Do You Even Lift, Bro? 10 Struggles Strong Lady-Lifters Face At Gyms


This year, I realized how much I hate cardio. It’s boring and I never feel like I accomplish anything. So, I decided to start lifting weights.

I was terrified because I only ever see men lifting at my gym, and I was embarrassed by how light my weights would be compared to them.

But, once I got over that initial fear, I realized lifting is pretty f*cking awesome.

Still, since lifting is typically deemed an activity for men, we ladies have a few struggles to deal with as we adjust:

1. Putting the weights on the bar is a workout itself.

I deadlift way more weight than I can physically carry with my two hands.

Dragging around the 45-pound plates is awkward and difficult. Not to mention, shoving them onto the bar is a game of shimmying and jostling, which can leave you almost too winded to even do the lift.

Part of you will want to ask one of the buff bros at the gym to give you a hand, but most of you is too proud to admit you need help.

2. No one wants to “work in” with you.

Dudes will mill around as you use the equipment, but they won’t say anything. They don’t want to rotate and share the equipment because they are lifting such drastically different amounts.

They’ll get impatient and annoyed at you for taking too long, but they’ll never say it. It’s obvious they want to say something, but since you have headphones in, you wouldn’t be able to hear them, anyway.

You ignore them, but feel super uncomfortable.

3. Gaining weight is... a good thing?

I have already put on six pounds since I started lifting. It’s hard to assure myself it’s all muscle and I should feel proud.

When you lift, there’s this weird paradox where you jump on the scale, feeling great about your body, but your weight is way higher than last time.

As a woman, you spend years trying to lose weight, and suddenly, your workout is making you gain weight? “Lean gains” are hard to get used to as an accomplishment.

4. Finding jeans that fit is even more impossible.

Since I’ve been squatting consistently and with heavy weight, my butt has doubled in size and my thighs have gotten bigger, too. I’m not mad about it, but none of my jeans fit anymore.

Since jean shopping is already the absolute worst, I’m not looking forward to the next trip to the mall. It might be better to just stick to leggings, after all...

5. Your gym clothes always seem to ride up awkwardly.

No matter what I wear, I’m always afraid I will accidentally flash a whale tail or camel toe.

Tight shorts ride up when you do squats and loose shorts show everything when you lay down for the bench press. You’re not sure if anyone notices, but you assume they totally do.

6. Getting enough protein feels like a chore.

Some people in the lifting community believe you’re supposed to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For me, that’s about 155 grams of protein in a day. Yikes…

Where do I even find that much protein? I read a comment on Reddit about a guy who ate four Cornish game hens for lunch. Is that what it takes!?

7. Your hands get crusty calluses.

My hands were already dry to begin with, but the bar has done quite a number on them. I have raised bumps on my palms from where I grip the bar, and they occasionally break open and bleed while I’m at the gym.

There’s nothing sexier than a calloused, bloody hand.

8. Lifting on your period is pure torture.

All you want to do is go home and lay down, but you guilt yourself into going to the gym. Now, you’re pushing through the pain of your cramps AND the actual lift.

By the time you get home, your body feels broken, and you’re falling asleep at your kitchen table... crying over a bag of chocolate.

9. You justify weekend binges as “bulking.”

It’s totally okay to eat a lot when you’re lifting because you’re trying to gain muscle, anyway, right?

I may or may not have eaten five jumbo-sized slices of pizza over the course of two days in Vegas and felt totally fine about it because it was bulking season... and YOLO.

10. Backhanded compliments about looking “buff” become regular.

Inevitably, there will be people who disagree with your choice to build muscle as a woman. They might tell you you’re getting bulky or make comments about you looking manly.

Guess what? Being strong is not synonymous with being “manly.”

Whatever, they’re just jealous because you can actually say, “Do you even lift, bro?”