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Being afraid of Bulk – It’s all grey


Then why are so many freaking women so afraid of lifting weights?

Because we aren’t logical when it comes to how we look?

Possibly. I know Ryan would probably say that most of the time my emotions more than my brain dictate how I feel I look.

But so then what keeps convincing us that we will get bulky, if that belief isn’t at all logical?

What makes women shy away from lifting heavy even when they KNOW logically that they don’t have the hormones/eat enough calories/lift enough weight to become big and bulky?

I honestly believe it may be our definition of femininity. It is this standard that irrationally makes us fear anything that might take us away from this traditional belief.

I mean really think about it….What words do you associate with feminine? Or even masculinity for that matter.

Feminine – gentle, sensitive, thin, empathetic, caring, compassionate

Masculine – strong, competitive, virility

I know these are generic, but let’s face it….They are to some great extent what most people truly believe.

We like things in black and white – female or male.

We fear the “grey areas.”

And to be a woman who lifts weights…well that area is still grey.

It’s still emotionally  a struggle because it goes against things we’ve been indoctrinated with since we were very young.

I mean shoot, you say to a woman, “Wow your arms are jacked.” Or “Wow your arms are toned.” And I guarantee she will  go home and stare in the mirror and wonder if she is bulky. She may even be so offended by those comments that she cries or turns to friends to tell her she isn’t bulky. (Trust me…I’ve had friends do this).

Even I’ve had moments of being illogical. I’m sure every woman has.

It is hard operating in a “grey area.”

But we can’t give in to that ILLOGICAL fear that we will become bulky.

We can’t give in to all of those freaking people who seem to keep spewing the “Women who lift heavy look like men” phrase.

Because the simple truth is we don’t.

And we never will.

Because even though we may lift like men, we don’t look like them.

(Of course there is still something wrong with the fact that lifting is defined as masculine, but that is a topic for a different day.)

“I thought it was a man writing this…”

I submitted my Primal powerlifting success story to Mark’s Daily Apple because of Ryan’s encouragement. And yesterday the story was posted on Mark’s site.

I honestly wasn’t sure how people would respond and was a bit nervous to have my story somewhere other than Man Bicep. I thought people would think it was cool or a bit different from the usual success story, but I never thought people would assume I was a man.

Actually I am very amused by how many people first assumed it was a man’s story until they saw the pictures.

It made me think about how conditioned we are to believe that men lift heavy weights, but women don’t.

I mean people even just assumed I spelled “fiance” wrong instead of thinking that I was a woman…and honestly I can’t blame them.

We all view life through a lens – a lens which is developed based on our own experiences and the influence of mainstream media.

And let’s face it, most women don’t lift heavy. And most mainstream media tells us that women shouldn’t even want to lift heavy unless they want to bulk up.

Most media sources tell women to avoid super low reps so that they aren’t training for hypertrophy (to make their muscles bigger). Instead they are supposed to stick with higher reps and use “challenging” weights.

While yes, there are some outlets out there that are trying to change this female phobia of heavy weights, things are changing slowly…very slowly.

I still train women who don’t want to lift too heavy because they don’t want to get bulky. Of course I slowly trick them into lifting heavy, but at first they really refuse.

I even had one client tell me she was getting bulky from doing too many push ups…from her knees!!! WHAT!?!

I try telling them that there is no way that they will bulk up. I even tell them that I’ve tried and it just isn’t possible, but they don’t believe me. Too many mainstream media sources telling them something different.

I’m just hoping more women who lift heavy come forward and share their stories and pictures so that people stop assuming that any story about a heavy lifter is about a man!

Join the Man Bicep movement ladies! Flex those biceps. Invade the weight room floor. And look sexy while doing it!

Fear – Is it keeping you from the weight room floor?

I’ve never been afraid of looking stupid while working out at the gym (it’s probably partly because I look like a goofball no matter where I am but…). I’ll try any exercise even if it looks like I’m humping a bench (of course I’ve also had no desire to do crunchy frogs EVER again).

But some people are afraid of looking stupid while they’re at the gym. They are afraid of being judged. I’ve found that this fear of being judged is actually the main reason most women won’t step foot on the weight room floor.

Women see the weight room as dominated by men and they think that those men will judge them if they lift. They think that men will be watching everything they do.

Trust me…they won’t be watching you. That is of course unless you have a very low-cut shirt on or are only wearing a sports bra or something that is sexy. Then yes…they will be looking at you, but then again they were probably already staring at you on the treadmill.

Anyway, men really aren’t watching women lift unless of course they are lifting a ton of weight like the Man Bicep Sisters! 😉

Most men are watching other men or themselves in the mirror. They are comparing themselves to other men. They want to bench or squat more than that other guy.

Sorry to break it to you gals, but most guys really aren’t paying much attention to you.

If knowing this doesn’t help you get over your fear of the weight room floor, maybe working out with a friend or trainer will. That definitely helped Candy! I mean just look at her biceps now! 😉

I think it has also helped a lot of my clients feel comfortable in the weight room. I’m positive I’ve cured a few of them of ever being afraid of being embarrassed by making them do inchworms across the gym.

Crawling around a gym and sticking your butt up in the air…can’t really get more embarrassing than that…except for maybe making them do crunchy frogs (but these are so embarrassing in fact that I can’t find a picture of them!).

Once you’ve done an embarrassing exercise, you really seem to get over your fear of people judging you in the gym. AND it definitely helps to have a trainer or friend laughing with you as you do the funny looking exercise!

Fear can keep you from accomplishing a lot. And I know there are lots of other fears surrounding lifting – such as a fear of failure – but those are topics for another day.

Today just get over your fear of lifting! Don’t worry about looking silly. I mean let’s face it…at some point we all do!


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