“Girls should look like girls, with lengthy, slim legs and small waists.”
“Girls who are bulky look scary and intimidating.”
“You’ll hurt your back”
These, are the social stigma I have came across, when it comes to watching a female lift anything beyond 40kg off the floor, or even landing one hand on a rack of weights in the gym. Girls are expected to keep themselves to the cardio machines, and maybe a little strength training with the assisted weight equipment. Anything, but the barbell, or the squat stand or power rack. They’re meant for men, or so they say.
“Why do you even want to do this?” they ask, because men don’t like girls who are physically strong and muscular right.
1. The self-satisfaction
I’m not trying to prove my capability to anyone, and neither am I trying to get a physique to attract anyone. It’s the satisfaction I get, when I set a goal weight and achieve it. It’s a motivation that gives me motivation that goes beyond those walls of the gym room. It’s the sense of victory that reassures me of my capability, because lifting something beyond my body weight used to be impossible, so impossible that I thought it was crazy. And boy, it IS crazy, when you realised that you’ve gotten comfortable with 40kg and you up another 5 or 10kg’s. And then you look back and think, “Whoa, when or how did I learn to do that?”
It has nothing to do with pleasing anybody else. But if a guy comes around, and tell you that you’re a turn off because you ‘lift too heavy’, lift him too, and don’t land lightly. If a man says that, chances are, he doesn’t lift, because one who does will admire you for your persistence and patience. Trust me, he’s just an ignorant prick who doesn’t understand what you went through to get where you are now. Or, maybe an ignorant prick who’s insecure that you’re hot and capable and envious of your strength (LOL).
Imagine, never having to look around for a bigger man when you have a box to move, or two bags of rice, or a pot of plant (if people still shop for potted plants). Imagine, never having to doubt yourself, as you stare at a box that looks heavy. Imagine, just squatting down and lifting it effortlessly, taking it where you want to take it.
There will be a point when you get to comfortable with weight that you just volunteer to lift anything heavy ‘to guess how much it weighs’. It’s easier for you, even in comparison who men who don’t lift, because you know the best way to position yourself, to straighten your spine, and lift from your legs. Which, brings me to my next point.
3. Protection from injury
Yes, we are not built to move heavy things, and we could injure our backs, or displace our joints. That is a true fact, but not if you start slow and light, with unforgiving emphasis on your form. “NEVER SACRIFICE FORM FOR WEIGHT”. That, is the golden rule of lifting, or any form of exercise actually.
So, if you’ve got your form done right, trust me, weight training, if anything, protects you from injury way more than it will ever create it. It strengthens your important muscle groups on your back, your abdomen, your butt, and all around your legs. You will, for the rest of your life, remember to straighten your spine and not arch your back while lifting anything heavy from the ground. You can wake up the next morning, after you’ve moved to a new house, without a backache.
4. Cardio X HIIT X Endurance X Strength training (ALL IN ONE)
All my life, I’ve been sticking to cardio, because it’s known to help in body weight and figure management, and partly because my gym in my clubhouse doesn’t have proper barbells and a proper rack of weights. Also, I was blinded by the prejudice I had for heavy weights, because I thought that they’re for men who want to gain mass and have a thicker body. I was wrong.
You can actually change up your normal lifting routine, and change it into a cardio training session (light weights, more reps, slow, constant speed), or even a HIIT workout (slightly heavier reps, intense, fast reps, with breaks after each set).
I guess I got sold by how popular CrossFit is right now, all over the world. And since I don’t have access to a CrossFit gym, I have (or try to have) my own mini-CrossFit training. I lift, run, swim, do pilates, plyometrics… It all depends on my mood and the amount of time I have, and the weather (LOL). And this fits me perfectly because I get bored way to easily if I tie myself to only one type of exercise.
5. Gaining… MUSCLE
Obviously, you will develop stronger and larger muscle tissues, which, I don’t see as a bad thing at all. Some people like a bit of flesh, some like thigh gaps, some like bones… I’ve been all three, but I am the happiest when I lift three times a week. When I was a cardio bunny, I run almost 5 times a week, and I wasn’t able to finish a plate of fried rice without feeling that all my workout had ‘gone to waste’. I guess that was a precursor to what people call a eating disorder, and I’m glad that I was able to snap out of it before I fall victim to it, because I realised that I was never so unhappy about myself my entire life.
Right now, I NEED to finish my lunch, because without a good lunch, I can’t lift 75kg (LOL). I’m serious.
Food is something that I’ve been passionate for since young. Everyone who knows me well will know that I’m a food enthusiast, be it cooking or baking or eating or food hunting. To me, food it a gift, after surviving throughout the day. And boy, when my relationship with food was rocky, so were my mood and vibe.
And honestly, it’s not that easy to become bulky… Body builders spend hours, everyday, in the gym, doing hundreds of reps, just to get those gains. And we’re talking about guys with way more testosterones running in their veins. I think that they will be extremely jealous if a female like me can gain muscle bulks by deadlifting and squatting an hour, three times a week. And most of the time, my sets only consist of 3-5 reps…
I’m not saying that cardio exercises are lame, or that stationary bikes are for pussies. I respect whatever exercise that you find works for you, but don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be scared just because you don’t know how to do it. People in the gym are one of the most friendly and helpful people I swear. Because they’re enthusiastic about what they do, they are more willing to teach you than you think. It’s like a religion…
Go steady, go slow, go light. Watch some videos, stand between two mirrors, ask for advises and corrections.