A female gym-lover has publicly shamed ‘egotistical’ men who took heavy weights from her in the gym – proclaiming she can often lift more than them.
Andrea Ali, 42, who has been a gym member for seven years, claims that during a recent trip there, men took her weights mid-session as “they assumed I couldn’t lift heavy.”
The recruitment director from Enfield, London, shared her experience on LinkedIn to highlight that women lift weights too.
The post reads: “Twice, since being back at the gym, men have taken my weights (midway through a session).
“They assumed I couldn’t lift heavy. Current situation: Squats 80kg, Deadlifts 85kg. Interestingly I later found out that I was stronger than both those men. #GirlsLiftToo.”
Andrea explained: “This has happened at least half a dozen times, but it looks like it’s a regular thing for ladies that lift heavy weights.
“Men will tend to come over to your rack whilst you’re lifting, and take the weights that you’ve set down.
“They’ll usually take the 20 or 25 plates as if I’m completely invisible.
“It’s shocking. They take the weights that are right next to me. I’ve put them down to use them on my bar.
“If I was a man, they would never dare do that. The last time it happened, this man came over to me after passing two squat racks in use by men.
“I turned around to him and said ‘excuse me, what are you doing?’, to which he said, ‘Oh, I assumed you weren’t using the heavy ones’.
“I pointed out that he’d passed two men to come to me. He was apologetic but he’s just assuming that women can’t lift heavy weights.
“When I spoke to the last bloke who tried to do this, I asked what he squats and it was a fair amount less than what I do.
“I sort of said ‘You might need to put your ego down and think should I ask that lady before I take her weights?’. While they’re squatting 60, I’m doing 80.
“Even if you were dead certain a person was unable to lift a weight, you would have the courtesy to ask, but they don’t see women.
“It’s obviously not all men. You’ve got the good supportive ones, who are usually regulars at my gym, so they know what I can lift.”
As a mum of three girls, Andrea is determined to encourage women to speak up when they’re placed in these situations.
Andrea said: “Whether my daughters are there watching me or not, I am bringing up three girls to be strong women, both physically and mentally.
“I’ve spoken up every single time it’s happened. I’ve seen women that haven’t, which is a shame really.
“I’m sure the men didn’t mean to upset me. But they always look extremely shocked when I say ‘excuse me.’
“There’s absolutely a lads’ culture around the gym. There’s testosterone pumping, they’ve got a lot to prove – especially now.
“People have lost a lot of strength over the past year, so it’s how fast they can build that strength back up.
“But I’m in it to win it too. I’m not there to entertain anyone.”
Andrea is using her platform to share her experience in the hopes it will spread awareness to others about how gym users should treat each other.
Andrea said: “I think people should just treat others equally and with respect.
“Men can get stronger than women, but if a woman’s been lifting for seven years, there’s every chance that woman will be stronger than a lot of the men that have just started.
“It’s not nice to have someone make you feel like you’re strong enough, solely because you’re a woman.
“I’ve put seven years into that. I’m a boxer, I’m a weightlifter, Just because I don’t have bulging muscles doesn’t mean I don’t lift extremely heavy weights.
“Being a woman doesn’t make me any less of a keen weightlifter.”
Several of Andrea’s followers weighed in with supportive comments.
One person said: “Some people have no concept of gym etiquette – so rude to take your weights from you between sets.”
Another commented: “The sooner men leave their ego at the door (not just at the gym) the better they will be for it.”
Whilst a third said: “I’ve been asked a few times if I’d like help re-racking my weights. Who do they think lifted them off the rack in the first place?”
Someone else commented: “I hear you. I once had a man at the gym ask me if I needed a hand carrying a 20kg plate, I said no thanks and proceeded to load 160kg on the leg press.”
Whilst another follower said: “That’s not male ego, that’s just plain bad manners.”