Have you ever met someone and automatically assumed things about their lifestyle based solely on their looks or their job? I, shamefully, have done this. And I used to do this with some of my co-trainers that I worked with upon meeting them. Once I heard the word “bodybuilding” come out of their mouths, I automatically assumed lots of things that I now know were not true at all. Now that I’ve done bodybuilding (who isn’t always working on building their body, by the way) and lifting heavy for about 3 years now, I think it’s important for everyone to know what is TRUE about most chicks who lift. After reading this list, think to yourself what misconceptions you used to believe about girls who lift heavy in the gym. Let’s work on dispelling these myths to the general public so they know the truth about what it is to be a female who just happens to lift really heavy.
1. We didn’t grow muscle overnight.
I think I may have assumed my bodybuilding and figure competitor friends just took a few months to grow muscles. I was very naive and thought “They just must lift super heavy for a low amount of reps and just grew that muscle in a day or two.” Isn’t that how we all wished it worked?
The truth is, it can take months and months into years (yes YEARS) to develop a body ready for the stage or just a body that we feel is strong and muscular. Even if you aren’t competing and just trying to add size to your frame, it’s so much more than just lifting heavy. Diet is a huge part of getting HUGE. And figuring out the combination of lifts and foods to help build that bod takes time. Patience is key to any physique goal of course, but I think many people incorrectly assume since they see people do crash diets and weight loss competitions on TV, they think to reverse that and put on muscle must not take very long either. The truth it, to lose fat AND to put on muscle are both long processes. If you want to do it in healthy way that you can maintain, it will probably be slower than you originally thought.
2. We don’t eat pop-tarts/cap’n crunch cereal/skinny cow ice cream everyday.
Let’s blame social media and especially Instagram for this one. Too many times I’ve seen people only post photos of their post-workout snacks and yes, if you’re trying to add size, low fat carbs are going to be a staple in your meal plan. Heck, even if you’re not trying to add size and just lifting weights you want to give your muscles carbs to grow! But somewhere along the line people completely misconstrued that idea and got all excited or accusatory and assumed chicks who lift must be eating nothing but junk all day. I can tell you right now most women who lift heavy like to enjoy their post workout snack. Plain old protein shakes get REALLY boring after a workout, let me tell ya. It’s nice to be able to get a little creative with your carbs and snacks so yes, we enjoy these treats AFTER a workout. But it’s not like we sit here eating pop tarts for dinner (But that would be AWESOME if we could.)
3. We lack confidence in the gym sometimes too!
It takes awhile to develop the confidence needed to just step into the weight room and get after the iron. Most commercial gyms CAN be intimidating, even to females who are always in there. And guess who intimidates us? No, not the men.
YOU! The other women! We see some females kicking total butt in the gym and we’re like, “YEAH! Rock it girl!” But sometimes it’s a little intimidating to see someone who is stronger than you doing a lift with twice the weight that you normally do. So guess what? We can get a little envious of other females too. I like to think that most of the time we have this silent acknowledgement of other chicks every time we see each other in the weight room. And that’s probably true 99% of the time. But once in awhile, just for a brief moment, we get a little intimidated too. It usually drives us to perform even better and maybe add a little more weight to the bar just to prove to ourselves, that “YES, I’m strong too! I might not be able to squat 120lbs like that girl over there but darn it, I’m going to keep trying!”
4. We don’t lift everyday for hours on end.
Ever hear the phrase: Work Smarter. Not Harder? That would be chicks who lift.
Women who understand the importance of rest and recovery know how often to lift and for how long to make their sessions. We also know it’s key to get plenty of sleep and days off to allow our body to grow and stay healthy. Yes, some days we might spend a little longer in the gym than others depending on where we are at in our programs. But we don’t spend hours there like many people think. Who has time for that?! We like to get in and get out. It’s just that we might enjoy the actual process more than the average gym-goer. We might like that feeling of setting a PR on the bench or with our squats. And yeah we might post a gym selfie here and there but it’s just because we LOVE to see the changes in our physique. But understand that making your workouts effective does not mean make them last for hours.
5. We don’t hate cardio.
Again, just because someone lifts weights doesn’t mean that they never ever do any form of cardio. We know when to implement it into our programs (usually when you’re leaning out). But cardiovascular activity is great for your heart. And if working up a sweat equals cardio, well then there’s plenty of metabolic workouts that we can do to accomplish that. And those are actually even more fun than lifting. (Okay sometimes they are pure torture, but in my mind torture equals fun!).
We also do not put down other women who like to do cardio. If you like to run, sign up for a 5k! If you like to swim, get in those laps! If you love the elliptical….ummm..keep ellipticalling! :) You should never look down on someone just because “all they do is cardio!!” If you see a woman, or you are friends with one, who just seems to do the same boring cardio routine in the gym, why not be the person that introduces her to the weights? I know from experience that most women who stick with the cardio equipment is because that is all they know. And the weight room really scares them because they don’t know what do. Educate them on lifting. Or introduce them to the Personal Trainer on staff there who can at least walk them through the basics. Cardio Bunnies and Gym Rats unite!
6. We hold other interests besides the gym
All this talk about weights and lifting and setting PR’s….Do we do anything else besides live in the gym?
YES! Yes we do. I think most women will tell you we love FOOD and COOKING almost as much as we love lifting. I know plenty of women who compete who hold other interests. I know plenty of women who love to workout but make time for other activities in their lives as well. Let’s face it, working out is considered a luxury these days because many people have jobs and families and financial responsibilities and sometimes their health falls to the wayside. But it’s important to keep your health a priority. As I already discussed earlier, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the physique you desire. But everyone’s health, regardless of physique goals, should be at the top of the list of priorities. The gym does not run our lives, but it needs to be a part of our life. And yours!