Friday Roundup: Selfies and Building Muscle

Building muscle means selfies!

My goal with lifting weights is building muscle and strength, but to what end? Definitely for a strong, healthy body, but also for aesthetics.

Building muscle means selfies!I’m transparent about training for aesthetics – it’s one reason I don’t lift for maximal strength very often. It’s more important to me to build muscle than be the strongest chick on the block. Everyone’s goals are different!

I support you in training for aesthetics, too. As long as you also train your back, haha – not just what you see in the mirror – and you rotate in all repetition ranges, your health, strength, and performance will all benefit from training for aesthetics.

These points bring me somewhat indirectly to this week’s roundup: Selfies and changes to my training routine.

Selfie Nirvana

One of the natural outcomes of progressing aesthetically is selfies – taking a picture of yourself in the bathroom because you just can’t believe how good you’re looking. Ha! Selfies aren’t just for teenagers – I see lots of grown ups doing it, too.

I support and encourage selfies, as I talk about here. In fact, you’ll see more than a few selfies on my Instagram account. My selfies document how I’m building muscle and hopefully inspire others. I encourage my training clients to take progress pictures too.

“Selfie” was the Oxford Dictionary Online’s Word of the Year in 2013. Plus, check out this article about a young man I follow:

Respect the Selfie: Why Oxford’s Word of the Year is Nothing to be Ashamed About, by Alan Ali on Diets in

Changes to My Own Training

Moving on, I’ve made several changes to my training the last few weeks that deserve mention and may help you to think about your own training. It’s easy to get seriously stuck in your ways, and I fall into that trap too. Here’s what I’ve changed:

1. No More Gloves. I have worn gloves since the beginning of time, and that’s because I get sweaty hands. I was finally swayed to let them go when I read this article. I’ve started using a Bison Ball instead – a little ball full of chalk that absorbs the sweat (and not as messy as loose chalk). The disadvantages being that I have to carry around the ball bag, but I love feeling the bar in my hands! What was I thinking all those years??

2. Deadlift Touch and Go. Before learning proper form with deadlifts I tweaked my back a few times. Gun shy, I got in the habit of avoiding touching the plates to the floor between reps. But now I do know proper form and no longer tweak my back. I’ve also become more interested in maximal strength and doing triples and singles. Now that I’m doing deadlifts correctly I’m again wondering what I was thinking! But that’s the beauty about lifting – there is always room to grow.

3. Training Frequency. I’ve always hit each muscle group once every five days, yet had a feeling I could see better results with higher frequency. So I’m trying once every three to four days.

The thing that’s super important to understand is that training frequency is very individual. There is no magic frequency for everyone – it varies from person to person depending on your age and how long it takes you to recover (among other things). I am really not sure I’ll be recovered enough after three or four days, so I’m watching this closely. If I’m tired or sore every session then obviously I can’t perform or grow as well.

My suggestion to you is to experiment. If you’re not seeing good progress with building muscle, think about changing your frequency. Keep in mind that most people need at least 48 hours between training a muscle group.

That wraps up another week. Let me hear your thoughts about selfies and what you’re working on with your training!

This article originally appeared on

25 thoughts on “Friday Roundup: Selfies and Building Muscle

  1. “taking a picture of yourself in the bathroom because you just can’t believe how good you’re looking. ” – this made me laugh out loud – only because it’s exactly what happens to me now – A LOT! haha… Taking a selfie and posting to social media takes confidence. A “this is ME and I love ME” attitude. I certainly didn’t carry this attitude during my childhood days – or until I hit my mid-30s; so if selfies are going to instill this self-love into (my) kids, long live the selfie.


    • Hahaha… how amazing that you are THERE and part of the selfie club now. It DOES take confidence, and so does sending before/afters to your trainer who then posts it for the world to see! (Thank you!) I know we both have little girls and I’m with you – I’m just fine with mine posting when that time comes. In fact, I hope she does :).


  2. What an interesting take on selfies…I took just think of them for Hollywood types and teens but you are right, seeing the photographic evidence of your progress is a wonderful way to build self-esteem. Keep the snapshots coming!


  3. I hadn’t heard that selfie was the new word of the year (although that seems just about right for this year!), but I did see another selfie article recently that was pretty critical of them. I don’t really feel comfortable sharing them, but it is an excellent way to track your progress.


