Dude! You’re in my Space.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.



I read a great article yesterday about the issues ladies run into when lifting iron.  While more women are lifting, there are still very few in the weight room.  It’s not uncommon for me to be the only, or one of two, woman.  Most ladies are, stereotypically, sticking to cardio machines.  There could be several reasons why.

Many times, though, it’s because they are intimidated.  Men can certainly add to this factor.

Been there. Done that. If I had a dollar……

Here are just a couple of my personal examples.

One day in Vegas…. I was in the weight room doing DB side raises. I was actually in the middle of a set, put my arms down, and this dude got soooo in my space that I couldn’t lift my arms. I scowled at him and moved over. Then his buddy came and did the very same thing – still the same set!!!!! WTH? He got a little more than a scowl. I had a few words to say!!!! Here’s the thing though – they acted like I was the one with the problem…..

I’ve had guys take (correction….try to take) collars off my bar when I was squatting. I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve had guys reach over MY shoulder and turn the fan on on my machine because I was sweating. Ummm. I’ve had guys come into my space to do pull-ups – when there were two other areas where they could do pull-ups…those were being used by other men, though. Two days ago, in Virginia, I was in between sets of seated rows. A guy sat down on my bench and was surprised when I ripped my workout log from under his leg.

In Mississippi, I had one guy tell his buddy (he was frustrated that I wouldn’t just give up my bench when they wanted it because I was doing overhead presses), “don’t worry about her, she’s not really a woman anyway. That’s a man in women’s clothing.” Again, I was the one with the problem…

YES. This stuff does happen.


Now, I want to temper this though. It doesn’t happen all the time. and




I have had the pleasure of meeting some very respectful guys in the gym.

Two examples (of many) come to mind. Once in Las Vegas, I was doing DB pullovers with a 75 pound dumbbell. A IMG_0570tall guy came over and stood by my bench while I was working. I finished and came up with an attitude, assuming he was “one of them”.

In not my nicest voice, I asked, “Can I help you with something?” He said, “No. I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re amazing. I’ve never seen a woman work out like that. Wow! Keep it up.” He shook my hand. I thanked him and he walked off. HE impressed me!!

In St Louis, I was bench pressing more than I should have, or I was tired….In either case, I brought the bar down to my chest and I couldn’t get it off. It just sat there. I wasn’t in any pain but it was a predicament. A man came over to the back of the bench (by my head), looked down on me and just asked, “do you need some help or have you got this?” “I’d love some help – and thanks for asking before you reached for the bar.”

You’ll notice that I remember the location of each of these incidents. I know what exercise I was doing. I know how much weight I had. Each made an impression on me. Good and bad.

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