I got talking with another woman at my gym today. It was nice to share our experiences of how we each came to realize that we don't need to be self-conscious while we're there. It took me a few times at the gym before it dawned on me--'No one cares what I am doing. They each have their own goals, and I've got mine. There is no need to compare myself to anyone.' It was very freeing to realize this.
This woman shared a similar view, and stated she was attracted to this particular gym because it doesn't have an 'intimidating' environment. I agreed!
I find this funny because yesterday I was sharing with a co-worker about my workout on Saturday, which was my last appointment with a personal trainer. This co-worked commented he never really got into weight lifting because it seemed like a thing 'jocks' do. (I understood him completely. This type of thinking would lead to an intimidating environment.)
After my conversation with the woman at the gym, and reflecting on my co-workers comment, I realized that stereotypes are just that, stereotypical, and they will never change unless you challenge them.
Perhaps in high school you may have thought only 'jocks' worked out on weight machines. Now that I am 10+ years beyond high school, I realize I have a lot in common with the people at my gym who use the weight-lifting machines. We all want to be healthy and feel in good shape. Some may really be into building muscle. I see guys like that. I don't focus on them. I see a lot more men and women who are committed to their health and perhaps are looking to lose some weight. That is why I go-I want to feel healthy and get my body in shape. It just feels good.
So, don't be afraid. Take a bold step and challenge your stereotypes. Especially if they were formed years ago. Life changes a lot!