Building my body and my confidence


After a year of working out, I was capable of squatting 205 without a spotter. Compared to when I first began weight lifting, increasing the weight by 3 times the beginning amount shocks me and makes me proud.

Usually, women go to the gym to reduce weight and try to shape their body to have an “ideal thin body.” They typically go to the gym and avoid machines and large weights, choosing to do cardio on the treadmill or bike or ab workouts. This is due to myths that say lifting weights will make you have a big, manly body. 

Just like any other woman, I had insecurities about my body. I disliked being weak and thin and admired those who were toned and strong. I saw that the women with those bodies would go to the gym, so I decided to give it a try.

Going into the gym, I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do, I just knew how I wanted my body to be. My main goal was getting toned. I wanted abs and a nice back, but I mainly desired having nice muscular legs. 

I noticed there were plenty of different ways to achieve my goal and lifting weights along with doing cardio was what I enjoyed doing the most. I know there are plenty of people that do this to enter competitions, but I noticed that they starve and work themselves too much and I was not interested in that.

At first, I was intimidated and embarrassed at first due to not knowing what to do or how to do it. I began getting comfortable once I started working out with someone else and learning how to do things properly. The best part about it was that I began seeing progress and noticing that I could lift more than when I started.

Other peers that attend the gym don’t do it to compete, they do it to shape and build their body. Ana Villegas, a 17 year old at Alisal enjoys working out. While other women may be intimidated to workout with men, she isn’t. “I find it really fun. It also brings me joy when I can lift similar weights as them,” Villegas said.

Although it may seem like she doesn’t struggle with anything, she does. “My biggest struggle about working out is that I feel like I’m being judged and I’m not confident enough to workout in front of others because of body dysmorphia.”

It is much more difficult to find someone who goes to the gym while playing a school sport because there is never enough time for it. Janett Sanchez, a 17 year old volleyball player at Alisal High does it for the fun of it. “I’m not really consistent with it because after I’m out of volleyball practice I’m usually tired and too lazy to go.” she said.

Besides consistency, Janett struggled with other things. “I find it super hard to eat enough. In order for me to gain muscle or weight, I need to eat way more than I usually do.”While some people take supplements to bulk up, she doesn’t, “I’ve tried drinking protein drinks but I just can’t drink them. It takes me an entire day to drink one small protein shake.”                                                                                                                                                                                                

As some women may believe lifting weights makes you bulky or unattractive, men think otherwise. Christain Rodriguez, a 17 year old student at Alvarez High School who does not work out says, “I find girls who work on themselves attractive, so I mean as long as they are doing it for themselves it’s great,” he said. “It shows that they are dedicated to something. It also shows that they are strong.”

Austin Henry, a high school basketball and baseball player who does go to the gym says, “I think it is a great thing for women to go to the gym so they can feel good about themselves. I think that it’s good that they lift weights so that they can get stronger.”

As a woman who attends the gym to work on herself, you don’t only see differences in your body but you also learn a lot. Not only do you acquire knowledge of how to do things properly, you also learn what you enjoy doing and what you don’t. I found out I enjoyed working out by myself instead of with a partner particularly because it was faster and you don’t get distracted as easily.

Women shouldn’t be afraid of weight lifting. If they want to transform their bodies, they should try it. Weight lifting isn’t only to get really big, everyone can create certain goals and routines to get to where they want to be.

Besides learning about what you enjoy doing, you also pick up what steps you need to follow in order to be where you want to get. I found out I needed to follow the bulking and cutting process in order to be muscular and toned. One thing I wasn’t ready for was how long it would take. I have been bulking for a year and I’m now barely beginning to cut. It is a long process but it will all be worth it in the end.