Today I was in the gym – just doing my thing, lifting in peace and a group of women came up near me. We all smiled politely to one another. After a moment they turned back to continue their conversation and I returned to my workout.
I finished up my squats and moved on to deadlifts. The moment I tapped the plates on the ground to come back up, I could feel their dirty looks. I was not dropping weights or going out of my way to slam anything.
Ignoring their side-eye, I proceeded with my set. I worked up to my max and was feeling really good so I went for a new PR. Completely in the zone, I took a deep breath and lifted two hundred and fifty pounds off the ground with my bare hands.
If you’ve ever been into fitness you know the amazing feeling of pushing yourself and being better than before. I absolutely love the feeling of personal satisfaction when you’re making yourself proud – when you do something you never thought you could do before. I lift for me – to be strong and mentally tough enough to overcome challenges and accomplish your goals.
So as I’m basking in this feeling at the top of my lift, I smile and look up and see those ladies’ judgmental faces glaring at me. I sat the weight back down gently as they whipped their heads around and immediately started bashing me.
They were saying things like,
“Geez, does she have to do that over here?!”
This is a gym and this is honestly the only place to lift weights here.
They proceeded to roll their eyes and then said,
“Ugh, she’s just doing that for attention.”
I was the only person lifting weights at the present moment. Absolutely no one was around me except for those women.
Why do I even care?
They continued to spew rude, judgmental comments 10 feet away from me. My first inclination was to confront them – I hate passive aggressiveness and I’m the first one to address any issue like that. But as I sat there listening to them rip me apart for working hard and trying to be the best that I can, I realized that their comments didn’t diminish how I felt about myself in that moment. I’m not there for anyone else. I don’t care what they think of me one bit.
What are we even doing?!
I was more bothered by the fact that this is what women do to each other. We judge each other. We look at other women and feel threatened by what they have that we may not have. Trust me, I’m just as guilty. You see some girl wearing revealing clothes and what do you assume about her? Are you judging her and making assumptions? You don’t know her and you don’t know her story.
Why is our first inclination to rip each other to pieces rather than build each other up? I love to see strong women encourage each other to be stronger, better and tougher. That kind of environment is rare – not just in the gym, but in life.
I don’t have all the answers, but I want to be asking the questions. As a woman, one of the best things to have is a few solid friends that build you up and challenge you to be the best you can be in all areas of life.
I can only hope that more and more women find that it’s a lot more gratifying to support each other than tear each other down.
Felicia is a fiery fit mom and elite nationally-qualified USAPL powerlifter from Nashville. As a busy working mom, she balances the demands of work and parenting a toddler while reaching her fitness goals.
Felicia started strength training in 2012 and after having a baby in 2014, she’s lost over 15lbs and is now over 200 lbs stronger. She currently is a national level powerlifter in the 52kg weight class.
As a 4’10” 114lb woman, she wants to show that strong women come in all shapes and sizes. In her transformation from average gym-goer to competitive athlete, she loves to share what she’s learned about strength training, nutrition and work/life balance with other women trying to be the best version of themselves.
We are very proud to have Felicia as one of HerSUPPZ BRAND AMBASSADORS!
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