Strong Women Are Confident Women by Abby

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My name is Abby Zona, and I’m currently a sophomore at Ohio University with a major in Community and Public Health. Throughout my life I’ve always been inspired to live a healthy and happy life, and help others do that too. I found my happiness through going to the gym and bettering myself through lifting weights. It took a lot of time to find my confidence in the gym, but I’ve never felt happy or healthier since I made the gym a priority in my life. I wanted to share my story and how I struggled with my confidence to hopefully help other girls who want to start lifting weights but are too afraid to start.  

Most women, including me at one point, are afraid of lifting weights. Women are taught that if they start lifting heavy weights they’ll become too “muscly” or too “bulky”.  When I was a sophomore in high school I struggled with being too afraid to go over to the “boys” side of the gym. I wanted to lift weights but felt like people were going to judge me for it, so for a while I just stuck to cardio and other light exercises because I was afraid of the judgment. It wasn’t until the spring of my Junior year when I started to look past the stigma and decided to do what made me happiest. My soccer coach was a big part of this, he started an after school conditioning program where he’d push us every day to become stronger. He used the all inspiring women’s national soccer team to show that lifting weights make you a better, stronger, and healthier athlete. I was amazed at how great they looked and how well they performed on the soccer field because they put so much effort and time into their bodies, and that’s what truly started my journey into fitness. When I was with my soccer team, no one was judging because we were all going through the same thing and learning all of this together, but once the season was over I had to start going to the gym more by myself which was still very intimidating for me.

My brother was the one who introduced me to YouTube, and all the amazingness it is. I found so many inspiring women who at one point, were in my position. These women shared their stories and made me realize that I wasn’t the only one struggling with these issues, they struggled with their confidence in the gym, and felt like they didn’t belong there because a lot of people told them that lifting weights were for men only. These women ultimately overcame that, so they started sharing their stories on YouTube to help women like me have confidence in the gym. As well as sharing their story, they always shared lots of new workouts I’ve never seen before. It was very intimidating to try them out when I was at the gym because I worried people would laugh at me for having bad form or not lifting a heavy enough weight. In order for me to feel my best I knew I had to overcome it like inspiring women I followed on social media did.

After months of trial and error, and some days being better than others I gained that confidence I needed to have in order to perform my best. I was no longer afraid of trying new exercises and looking silly when I first tried them. I’d laugh at myself when I knew I wasn’t doing it correctly, but then kept working to perfect it. I know feel more confident with my body than I ever have before. The “boys” side of the gym is now my side of the gym, and it’s now where I feel my most confident. I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve become, and i know I can continue to become better.

I am empowered and poised because I don’t apologize for being who I am. I push myself to my limit and work hard towards my goals. Although, somedays I don’t feel confident I use that to fuel my motivation to work even harder towards my goals.

I hope whoever is reading this can become inspired by my story and realize that everyone struggles with a lot of the same things. If my story can push just one person to get out of their comfort zone and try something new I will feel like I have succeeded. So, to anyone reading this: don’t give up on your dreams! Do what makes you happy and surround yourself with people who can help you reach those goals, not hold you back.