My strength, muscles and men’s view of them, seem to be the running theme this week. Why are men still so surprised when women are strong? I’ve had male clients look at me like I’m insane when I do a move or lift a weight that they apparently didn’t think I should be able to perform or lift.
I don’t understand the shock and awe since they know that I exercise for a living! It’s my job to be strong!
I JUST posted a Facebook status celebrating my progress as well as my commitment to my fitness and wellness.
Let’s discuss the part where it says: "Don't put on too much muscle, you'll look like a man”.
The day after this post, I was talking with a guy I haven’t spoken to in years and he mentions he has noticed my Facebook pictures and felt obligated to let me know “you look good but, don’t put on too much muscle, I don’t like that”. Of course I was annoyed.
What I heard was:
“Don’t get too strong because that intimidates me”,
“Don’t get too strong because then you won’t need me to protect you”,
“I haven’t spoken to you in years but I’m still going to tell you what to do with your body”.
To the men that feel intimidated.
To the men that need to feel needed to feel like a man.
To the man that feels he has the authority to tell women what to do with their bodies.
HAVE SEVERAL SEATS!
I would like you take a seat and read this as I explain to you why I train so hard.
I cried 3 times this week. Tears of joy and gratitude.
I cried in celebration as one of my clients, who originally believed she couldn’t run, RAN. She ran and kept up with the rest of the crew. I was so proud I hugged her. I have met many woman who came out to bootcamp terrified that I was going to make them run. Of course I made them run! I helped them face and destroy a myth that they were incapable of running. Running which is taken for granted by so many, is a major fear for a lot of people, but once I help them through it, it changed them it helped them grow.
I cried in solidarity, as my client came to me for help in non-fitness related matter and I had the ability to actually help her. This is a woman who always tries to do everything on her own. She supports all the men in her life unconditionally. Through working together I have been able to help her start to love herself more and I have created a safe space for her to feel that she can ask me for help, and I am honoured that I was in a position to help her.
I cried in gratitude by myself for myself. For my progress both physically and mentally. The barriers I have overcome, the traditions I have broken, and the joy that I feel each and every day. Even though I don’t have everything, I am motivated by my increase in strength.
One day this week, I went into the actual gym to do my workout. I normally workout at home because I have all the equipment I need and I get my workout done faster. It was a Sunday. I was just doing arms, I felt like getting out of the house and I wasn’t in a hurry.
As soon as I walked into the free weight area I felt the eyes on me. I immediately regretted not bringing my headphones, but thankfully I had my hat low over my eyes.
There were 2 young girls in the area but the rest of the lifters in that area were male. But I tried to ignore them and focus on my workout as much as possible but when the two guys on the benches beside me completely stopped working out to watch me do my last set of bicep curls, with weights heavier than they were lifting,I noticed. I made a point of looking right at them to let them know I knew they were looking.
One looked away but the other one just continued to stare uncomfortably. I didn’t let it deter me I just finished up and moved on.
What would be surprising to a lot of men is, I wasn’t doing that weight or that exercise for them.
Yes I am aware that men are going to look, but does it drive me, in any way? Ok maybe a little because I’m proud of my strength. But not because I need his approval or attention.
That’s the bottom line; I lift in order to get stronger. I want to get stronger so that I feel safer in a world that likes its women weak. Which is a much bigger issue that I hope you will start to ponder.
So when you tell me “Don’t put on too much muscle” and I hear “You don’t want me to get stronger” then I realize that YOU are not here for ME.
Think about it. If someone told you not to read, because they don’t want you to get smarter would that be acceptable?
This falls in that same category. If you tell me you don’t want me to put on “too much muscle” (like I know what too much is for you???), you’re telling me that you don’t want me to grow, you don’t want me to be a better me, you want me stay small so that you can handle me.
Let me put you on notice. I’ve already put on too much muscle for you. For this large muscle I exercise daily that resides in my head (my brain) has already outgrown you.
Devon M. D. Jones