Olympic legend Jessica Ennis tells us how we can feel more confident on the gym floor.
It’s a trope that, sadly, tends to be true: the gym floor often doesn’t feel like a very female-friendly place.
As much as we know we have every right to be there, and in our minds, we’re already kicking ass in the weights section, stepping into the spit and sawdust atmosphere of the weights room at the local gym can be incredibly daunting. And, sure, stepping onto the gym floor isn’t exactly the same as walking into a stadium packed with thousands of people, but it can feel that way… especially when we’re not feeling 100% self-assured.
With this thought in mind, we sat down and asked Jessica Ennis her advice on how to combat a crisis of confidence in the gym, guessing (rightly so) that the Olympic champion might know a thing or two about how to hold your own in the world of fitness.
“For me, I’ve always trained in an environment that I’m very comfortable in as I’d train in an elite gym with all the other athletes. But when I first went in and started lifting weight I felt like, “Ahh I don’t know what I’m doing” – so I absolutely get that so many women don’t want to go into the gym because they don’t know what they want to do and how to achieve it,” Ennis says.
For the gold-medal winner the answer is clear: knowledge equals confidence. “Because I’ve built up so much expertise over the years I go in very confident now because I know what I’m doing. Knowing what is the right technique for you and not being bothered what anyone is thinking will help you be confident,” she explains.
In a bid to help others improve their workout knowledge, Ennis has announced the launch of her new fitness app and website Jennis. The app not only gives members access to the athlete’s personal fitness methods, but also to her training programmes and wellness advice.
The workouts on the app can be used at home or in the gym, and Ennis says that one of her motivators behind creating the app was to help women to be more confident when it comes to fitness by learning techniques that she herself swears by.
“That’s why I’ve created the app, it’s workouts that I do at home and they’re just 20-minute, easy sessions that you can crack on with it by yourself and know that you’ve blasted your body and then you’re done.
“People that want to take confidence from that at home can then bring the app into a gym setting and use it there too.”
Ennis stresses that no one should feel they need to spend hours in the gym to get positive results, either in fitness or for their mental health, a short but effective session that concentrates on getting technique and form just right is most important. By following the classes on her app, Ennis wants users to perfect their form and thinks that building this knowledge and skill is what will instil confidence in them that they can take into situations that might feel intimidating.
She says: “It’s about working out for a specific amount of time and not overdoing it, but having really good form and being confident in what you do and then taking it into other areas.”
We also know how intimidating the gym can be and appreciate that this can hold a lot of women back from improving their fitness, and most importantly, getting strong, which is why Stylist has launched its own fitness classes in association with AllBright, all of which concentrate on improving strength.
You can download the Jennis app for £9.99 a month which includes a seven-month training programme.
Images: Courtesy of Jessica Ennis-Hill and Getty
Stylist Strong is a fitness brand specialising in strength training specifically tailored for women. Our classes are designed to build both physical and mental strength in a smart and informed way.
So, whether you’re a beginner or already have strength-training experience, Stylist Strong has a class to suit you. Come and try our strength-based classes at our own purpose-built studio at The AllBright Mayfair.
Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.
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