"Will this make me muscular though?", I'm sure we've all heard of this phrase before. Some students I have spoken to have even stopped doing pole, something that they loved because they started to see muscle definition in their arms and back.
I would be lying if I were to say that I hadn't said it! It was only when I was younger and I remember I was lying down looking straight up at the plates that I was about to bench press I said those exact words and my coach said to me "Don't be stupid Mel, pick up that bar". He was someone I looked up to and it was only then I realized he was right, I was being stupid.
Without going into the science behind why lifting weights is amazing for you, I wan't to talk about the fears and the stigma that is associated with it as I feel this is where the problem lies.
I guess you could tie this blog into my previous one which I wrote about body image and insecurities and how we have been perceived to look a certain way by the media.
For many years it has been frowned upon for a women to have a lot of muscle, or it has not been seen as attractive or feminine. Whilst this is slowly changing (especially in western countries) it is still in the back of peoples minds.
You are most probably here right now reading my blog as this may have applied to you. You may have thought about starting the gym and lifting weights but you were scared that you would get big, or you started training and stopped yourself from lifting heavier. Don't.
1. Firstly ask yourself why do you not want to look muscly? What are you afraid of? Is it because you think that guys won't find you attractive? Because If that's the case, I thought the exact same thing when I first started training.
I was 14 when I started pole and 15 when I started crossfit, I guess it's safe to say I got muscly pretty quick. I went to a mixed school and I would always get comments off of guys regarding my muscly arms and I could feel that girls would also look at me differently.
It is innevatable that people are going to talk about your appearance, whether it's to your face or behind your back. But I chose to ignore it and continued to do what I enjoyed and what brought me satisfaction.
When you choose to ignore comments and what people have to say about you, and you don't give people the satisfaction and power to show that you care watch how quickly the tables will turn.
Remember you cannot please everyone and their 'tastes'. So continue to do what you love and you will attract the right people.
Usually when we start to train it's because we want to look better, to look more attractive, and thats ok! There's nothing wrong with that. But in order to get there your focus needs to shift from relying heavily on your appearance and how much muscle you may put on to focusing on what your body can do, how much you can push yourself because that's when the results start happening.
I was stick thin. There was literally nothing of me, but I aspired to look strong and be strong I wanted to do amazing things with my body. Still to this day I train hard, I am not big and bulky but damn I can lift. I can lift heavy and I love it, I am proud of that. I am proud of how my body has changed, I am proud of what I can do and what I am capable of. Be proud of yourself!
2. Secondly, if you think that when you lift a 12kg dumbbell you are automatically going to look like a bodybuilder, think again. It is extremely hard for a women to get big and bulky unless they're taking a load of gear. The amount of discipline and dedication that is required to even build a decent amount of muscle mass is super hard. You have to be very consistent with your training and nutrition. It is not going to happen overnight.
3. Lastly, If you are trying to go for that 'toned' look then I am going to break it to you now and tell you that you have to lift weights or apply resistance to your body in order to get there.
This brings me to my next question, If you enjoy it then who cares!?
If your muscles intimidate someone, that says more about them than it does you.
Usually when people are intimidated by someone else it's because that person so happens to have an area or quality that they see as 'better' then theirs. I am sure people can be intimidated by an intelligent women just as much as I am sure they can by a physically strong and muscular women it really doesn't matter what the quality is. What matters is that it is not your problem, it's their problem. They are insecure and that is something they need to work on and fix, no one can fix them but themselves.
So, if you are enjoying yourself and training makes you feel confident, good and powerful I guarantee you will love every part of what your body shapes itself into.
On another note do you realize how hot and attractive it looks when you can do cool shit?!
When you're determined to go that extra more, or progress to the next step and work out on a regular basis that already in itself makes you more attractive!
You will walk away feeling super confident and amazed with yourself after achieving something that you never thought you could do!
As long as you are happy with the activity you are doing who cares if you 'look' muscly.
Don't let anyone tell you any different. Hold your head high and continue to smash your goals!