Muscle Myths and Misconceptions

Women come in all shapes and sizes; that is nothing new.  What is a bit more recent, is the shape and size of their muscles.  Social media today showcases fit women ranging from a bikini body all the way to professional bodybuilders.  Sports magazines have shown the more fit, lean, bikini body type over the years.  The bigger, harder muscle look has been a change to the public eye.  Yes, there have been women in body building for decades, but social media and the internet has linked the public eye to the world of women that have a bit more muscle.  It is a world in which a lot of on-lookers see, and quickly make assumptions and have misconceptions.

Being a woman with above average muscle, I can account first hand on some of the misconceptions, myths, and assumptions that people make when they see me.  I will point out only the four I come across the most.  The first one I encounter most often from naysayers, both male and female, is that they make the assumption that I am a man, or perhaps want to look like one.  Second, the fact that I’m big and muscular, I must not be friendly.  I find most times strangers, on simply seeing me, assume I am mean and short fused; that I am intimidating and unapproachable.  Third, that I must want to be single forever, because no man would ever want to feel my body or find my muscles attractive.  Last, would be that I must be pumping myself full of supplements, living in the gym, and not enjoying food, friends, or life in general.  Let me now go on to tell you how I personally face these challenges with this negative stereotyping.

Any woman I know that lifts weights, has muscles, and is above average on her strength, does not do it in hopes of turning into a man.  I laugh when I hear this one.  I can only speak for myself, but I train hard and lift heavy because I truly love the exercise.  I feel so good inside and out after an intense workout.  It has nothing to do with me being masculine.  I am very girly. My favorite color is pink.  I get my nails and toes done regularly.  I love playing with makeup and just being pretty.  I simply prefer to enjoy all that with a nicely built muscular body.  To me, the lines and curves on a fitness woman is incredibly sexy.  Anyone who has ever told me I look manly, or that I must want to be a man, in my opinion, was insecure with themselves and trying to throw their insecurities on me.  Which, guess what?  Most muscular woman, like myself, have confidence built from the hard work it took to look like we do.  I am dang-gone proud of my body.  I built it. When I do get these comments: I either ignore them, smile and walk away, or I simply say thank you.  My “thank you” means: “thank you for noticing my muscles and hard work”.  “Your opinion does not hold any meaning or value to me, but I like that in a public area you noticed me out of everyone”.  I like standing out in a crowd.  It is not easy for a woman to build muscle. I appreciate them noticing my gains.  😉

I think movies and bad media coverage have given bodybuilders, or just built bodies in general, the reputation that they are mean and short fused.  I promise you, I am nothing like the Terminator and going to try to hunt you down.  I have been told many times that before people actually talked to me and found out I am easy going and happy to talk/give advice, they were a bit scared to approach me. They thought I would be rude and annoyed.  This blows my mind.  I do not have a mean bone in my body.  Perhaps they have had a bad experience with another female lifter, but I most certainly try to always smile and make eye contact in public to show strangers I am positive and happy.  My thoughts on facing this one is to be so happy and positive.  Give off the vibe that we aren’t our “resting gym face”.  I can help change the way the world views us.  Actions speak louder than words, as the saying goes.   I intend to show others that muscle doesn’t equal mean.  Some ladies don’t like to be bothered during their training session.  How I handle this is I politely smile, take my headphones off, and let them know I am free to chat as soon as I finish my workout.  Easy as pie to be nice.

I have been told I must never want to be with someone because no man would want to date me and my muscles.  I look at all the different options in the world regarding looks and availability to date.  I sleep soundly at night because I know there is someone for everyone.  I have never had a problem finding a date since being muscular .  There are plenty of men out there who find a woman that works hard in the gym attractive.  A few have told me the discipline it takes to stay fit is attractive.  It shows a woman who is not afraid to work hard and most often, is a direct reflection of all the areas in her life.  As far as the comment that no man will want to be with and feel a woman with muscles in bed next to him, my reply is;  “my skin is still soft, my body is still very much a woman, and I think muscles add better curves to the feminine body to touch and look upon”.  Just as tall, short, fat, skinny woman all find mates – so will I, with my muscles.

Lastly, this misconception is basically people assuming I have no life outside the gym. I hear “oh, you must workout for hours every day and live in the gym. I could never do that, I have work and kids.”  Hate to break it to you, but there is life outside the gym for muscular, fit girls.  I actually have quite a lovely life.  I do not spend hours a day in the gym.  Competition prep is a bit more time consuming, but with day to day living, I am in the gym (lifting and cardio) 1.5 hours max. That is the same amount of time that these other people with excuses will watch TV every night.  I work. I have a social life. I ride horses and play with my dogs.  I see my friends every weekend.  I do very much have a life outside of the gym. I do not pump myself full of supplements. I do, however, eat right and drink a ton of water.  What works to build muscle is patience, to be consistent every week, every month, every year.  Year after year of consistency with diet, training, sleep, and supplements is what builds the body.  I explain to people that doing little things every day is what changes the body in the long run.  It has nothing to do with being in the gym for 8 hours a day.  I laugh at the idea. Who has energy and time to train 8 hours a day?  That would require ample amount of food to sustain that level of training daily.  This is a huge misconception that being muscular requires a “no life outside of the gym, train all the time.” mentality. The only thing that they are correct about is time.  It does require a certain lifestyle over long period of time.

There are so many more misconceptions about women with muscle.  I just spoke briefly on a few that I come across.  Everyone’s path and interactions are different.  My ending words would be: smile, be polite, and don’t take anything personally.  Let the naysayers be negative.  Pay them no mind.  I  will continue to do my best leaving others feeling positive after talking to me.  Be happy, be you.