Weightlifting: Not So Scary After All!


Weights are scary right? I always thought so. Even in college when I actually went to the gym on a semi-regular basis I never strayed much beyond the various machines with little silhouette figures that show how to do each exercise.

Even that stopped when I dislocated my shoulder on the fly machine. That’s a story for another day, but the point is until recently I hadn’t been in a gym in like 15 years.

But great news! As it turns out, weight lifting doesn’t actually seem to be scary, and is actually pretty fun.

I had been running a lot since last spring, but with winter now fully upon us I’m finding it a lot harder to get out on the roads. Between the snow banks and earlier sunset it’s just not working. So I’ve been looking for another way to get some regular exercise (besides chasing my 3 kids and fixing up my dilapidated house).

I saw a chance to win a 3 month membership to a local gym at a fall festival and gave it a shot. With some luck I won and decided to use it as motivation to learn to use the free weights.

I got started on the idea of lifting weights reading one of my current favorite blogs Mr. Money Mustache. He’s a big fan of weight lifting as a tool for general fitness and the logic made sense to me.

Not wanting to pay to join a gym, but also not wanting to invest in fitness gear left me doing mostly pushups, pullups, and the occasional 6-year-old curl. So the free gym membership was the perfect segue.

I told myself if I used it, and liked it, then I’d look out for some cheap weights to use at home.

Turns out I did like it, and it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought.

For some reason it’s intimidating to jump into the free weights area and start lifting. Much more intimidating than using the machines.

Not going to lie, it took me a couple of trips to even venture into the free weights area. My routine was something like: warm up on treadmill, walk confidently towards free weights, see that some else was in that area, make abrupt turn like I was actually going to the water bubbler the whole time. Repeat.

There was always like one other person. Not empty, so I could try things without fear of being judged. Not a bunch of people so I wouldn’t be noticed. But one other person. Always.

But after lots of self-talk and studying of YouTube videos I managed to drag myself in there one night. I grabbed some dumbbells and did my best impression of the guy I had seen doing curls a few minutes before. No one laughed – call that a win.

After that I went to the gym pretty regularly for a couple of months before starting to look on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for home weightlifting gear. It took about 2 weeks of scouring ads and several near-misses on good deals before I scored a complete package of bench, squat rack, bar, and plates plus some random other bits and pieces for $160.

My private gym.

That getup is now sitting happily in my basement where I cleared a space, and I’m loving the 30 second commute to the gym whenever I want to workout. That convenience has drastically increased my workout frequency.

I got everything  before my 3 free months ran out too, so no gym membership fees either! Suffice to say I’m pretty happy with how this whole weightlifting thing is working out so far.

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