I couldn’t have articulated this better myself. I 100% deal with the same struggle except I have, luckily, never had to deal with an eating disorder. I can’t even imagine how that would compound this duplicity of being a strong, meaty lady but still expecting/hoping to see the petite one of yore. And, yes barbellsandsuch, I believe that more of us need to be talking about this. Let us all talk about this.
I’ve been struggling the past month with feeling “bulky”. It goes along with my history of eating disorders. So I did what I do. I stopped eating and I started running. Long slow runs. I stepped on the scale the other day and in a month I’m 6 lbs down. During a strength/hypertrofi cycle.I don’t even know what to say other then that I’m not feeling too great about all of this. I don’t care about the weight, I care about that I had this reaction. And I’m sorta stunned that I didn’t realize what I was doing.
This whole “lifting wont make you bigger” thing is crap. If you’re a small girl, It does, it changes your body composition. If you start a lifting/cf regime because you’re overweight it’s probably different. But if you’re a skinnyass yoga girl you’ll get bigger. You’ll also get stronger and faster but yeah bigger.
Why are we not talking about what it’s like to go from 115lbs to 127lbs in just a few months? How all of a sudden where there used to be a thigh gap theres now muscle. How all that lifting will make you crave foods you haven’t eaten for years. How you’ll be hungry all the freaking time. As in getting up to eat during the night hungry. And what about those obliques and lats who are all of a sudden sticking out at awkward angles. Why are we not talking about what this does to you emotionally in a society where the normative female body is extremely slim?
Don’t get me wrong. Most days I love these changes. I look like I workout, which I do and that makes sense. I know that every single muscle is a testament to my dedication to live a long and happy life. But then there’s those days when I’m off balance for some reason. And someone makes a comment. And I can’t brush it off. Like when I bend over in my bikini and my girlfriends go “DAMN what have you done to your back” or when my dude friends jokingly tell me “I really need to stop lifting” because I’m getting big/make them look bad or when I see pictures of my pre CrossFit self in cute dresses and skinny jeans. Which honestly just don’t look as good on me anymore since it’s clothes made for stick thin. And I look better in other stuff and yes my back is muscular and no I shouldn’t lift less you should lift more. But some days those comments just stick.
And they make me sad, and they make me want to stop doing something I love and go back to training that made me miserable but kept me thin. I don’t think it’s just me who struggle with this. But some times I feel so alone. I feel like there’s no natural forum for airing these thoughts. Outside of the fitness community we have the slim norm and inside it a hypertrofi one. What about the inbetween people? What about those of us who love lifting but still struggle with the norms of the “outside world”? The fitness community needs to start recognising that there is a difficult cultural crash happening between the box and the outside world when it comes to female body image. And all of us; we need to start talking about this. Because even tho I feel alone I’m very sure I’m not.
Elisabeth Akinwale, CrossFit extraordinaire, on the subject of beautiful, muscular thighs and how they make “thigh gaps” silly silly things.
But, even if you’re not fat, if you’re a woman, you’re probably still so caught up with your toxic weight shit that you can’t even see straight. During my working life I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been part of these ridiculous workplace group diets. Almost all of the participants have been women. Sometimes they even try to bribe one another with money. They all put in ten dollars on the first week and whoever loses the most wins the pool at the end of 4 months, or whatever it is. Look, I’m like you. I’ve done it too. And at a perfectly normal, healthy weight I’ve done it. All because of a sick, shitful, ugly little voice in the back of my head that tells me I ought to be smaller.
And that’s the rub, right there. Exactly why do we want to be smaller? What exactly is the appeal of being smaller? How does it benefit us? Does it make us better mothers? Better students? Better lovers? Better artists? Scientists? Friends? Does it make us more badass badasses?
No, no, no, no, no. You must see that it doesn’t. It doesn’t do anything but make us smaller.
Babies and puppies are small. So are dimes and Skittles. You’re a fucking woman. A woman! You are entitled to occupy as much fucking space as you like with your awesomeness, and you better be suspicious as fuck of anybody who tells you differently.
Why, ladies? Why must we continue to whittle ourselves down? Who is it for? What is it for? You can walk through a certain aisle at the pharmacy or at the grocery store and see the language of diminishment all over the packaging for weight loss aids of all kinds. “Shrink your waist.” “Lose inches off your thighs.” “Slim down.” “Get skinny.”
How about “Grow your mind.” “Increase your confidence and productivity.” “Beef up your knowledge.” “Enlarge your scope of asskicking.”
That’s a valid message for women and girls: grow, expand, branch out, open up, get bigger, wider, faster, stronger, better, smarter. Go up not down. Get strong, not skinny.
You are not here to get smaller. You are not here to have a thin waist and thighs. You are not here to disappear. You’re here to change the world! Change the fucking world, then! Forget about “losing a few pounds.” Think about what you could be gaining instead.
Prepare for the clean deliciousness that is this blog by Vanessa Barajas from San Diego, CA. She’s a CrossFitter and says “You gotta eat clean if you wanna train dirty.” I couldn’t agree more.
I, personally, have trouble eating strict paleo, but I do try to eat cleanly whenever possible. That said, humans need delicious comfort food and desserts now and again. This is a great place to find some recipes!
A very interesting read. My husband and I do the exact same workout and I honestly think my health is the better for it.
Interesting. I’m not sure if this is a sure thing, but it’s certainly something to think about.
Has anyone else had experience with this issue?
Yulia Viktorovna Vins, or Julia Vins, as she is known in the online bodybuilding and powerlifting communities, is a 17-year old Russian powerlifter who recently shot to Internet fame after a series of photos showing her doll-like face and impressive physique went viral.
omg she’s a beautiful titan
O___O… holy shit
No comment necessary.
