Stay Strong Despite Muscle Naysayers

Stay strong despite muscle naysayersLast week I talked about allowing each other to embrace our desire to look hot. It might seem obvious, but there’s a lot of pushback around training for aesthetics. If you feel comfortable admitting that you do, great – you haven’t bought into the “movements, not muscles” dogma. But these days, there’s so many voices in the fitness world dictating what we should be doing when we need to train in ways that are best for us.

There’s also a lot of pushback regarding women with visible muscle definition and larger-than-average muscle mass. Let’s forget about the idiots who leave comments like this anonymously on a blog:

“You power-hungry sexist bitches and your stupid blogs all over the net…supporting each other, trying to empower each other to be MEN… trying to take away mens voices and take over… trying to have full control over everything… spreading your stupidity all over the net/world. JUST SICK! No wonder why society is so messed up these days.”

Haha, that was just one snippet, though I admit I have never, in the four years of writing this blog, received a negative comment other than this one. Or maybe it just has to be in-your-face for me to see it as negative.

No, instead, let’s focus on the much more damaging effects of hearing a loved one say we’re not attractive anymore because we’re not a “size 0.”

Or that we’re “getting awfully big.”

Or the question, “How big, exactly, do you want to get?”

Or the less-common, subtle insinuation that you’re taking performance-enhancing drugs. (Ha! Sure thing… we are not health-conscious at all, we fit women.)

College-aged women new to lifting are particularly vulnerable in their self-image. Here they are, trying to better themselves by building a strong, shapely body, and their mom gives them grief because they’re no longer “skinny.”

Total crap.

Let me just say that if this is happening to you on any level, stay strong in your convictions and carry on with weights. You will not get “too big.” Clothes sizes don’t matter – muscle is denser than fat and will change the way clothes fit. That is, your clothes will fit better around your curves.

I’ve talked about this here, but when I get help at certain clothing stores and tell the clerk I need a size large, they look at me as if I’m batshit crazy. “You do not need a large,” is the usual response, because I’m rather petite. But my pectorals and lats simply can’t fit into a small or even medium, even though my muscles are not obviously bulging.

Curves? Do muscular women even have soft and feminine curves if they also have some vascularity in their biceps?

They do, actually.

I’ll admit that lacy, ultra-feminine clothes look ridiculous on me and I have to be careful with cap sleeves (er, dem delts). But that’s because I do like looking feminine – some clothes just make me look like a grown-up in toddler clothes so I avoid them.

No, I have many more curves than I did when I was skinny fat, and pretty much everywhere. I already have a somewhat hour-glass-shaped figure and it’s even more so now that I have a butt and a wider back. I feel attractive, fit, and quite frankly unusual in this culture, all because of weightlifting. And I also have a bullet-proof confidence that will last the rest of my life.

So if you’re getting pushback about increasing your muscle mass, breathe. Understand that other people’s opinions really don’t matter when it comes to your body. Hold your head high and let them know you appreciate their comments, but the topic is no longer open for discussion.

‘Nuff said?

Photo Credit: Peter Bellis

This article originally appeared on workoutnirvana.com.

21 thoughts on “Stay Strong Despite Muscle Naysayers

  1. I was “fat-shamed” by a doctor this weekend (not my normal doc). She told me to lose weight and exercise (um, I work out 5 days a week). Because my body type is NOT skinny I probably qualify as “overweight.” Even though I work out as much as I do and lift weights. I’m muscular. I will never be SKINNY.

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  2. Someone actually put that comment on your blog? I think the world is just afraid of strong women – physically and mentally strong – sometimes. If we feel strong, we aren’t afraid to take control of our lives and to speak up for ourselves. Just think how much better the world would be if all women felt strong, confident and capable?

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  3. I will have big delts, veiny biceps and thick legs until the day they put me in the home. And even then I’ll be wowing ’em with walker squats and wheelchair thrusts 🙂 A little dramatic? Maybe. But I take every chance I can get to salute the flag of female muscularity because no matter how many articles and posts I see to the contrary it is STILL such a stigma. Great article Suzanne ♥

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  4. BULLET PROOF CONFIDENCE!!! Weeeee! That is what the weights gave me, or rather, what I gave to myself by teaming up with them, at a time in my life where I was in deep, deep need for healing that area of my life.
    In the negative comment that you shared, there is a lot of fear. That kind of fear has everything to do with the person sharing those thoughts, and nothing to do with anyone else’s choices.
    Strong is grace: mental strength, emotional strength, and physical strength. Keep on keepin’ on…
    PS I have gotten those comments in shops too (and to think I live in fashion and body obsessed Italy so it’s really something.) Around clean eating I’d also get flack, when I’d turn down unhealthy foods, people saying “Oh! Look at you! You can afford to eat that!” What kind of mentality is that? I can only “afford” to eat it because I bust my butt making sure I’m taking in good nutrition! [sigh]

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    • Oh for sure, clean eating can garner negativity too. All depends on where you live and who you’re around. At any rate, you OWN IT, Shelley – keep preaching!

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  5. LOVE THIS!!!! I did my cardio one today on the bashers & I had a weight one in mind too but you have said it well. Maybe I will still write but we shall see… 🙂

    I follow a lot of hard core weight lifters on IG & they get a lot of crap – it is very sad that people are like this! I don’t want to be that big BUT I respect them & they have great exercises & advice. I can tell the “assisted help” vs. not. 🙂 Really nice people! I have used quite a few of their video posts for my own workouts!

    When I was younger & lifting heavier, I got some crap – more than now & really don’t get any now although I know some don’t like as much muscle as I have but I have been lucky not to get negative comments. I just go about my way doing what is right for me! 🙂

    Great post AND I have the same issues with clothes@! 😉

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  6. I love “stay strong and carry on with your weights” – that would be a great bumper sticker for a car. Laughed out loud when I read that one negative comment you received in the past from a very unhappy individual indeed. 🙂

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  7. Some people have nothing better to do than to create drama and negativity. I think we all need to be happy with ourselves and nobody else really matters. We need to like the way we look.

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  8. When others get so riled up that they become bashers and haters, they have basically said you hold a lot of power over them and their emotions. You are in their head. Way to go! Perfect revenge!

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