here is to provide an active, healthy outlet for women to find their happiness, even if it seems scary at first.

“Most people don’t go into fitness for a feeling. The emotional aspect comes after,” Del Rossi said. “Endorphins are there, but training over time makes you feel amazing because it’s a powerful commitment you made to yourself and accomplished.”

Women have learned to turn away from intimidation and agree that weight training is not just good for you, it’s fun.

“Training is like my therapy session,” Pacheco said. “I’m so happy to get through workouts and feel proud of myself. That’s why I train.”

Don’t let the October chill scare you out of the gym. You heard the myths, now you know they aren’t true and not at all frightening. The Rec Center’s staff and trainers such as Del Rossi will be happy to help you with any fitness questions.

For more information, contact Lindsay Del Rossi at drpower11@gmail.com.