Women’s Fitness. Why do we need to specify “for women”?
I didn’t sleep a wink last night.
It was so bad, I almost gave up trying and wanted to start writing this at 3:30AM but decided against it. It is going to be one of those days where I wished I had my pot of coffee with me at work instead of a gallon jug. *sigh* At least I got my Valentine’s Day dinner prepped last night and ready to throw in the oven after work today.
[Pork tenderloin stuffed with a mixture of apples, honey, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Shall be topped with a homemade almond butter sauce (ala Paleo Comfort Foods) and served w/ a side of sauteed kale with onion, garlic, and apple chunks with a splash of apple cider vinegar (ala my friend, Katie). That's a lot of apple.]
As mouthwateringly beautiful as my menu tonight is, it isn’t what I want to address this morning.
THIS is. Go read it now, I’ll wait.
Now go read THIS – a follow up post by TG’s girlfriend (who happens to be my new hero). I read Tony’s original article when it was up on FigureAthlete.com. It was one of the first things I read by him, why I started following his blog, and is still at the top of my bookmark list despite the fact that the site has been shut down.
I’m not going to lie, I think I’ve been a little sheltered or desensitized to the concept of “Women’s Fitness”. In recent months, I’ve stopped even looking at women’s fitnessy magazines, I don’t read their websites, and most of my female friends politely nod their heads to my banter without arguing the truth of it.
I don’t weigh myself anymore.
I eat full fat foods and heaping piles of dead animal.
I lift heavy things off the floor or try to push them over my head a few times a week and I revel in it.
Rereading 4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know, some of the backlash in the comments, and Lisa’s response to the backlash reminded me of what I’ve been hiding from. My feelings on the subject?
I was genuinely saddened. Women are taught to be weak. Telling them to do cardio, zumba, body pump, or whatever, is teaching weakness. (NOTE: I realize those classes serve a purpose if they motivate you and keep you accountable when you otherwise would be sitting on the couch.)
They do not teach women how to achieve the bodies they want.
They do not teach women how to move better.
They do not teach women how to build the basic strength to go about their daily lives without getting injured.
They DO teach that women need something separate from men… as if we’re all that different?
Some might argue that there are women who look too muscular for their preference (I disagree, but that is a matter of taste) but the fact is, building strength will not automatically turn you into a she-hulk. For one, strength and size are not proportional. For two, it takes years and years of dedicated weight training in the right rep ranges to build considerable musculature on a woman. For three, it has a mental benefit I would argue that outweighs all the rest.
While my strength is still poop compared to where it was a few months ago, I’m still proud of the things my body does. My physical accomplishments give me purpose every day and have enhanced my life regularly even outside the gym. I have no problem pulling myself up out of a pool, picking up heavy things to help move, carrying groceries, fighting with my dog, or any of the other things I may encounter.
To those that are intimidated by the weight floor, do not be. It is your friend. Additionally, there is no way you could look more stupid on the weight floor than you would doing this:
I’ve said this many a time but I’ll say it again. 99% of the men you see do not know what they’re doing (having a weenie doesn’t give you a free ticket to weightlifting knowledge) and those that do have a profound respect for the women trying. My experience at the gym last night was a perfect example of this.
The floor was a little crowded so I ended up sharing a platform with not one but two big, tattooed up competitive powerlifters. (OKAY I only shared it with one and chatted with the other as we picked up our stuff so he could set up) Pretty much, the type of characters most women wouldn’t want to try weightlifting, perhaps out of fear? Funny thing is, I ended up having more fun training than I have had in a long time. They were SUPER nice!
They helped push me when I got stuck. One let me borrow one of his bands to try. We talked about random stuff from powerlifting meets to roller skating. It was great and absolutely nothing to be afraid of. They respected my efforts (which were *sad* compared to where I want to be LOL) and I, theirs.
To finish, if you need some inspiration, go check out Ben Bruno’s videos from this week. And the other 68 versions of it. There are a ton of men and women in those clips that not only accomplish some incredible feats, but also I would wager look pretty damn good nekked.
I apologize for the slight rambling, discordant nature of this post… I’m pretty much a zombie at the moment.