Monday, January 21, 2008

My First Bench Press!

The two other women in my workday workout group didn't show up today, so I got a Kameron-friendly workout from one of our work personal trainers, K.

She hauled me back into the free weights area, and I bench pressed for the first time!

The bar itself is 45 lbs, so she started me with that just to verify that I could, you know, lift it with ease. She increased the weight by 5lbs on each bar until we got to 65. By then, I was probably too worn out to push weight increments of much more, but next time... I want to start at 70, yo!

As we moved on to free weights, one of the guys in the gym lumbered up and said, "You know, if you ladies are serious about lifting weights, you should use higher and higher increments. You know, 8 pounds, then 10pounds, maybe even a couple reps with 20, you know, til you tire out. Women don't have testoserone, so you don't bulk up. You'll just get these real lean muscles."

Imagine, when I grow up, I might even be able to lift a 20lb free weight!

I did understand the weight training routine he was referencing... though he got it wrong. It actually works in reverse of the way he said it. You start with the heaviest weight you can lift, do it to failure, then notch down your weights, doing each successively smaller weight to failure. It's called a Drop Set. This will build muscle faster, but could also result in overtraining. There are pros and cons. I suppose you could try this in reverse the way he believed you should (with his 20 years of personal training experience, I'm sure), but if you do 20 lbs to failure, you probably aren't going to be able to lift 25 and do them to failure immediately afterwards.

Anyway. Math is hard, and I'm just a girl.

K. was much nicer than I was going to be.

What I wanted to say was, first: "Women don't have any testoserone, huh? I wonder where my wicked sex drives comes from, then."


"If I wanted your advice, I would ask. I, however, am no foreigner to free weights, thanks. Even though I'm just a girl."

K. has 15 years of personal training experience and a BA in Exercise Science or something. She merely said, "Thank you."

As we headed out of the weight area to work on the assisted pull-up machine she said, "Don't you just love it when random guys in the gym give you unsolicited advice?"

"We're just girls," I said. "It happens every time you walk over to the boys' half of the gym. And then they wonder why more women don't lift weights."

Honestly, do you think guys give other guys unsolicited advice in the weights room? Maybe they do, and I just never noticed because I don't spend enough time there. But I'd bet women get way more unsolicited advice than men do. Women have pride too, you know. And many of us even have an idea of what we're doing. If we're not doing it the way you want us to do it, it's probably for a reason. You don't know what our goals are. You don't know what our backgrounds are. Some of us have 15 years of personal training experience. Some of us can kick you in the head.

Thanks, tho, buddy.


My first bench press!


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