How not to be intimidated in the weights room

Walking into the weights room is scary. Whether you've been training for years or days it's intimidating. I walked into a bodybuilding gym last week and merrily used a legs machine with my arms. It was only after a massive geezer said 'Nice one, I hadn't thought to work the rear delts like that, bruv' that I realised (and I've been training for around 15 years). 

Lifting weights is SO IMPORTANT. Lifting burns a helluva lot more calories than cardio and you end up with a peachy bum and sculpted arms as a lovely bonus. So, if it's just getting into the room that's putting you off, here's a few pointers. 

1. Have a plan. Before you walk in, decide what you want to do first. Make it something simple. i.e bicep curls. Walk over to the weights rack, pick up some weights and off you go. At that point you can have a little sly look around, check what machines are free and what other people seem to be doing, then copy them. Unless they look like a maniac, or they're using a legs machine with their arms. 

2. Scope out the room at a quiet time (generally mid afternoon) so when it's busier if the machine you want to use isn't free then you know you've got some back ups.

3. If you find yourself standing in the middle of the room, frozen, looking around desperately for a piece of kit (yup, exactly like that bit before the IKEA tills), DON'T WORRY. Either, do some squats (people will think you're warming up) or hold a plank (more time to look around and see where you can go next). If that's too much, look at your phone, send an imaginary text, buy yourself some time. 

4. Ask a weights famdem to explain a machine to you. I'll let you in to a secret. People who lift like nothing better than talking to other people about lifting. If you ask someone how to work a machine they will quite frankly be overjoyed. They not only will explain that machine to you, they'll probably explain seven more and then offer to spot you (when they take their top off and ask you to guess their bodyfat, it's time to make your excuses and leave).

5. No-one cares. We spend 80% of the time in the gym worrying about what other people are thinking about us. Quite honestly, everyone is so self obsessed, they're not looking at you. If they do give you a second glance, they probably think 'respect to a new brother/sister for lifting up heavy tings and putting them down again.' I once saw a man in only his boxers doing interpretive dance on a pull up machine. Everyone was so keen to post a sick Insta story they didn't even clock this genius so trust me, no-one is looking at you. 

Melissa Power