Women & Muscles: Apples & Oranges, or Birds of a Feather?
In the past several months I’ve had a few conversations, with men, about women and muscles. Mainly, that women really don’t need / shouldn’t have muscles.
That’s definitely a loaded statement, both in the starkness of the statement plus the lack of context for either of our backgrounds. I have no idea what led them to feel this way and they’ve no idea why I would find it offensive.
Perhaps their idea of a woman with muscles is a female bodybuilder: a woman with super-tanned, taut skin stretched over muscles which are in many cases larger than theirs. Or perhaps even a hint of bicep makes them uneasy. Who knows?
One man in particular, an employee at my gym (trainer is too generous of a word) stopped me while I was doing squats to tell me: “You should do fewer reps so you don’t bulk up. Women don’t need a lot of muscle.”
I was too shocked (and in the middle of my set) to really respond, so I put on my listening face while I thought to myself, “This guy has no clue. More reps + lighter weight = toning muscle. Fewer reps + heavier weight = building muscle.”
As I mentioned when I reviewed the Nike Training App, I am now finished reading “The New Rules of Lifting for Women” and I really enjoyed it. Since I’m no stranger to weight lifting, most of it reaffirmed what I already had learned, but it gave some great advice and awesome exercises that I’ll be returning to often. I haven’t been able to commit to the lifting routine they set as I’m already really happy with my strength training class 2x a week, but I’d like to fit in another workout and I’ll probably start here.
The author also takes the time to dispel a bunch of myths around women and weight lifting like “women will bulk up like men if they lift weights” (false).
I’m lucky in that I have this platform & the opportunity to share my point of view re: women & muscles:
- I’m definitely not trying to become a female bodybuilder (though I wouldn’t look down on someone else if that was their goal)
- I’ll never be skinny – mainly because my body isn’t built that way, but mostly because I’m not willing to change my lifestyle that drastically and sacrifice the way I eat and enjoy food that much, for the rest of my life. So I’d rather have a larger frame, but toned and I think I’ve found a great, sustainable balance
- women with muscles look healthier than those without, at any weight
- not every woman in the weight room wants to look like a bodybuilder (probably very few of them do)
- building muscle will make most other exercise and sports more enjoyable and easier
- muscles are sexy
- muscles make you feel strong in every move you make, from walking to bending over to having more energy on a daily basis
- keeping muscles takes a lot of work
- lifting weights is fun.
If you’re a woman who has been skeptical or afraid of lifting weights, let’s chat!
This is where I show you my guns. My rockin’ biceps, that is. At least, if I had the courage* to do so, this is where that photo would be. Maybe soon.
*My lack of courage is slightly due to the fact a ton of my colleagues read this site, for testing purposes and whatnot. I’ll get over my hesitation someday. Soon.