    • Right? Some articles say selfies are selfish and self-centered. But I know lots of people on Instagram who post them after races and in daily life even. It’s an upper to see people’s smiling faces, no matter if they’re showing off their biceps or not :).


  4. I think it was interesting that selfie was a word in the online dictionary. It does make sense, because we say it a great deal now. I loved Alan’s take on the word selfie. It makes me stop in think even though there are girls and guys that take way too many selfies for only one reason and one reason only…to show them self off. But it doesn’t bother me. I don’t think about it. I take selfies to show my running or show a new outfit/shoe/sock that I can review for my blog. And then I take lots to send to the man.


  5. Selfie is really the word of the year? Seems about right. I’m not one who enjoys fishing for compliments so therefore I don’t really ejnoy posting selfies. I will however, take them for my own personal growth to show the progress I’ve made and give me motivation but as for posting them up like a trophy… not my style.


    • I hear ya David… Posting pics of oneself can seem like fishing for compliments. I’m not a fan of posting several a day, to be sure. But once in awhile I think everyone benefits from a collective thumbs up. Not everyone agrees though and that’s all good.


    • You actually do better than me because you make videos. How can you be camera shy and do that?? I think maybe I’m the one who needs to get used to the camera… for video purposes.


  6. I got lots of headless selfies!!! 🙂 Like you, I lift for the way I want to look & not for strength or to lift the most I cam – I really could care less about that & maybe why I have had so few injuries thru all my years… 🙂

    I do like gloves because I have such delicate hands – ha ha – no, I just hate all the callouses & stuff – I am fine with gloves & will never take them off.. my hands hurt too much without them – it has nothing to do with sweat.. 🙂

    I do each body part twice a week, always have except with age I do chest only once.. that is fine for me… I do work the buns all thru the week though – old age ain’t nice to the buns! 😉


    • You are the selfie queen sista!!! I love it. You inspire me every day. Loling at your delicate hands comment ;D. Me too! I am not sure I can hack it for upper body day! Callouses help I’m guessing! Lol.

      Interesting you had to cut back on chest. If I had to cut back on something chest would be it (not my fav).


  7. I must admit if you go back and look at my FB personal page there are a ton of them for a few reasons. One, my family lives somewhere else, as do most of my friends, so when I started to lose weight they weren’t around to share in the journey with me so selfies were the best I could do. Secondly I did it for me, having been overweight for so many years I had a hard time with seeing myself. The outside and inside view of my body didn’t match, it was very surreal and from conversations with others I am not the only one who lost a lot of weight to experience that. The more I saw myself as I really am (outwardly) the more comfortable I became in my own body again and the more I learned to trust it to do what I wanted. Sorry for being long winded, but I think it is a celebration and an acceptance. Now I want to get some guns, killer legs, and a killer tush to celebrate too. 😉


  8. I think selfies are a great way to celebrate milestones and measure progress. Somehow I always manage to cut half of my face out of the shot though, so I probably need longer arms. 🙂 At the gym right now, I’m working on primarily body weight exercises for strength. Enjoy your thanksgiving!


  9. I think selfies are an awesome way to show your accomplishments and to visually see where you have come from!! I am working on my strength training lately as a way to build my core and the rest of my body to make myself a stringer runner, thanks for offering your great tips!!!


  10. Thank you for making me feel a lot better about the joy I get from taking selfies. I tried to cool it down for awhile because there is always someone out there who will make you feel like crap about yourself just for simply posting them, but you made it all make sense for me. I don’t post them to make others feel bad or to say I’m the best, but because I am just joyful about my own personal journey! Your wisdom always makes my day 🙂


    • It rocks that it resonates, sista. People don’t get the difference between being full of yourself and proud and joyful, and shaming comments are everywhere on social media. I used to think, “find a receptive audience and stick with them.” But now I believe we should post them anyway and let those who don’t like it unfollow. People especially hate on progress pics on Facebook, I’ve found. I don’t want that kind of audience. They can leave – and they have. If my circle grows smaller because of it that’s ok – at least that circle will be my people <3.


      • That’s such a great outlook. I like that so much about you – that you keep it real. You never intentionally do something to be hurtful or offensive, so if a picture of your progress resonates that way with somebody, they really aren’t worth the time. Keep on shining!


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