1. “Aren’t you afraid of bulking up?”
No, I am not afraid of “bulking” up because secondary school biology taught me I have these things called female hormones i.e. oestrogen, which makes “bulking” up not the easiest feat for human beings of the female kind. Furthermore, unless you’re eating a completely strict, borderline professional athlete’s diet, chances are lifting will not make you “bulk up.” Granted this is a very individual body thing and everyone’s hormone levels differ but please, “bulking up” is very unlikely. Gaining sweet, toned muscles on the other hand is a possibility.
2. “I bet your guns scare all the guys away.”
If you made that bet, you’d probably lose. The funny thing about this I have never met a guy who said, “Oh girl, those muscles, I can’t date you with those muscles.” Granted my last year has been woeful because of injury upon injury but given my other twenty something years of experience on the planet, “guns” have never scared anyone away from me or any girl who lifts I’ve ever known. And if there are guys out there who are scared of a girl with muscles, we’re probably not interested in them anyway so it’s nobody’s loss.
3. “When you stop lifting, all that muscle will just turn into fat.”
The thing is I don’t envision that I’ll be an 82-year old woman still pumping iron but hey, you never know, I wouldn’t rule it out. Still, the great thing about working out in your younger years is you’re doing wonderful things for your body in your later years – your bone health, your skin, etc. is all being worked on. And what about guys? Does their muscle not also turn into fat eventually too? If you stop exercising, your body fat percentage will more than likely go up. And while we’re asking questions about fat and muscle, does that mean that those who aren’t lifting are going through life with unnecessary pounds of fat? (Which by the way, everyone needs some level of fat in their body.)
4. “I feel like you should just do cardio, lifting is for guys.”
This one truly makes my eyes roll because if you’ve played sports or known any girl who plays sports at a competitive level, lifting was definitely part of your training. Sports aside and just for general lifting sense, barring any health restrictions, everyone should do some form of strength training even if it’s with your body weight. I mean push ups which I’ve been doing my whole life never ever get “easier.” You just get better at doing them because you get stronger. But really, society needs to put away the notion that girls shouldn’t lift. Especially for losing or maintaining weight, and to gain the health benefits that cardio can’t give you, lifting is your BFF.
5. “Are you sure you’re strong enough to lift?”
Oh the ridiculousness of this statement. The funny thing is the whole purpose of strength training and lifting is to get stronger. I mean sure it’s nice to want to be toned and what not, but there are ways to do that without actually putting yourself through the uncomfortable but fulfilling exercise that is lifting. No I may never be able to be as strong as a guy with a similar height and body composition but that’s not the point. The point is to be more functional, to fancy yourself to be able to handle many physically demanding tasks, and to feel good.
6. “You’re going to end up looking manly if you keep this up.”
I really don’t think people understand how the human body works – and the differences by sex, and by individual body composition. What are people teaching and learning in school these days? I’ve already addressed that women’s bodies due to our hormones do not even build up muscle as fast as guys, and that looking “manly” would entail a very strict diet. That aside, by this logic does it mean that guys who don’t lift, look “girly?” What happens when you “keep this up,” is that you become stronger and more toned and with the right food and variety in workouts, you’ll probably feel your best at all times.
7. “Girls shouldn’t drink so many protein shakes.”
Well you know what they say about assumptions. I rarely and I do mean I can count the number of times in my entire life I’ve ever consumed a protein shake. Why do people assume that if you lift, you automatically drink protein shakes? I don’t really think too many protein shakes are good for people, and the ones that are, are often so pricey that it’s not even worth it. Eating good protein and enough spinach does the job most of the time. I mean most girls who lift are not trying to enter “world’s strongest woman” competitions, we’re just lifting.
8. “Don’t you want to be skinny?”
There are two problems with this question. First, the assumption that “skinny” girls don’t lift is wrong. Skinny girls lift, period. Secondly, there is nothing wrong with not wanting to be “skinny.” Believe it or not, not everyone has a desire for that body type, and for many people “skinny” is not attainable. Regardless of what one’s body type may be, the goal is to have strong thighs and arms and a firm booty, and to achieve the body type that is your best you, while also not becoming obsessed with how you look. The thing about lifting and I think all exercise is this: How you feel and what you feel about yourself – especially when you look in the mirror – is more important than how others think you look.
9. “You know if you stop lifting maybe you wouldn’t need to eat so much.”
Look I’d understand this if I was constantly chomping down Klondike bars and you were genuinely interested in my health and well-being. But if you see me loading my plate with broccoli and fish, and then loading it some more, don’t be concerned. I am most likely just REALLY hungry. The thing is when it comes to food, I’ve been forced to question everything since moving to the States because of the way food is mass-produced here, with a whole lot of things that I maintain aren’t good for the human body. But back to the main point. Does lifting make one extra hungry? Yes. Don’t worry about it, we know what we’re doing.
10. “You’ll never be as strong as a guy anyway.”
It really shouldn’t be hard to believe girls who lift are not trying to be as strong or stronger than guys. That being said, it always depends on the guy and the girl in question with regards to whom is stronger. Of course guys are generally speaking physically stronger but that shouldn’t keep any girl from strength training. I have no desire to compare my fitness or strength level with a guy. What’s the point? Everyone has completely different body intelligence and capability, and everyone has different goals. And while I’ll never shy away from a challenge, one thing strength training and lifting does is humble you. Because no matter how long you’ve been doing it and how much practice you think you have, there’s always something new to try – something that can make you look like you just started lifting yesterday. Personally, I think that’s a good thing.