Goals are an interesting thing, but always a personal decision, and no matter what your goals are – if you achieve them – no one should be able to scorn you for them.
That was what I thought when I saw the above image on Twitter yesterday.
The photo was posted on a supplement company’s Twitter page with the caption: “What do you think of this athlete? Too much, or just right?”
I was glad a see a range of responses from “too much” to “I wanna be like her when I grow up!” This really got me thinking about the attitudes towards women and their physique, and even my own feelings towards the subject.
I remember as a kid seeing an extremely muscular woman and thinking “that’s weird.” Of course, my opinion is completely different now, but many people still shrink at the idea of a woman hitting the weights rack, and some with the goal of stepping on stage as female bodybuilders.
These people, I feel, are exceptionally narrow minded, and are harming the progress we have made in our attitudes towards women and body types in general.
Pictured below is the 2013 Olympic Weightlifting Super Heavyweight Champion, Tatiana Kashirina. At 23 years of age, she weighs 103kg, and holds the world record for the clean and jerk at 190kg, as well as the snatch world record of 151kg.
Now, this begs the question: what do you think of this athlete? Too much, or just right? The answer: who actually cares?
We all have goals in life, and everyone’s goal will differ. Some strive for big muscles, and to look aesthetic. Others seek to be strong and be able to clean and jerk 190kg.
Furthermore, we all have different opinions. You may not think the photo at the start of this blog is “aesthetic”, but others will, and probably she does too.
What is problematic about stereotyping women as having to look slim and dainty, is that it can put women off participating in resistance training (weight training).
“But I don’t want to get, like, massive…” I heard one girl say at the gym, when talking to her friend about doing squats. The short of it is: you won’t. Let us be honest: us guys have trouble getting swole, let alone a girl trying to do it.
It is very important of girls to do some sort of resistance training, even bodyweight stuff. Resistance exercise is very beneficial for bone, ligament and tendon strength, which are important for all of us.
Having enough calcium in your diet, combined with resistance training will help tackle the problem of girls having very fragile bones later in life.
Furthermore, resistance training helps burn fat. Big movements like squats and deadlifts are great for burning fat and building muscle. If you are looking to lose fat; lift weights! More muscle mass means higher metabolism, meaning it has a much more lasting benefit on your fat loss goals than any crash diet EVER would. Note the word fat loss; you may gain weight, but that will be muscle weight.
Also, when girls talk about “toning-up”, they imagine very light weights for a lot of repetitions, and lots and lots of crunches. This is wrong. Heavier weights for lower reps will do far more toning, and using compound lifts like the deadlift will build a strong core and help get that toned tum.
In the end, it is all about effort equaling results. If you don’t work hard; you don’t see results. The two women pictured in this blog have worked hard and are reaching their goals because of it.
Everyone has to change their attitudes towards female lifters. It is happening, and that is great to see, but let us not see someone actually asking whether someone’s physique or shape is “too much, or just right.”