Yesterday, Beautiful Barbarian, Eden, posted this picture with the above caption. She is mom to this wonderful little lad, has overcome some seriously tough stuff and she is a triumphant, beautiful lady. With incredible triceps, biceps and shoulders. And her caption/pic got me thinking.
I definitely struggle with the whole “skinny arm” thing. I see pictures of myself where I’m not employing the little pose of smoke and mirrors and sometimes I just see these big slabs of arm hanging at my sides. Other times, I see the well-earned muscles that make up those arms and I smile. But I definitely teeter between these two. And yet I look at this picture and I only see well-earned muscle and beauty. I’m going to try harder to demolish the negative and embrace the positive when I look at pics of myself. And maybe, someday, I won’t feel the need to prop my arm on my hip to hide what should be seen as beautiful.
In it for Yourself
(Been away for a bit. Summer is crazy. Will be back with more frequency at some point. With more full sentences.)
I was listening to Pandora at work and saw this ad pop up. It got me a’thinking: Why is there such focus on getting healthy and fit form someone else? Shouldn’t you, first and foremost, want to change and be better for yourself? I mean, sure, it’s nice to come home to someone who goes “wow, you look so sexy/beautiful/fit/strong, honey!” but your motivation is askew if you’re only working out and eating well so that you’ll hear those words. You should want to hear those words come out of your own mouth when you catch a glimpse at your reflection or notice that you just feel great after all your hard work.
Surprise yourself with a new body.
Today I competed in my first Crossfit competition with my teammates from CFD Team Bacon. The picture above is just before the first of three workouts. I’m trying to calm my intense nerves and focus on the task at hand. To say I was scared would be an understatement, but one of the things that crossfit and adult life have taught me to do is to face fears and to conquer them whenever possible. Today, I can happily say that I conquered this fear and found that I have the potential to be pretty good at this. While I can credit myself with some of this conquering, I also had the help and support of my teammates, coaches, friends and husband, without whom I would have given up early and convinced myself that I’m not cut out for this. But I could be cut out for this. Today has created this possibility for me.
Embrace your fears, try to conquer them and surround yourself with loving people who have your back always.
Finding your healthiest, strongest self can be quite a journey. I recently received an awesome email from fellow Beautiful Barbarian, Nelly, sharing her journey. Nelly is a fellow crossfitter and has even dabbled in the world of Body Building. She was a vegetarian for 24 years and has recently started eating meat in order to reach the next level in her training to be the strongest Nelly she can be.
For 24 years I could never relate to people and how much they love going out to eat and trying the newest steak house or sea food place. I never felt left out or bad, I just in all honesty hated meat and didn’t care for it.
It is, understandably, a very hard decision to add meat into your diet after 24 years, especially if you were never a fan of meat in the first place! But sometimes a change is required to see the results you want or reach the goals you’ve set.
I recently started eating meat to fuel myself for workouts. With bodybuilding I was eating chicken two to three times a day and believe it or not I didn’t get sick of it for the whole month that I did it. Now that I am not training for that I continue to eat chicken and have recently started eating red meat. It has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do…All of my meat is cooked Paleo and so far I am doing ok. I do what I can and what works for me. I am doing all I can to go Paleo and stay there! I like sweets bread and beer a lot! What I have decided [to do] is to try and eat clean all week and have a cheat date on the weekend but just once not the entire day…A little indulgence is so important though!
A huge change such as this is bound to show results in some way or another, and Nelly’s results are no exception.
I have [hit new personal records] on lifts like you couldn’t imagine! I even shock myself! Could these new [personal records] be because of this new diet or is it because I decided to go all out and if I fail, I fail?
Regardless of the source of these new records and achievements, Nelly’s goal is one that we all share and encourage in each other:
I want to become a better athlete and not just that but become healthier. So far I am doing what I can but just not enough. Life is life and sometimes you just can’t be on point with everything.
"When you fall in love with a human being, it is their heart, it’s their soul, it is the expression of strength through them that you fall in love with. And your only responsibility is to support them in becoming the strongest version of them self. Support them in fulfilling their unique capacity and not [by] imposing your idea of what they should have/be/look like."
Elliot Hulse is the face of Strengthcamp. In this particular video, he’s responding to a guy who submitted the following question (that is really a statement): “My girlfriend looks good, but she could look better!” A wonderful answer/rant ensues. Ladies, surround yourself with men/women like this, please. Get the support you need to be the best you possible. And the second you feel like you’re getting pushed around/manipulated? Walk away.
“My girlfriend looks good, but she could look better!”
Don’t judge a video by it’s title! This is a good watch. Try not to heart this guy too hard. :)
I had a gentleman ask me once how my message relates to men. I responded “how could it not?”. Women represent half the planet: mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, friends, co-workers, aunts, nieces, best friends, wives and more. Pretending like the pressure to be perfect is simply a female issue is absurd: it affects every relationship we have and our impact on the world around us.
We have AWESOME dudes following this blog as well, and it means a lot to have their support and energy when dealing with body issues for women (or everyone). For health enthusiasts, it really shows we’re all on the same side, you know? Male trainers and health advocates have a major voice when it comes to promoting health and realistic goals for women.
(P.S- those eyes).
Ladies with muscles can totally clean up nicely and don’t let any one (especially yourself) tell you otherwise. As evidenced by the above photo of Jessica Ennis, an Olympian from the UK.
Photo credit: Getty PA
Good reality check. Please don’t labor to look like these people because they don’t even look like themselves. Labor to look like the healthiest version of YOURSELF and that should be enough.