On women and fitness goals

In General Posts on August 19, 2009 by Suhaila

Just thought I might tell you (without any ounce of modesty) that:
On July 29th, I did 1 double-under in 5 minutes.
On August 18th, I did 67 double-unders in 5 minutes.
And my shins are still dying from yesterday.

In other news, I feel like I’m being attacked by people who don’t think girls should have muscles. I thought people had gotten used to it until last week, when my mom said that my arms are “bulging”. Now, I know my arms are not quite the same as they were before (sticks, I could wrap my thumb and forefinger all the way around the thickest part with probably only an inch remaining), but they are far from “bulging”. So I wrote this off as yet another one of my mom’s inane comments.

But then the following happened:

  • I forgot my lunch one day and only had $5, so I bought a yogurt cup with nuts and fruit. It didn’t have any protein, so I decided to drink the protein shake that I was planning to have after my workout. This spurred the following conversation amongst the coworkers:

    Person 1: *shocked look* Is that a protein shake?
    Person 2: But you’re a girl…
    Person 3: People only drink protein shakes when they want muscles.
    Person 2: But she’s a girl…
    Person 1: *shocked look* Do you want muscles?
    Person 3: Why would you want muscles?
    Person 2: Girls don’t need muscles.

    It continued for awhile before I finally finished my drink and left the lunch room. Not a nice room to be in. I can’t wait until I can snatch body-weight, maybe next time I’ll be able to throw one of them onto the top of the fridge before leaving…

  • I went to Tim Horton’s with a friend (you know who you are) who, like my mom, also commented on my arms. Seriously, they aren’t big!
  • My pants stopped fitting three weeks ago. I have one pair of jeans that still fits, and one pair of track pants. I could afford to buy one new pair of pants, and, you guessed it, I bought workout pants. So I am left with jeans for work. I would buy more work pants now, but clothing designers don’t seem to cater to the big thigh, tiny waist department.

The above incidents lead me to believe that the world still thinks girls shouldn’t have any sort of muscle. Are we stuck in the 1950’s? This makes absolutely no sense to me. But I’ve been reading a lot of women’s exercise forums and magazine articles and I’ve noticed that regardless of how hard a woman’s training is, she generally trains for appearance. Whether it be to lose weight or to gain weight, to lose fat or to gain muscle, whatever. The most common goals all revolve around losing an inch here or gaining an inch there.

Why can’t our goal just be to get stronger? As women, we need some intense strength, both physical and mental. We need to be able to chase our kids when they run up and down the aisles, we need to be able to lift heavy bags of groceries up and down stairs, and if anything ever happened to our kids, husband, or parents, you know we’d be the first there to try to save their lives. And I don’t think anyone is going to argue about the emotional strength of a woman. So why are all our physical training goals related to appearance? A better goal would be “I want to be all-around physically fit so that I can be the best mother I can be,” or “I want to get stronger so that I can be more confident and not let some guy take advantage of me,” or “I want to be able to lift 150 lbs in case I ever want to give two or three kids a piggy-back ride.” Note the distinct lack of the word “inches” in any of those goals.

If you aim for physical fitness, it doesn’t matter if your arms get big. It doesn’t matter if your pants no longer fit. And it doesn’t matter that protein shakes will make you gain muscles. And who cares if you have callouses all over your hands, if you can grip a bar better than anyone else. If you aim for physical fitness, your body just kind of evens itself out and does whatever it needs to in order for you to get there. So, what are your goals and what are you doing to accomplish them?

(Feel free to leave a comment if you agree or disagree with this post.)

2 Responses to “On women and fitness goals”

  1. Woohoo I’m the first to comment here!
    Lol I don’t see anything wrong with girls having big arms at all! Seriously, it would make house chores sooo much easier and if you’re fit you won’t have to take this breaks in the middle because you’re just out of breath from running around. Now if only I could actually be as motivated as you πŸ™‚
    And I’m sure your timmies friend was just amazed b/c she actually visually saw the difference in you. I’m sure she didn’t comment in order to criticize or imply “yo! waddaheck is up with those arms.” hahaha.. love you πŸ˜›

    • Oh, so that’s what the Timmie’s friend meant! πŸ™‚ Yeah that’s true, but I still don’t do house chores, haha.

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