If you’ve been reading my blog for anything length of time, I’m sure you knew this was coming eventually.
The truth of the matter is this: most women are terrified to lift anything remotely heavy because they are afraid they’ll be big and bulky. *Sigh*
I’ll start off by stating this fact. A woman I used to train competed in pageants. I’m not talking figure or bodybuilding pageants—think beauty pageants. She competed in the Mrs. Kentucky pageant and won. She later went on to place in the top 10 in the Mrs. Universe pageant.
I’m sure you know that women in those competitions are not big and bulky. They are lean, fit, and sexy.
When I first started training this woman she was a little timid about lifting anything heavy. She cut a few sets short and gave me a strange look when I insisted we increase the weight. If her muscles burned even in the least, she wanted to stop the set even if she could complete five more reps easy.
However, she stuck with it and she trusted me. I still remember the first time she did a tough set of squats. She took the weight out of the rack, and busted out a heavy set of six reps. I could tell she went past her comfort zone on rep three, but she kept going until she knew she had completed the last rep possible with good form.
After she put the weight back in the rack, I saw an amazing look in her eye. Something clicked. It’s like she got the itch to lift heavy and push herself.
Things in the weight room were different with her from that day forward. She wasn’t afraid to do heavy squats or deadlifts. She was able to knock out a perfect set of push-ups. She even started doing bodyweight chin-ups. She made every guy in that gym look bad because she worked harder than anyone.
So, she got stronger. She lifted hard and heavy. You know the rest of the story. She ended up winning the Mrs. Kentucky pageant and placing in the top 10 in the Mrs. Universe.
If lifting heavy and increasing strength helps a pageant winner build a lean and sexy body, what the hell are you afraid of?
If you’re still not convinced, I’ll share some of my personal story with you. A couple of years ago I finally quit training for fat loss. I decided I was going to focus on getting stronger.
I designed my workouts around that goal, and forced myself to have a completely different mindset. My time in the gym would be spent trying to get stronger and improve my performance. I didn’t give a damn how many calories I burned or how high I was elevating my metabolism.
That path was eye opening. I ended up shedding body fat without even trying. My physique has never looked better. I’m strong, lean, and confident. Before I began the quest for strength my bodyweight was about 140 pounds, and I have no clue what my body fat percentage was but it was probably in the high teens.
I ended up competing in my first powerlifting meet this past April and I weighed in at 122 pounds. I would guess my body fat was in the low teens because I had plenty of abdominal definition. Not only did I enter that meet in the best physical shape of my life, but I set the national record for the push/pull in my division. Here’s the video of my 300 pound deadlift.
If you think I am too big and bulky, I don’t know what to tell you. If I look too beasty and make you nauseated; oh well. If you don’t think women can or should get strong, then you may want to look somewhere else.
The point of the previous stories is this: women should not be afraid to get stronger. In fact, they will build the body they desire if they train to improve their performance. You don’t necessarily have to train to get stronger, but you should increase your performance in some way.
Ladies: get in the gym and start improving your performance. And for goodness sake, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and lift heavy.
Men: the same thing goes for you. You’ll be much better off training for performance instead of worrying about how much your muscles will grow. If you improve your performance, you’ll get bigger and stronger.
Men: tell the ladies in your life what you just read. Tell them to put down the pink dumbbells once and for all.