big girls - big weights

Sorry ladies, but I have to say it. You're plain weak. The far majority of you are, anyway. Hear me out, though. You still got the eye of the tiger, fighter, dancing through the fire.

I'm calling you out regarding physical strength; the ability to accelerate mass. And sure, some would tell you there's more to life than generating a lot of force...But seriously - many of you want to be faster or jump higher or go further. Most of you want to look good and function well. None of you want physical activity to hurt.

Some of you know that strength is important. But the Pilates, the yoga, the Zumba, the machine-based training, the toning circuits, and the spinning are not cutting it. I'm not saying these things are inherently bad or worthless. What I am most definitely saying is that these inadequately transfer to functional strength that makes a difference when you go to run, jump, cut, lift, and carry things. The years have showed me that it's next to impossible to become functionally strong with these alone.

I see the evidence every day, women who claim to be strong but they're not. We're not talking about hundreds of pounds on a barbell. Most cannot control a basic squat or lunge or jump without their knees buckling inward. They cannot lift 10 pounds off the ground or perform a high step up without their lower back bowing or hips jutting sideways. Most cannot do even one solid push-up with their shoulders in proper position and without their core crumbling, much less a chin-up.

The great news, ladies, is that physical strength is a state of mind! I caught Maggie dead lifting (close to) her bodyweight in the basement last week. Then I asked her a question.

Maggie has never heard that she needs to stay toned. In her mind, pink two pound dumbbells are for babies - her two year-old sister. And she's right. I hope that some day, if she cares, she understands that muscle toning is a myth, that having muscle tone first requires having muscle. Maggie hasn't been told that weight training will make her legs look big. I hope she really doesn't care about the size of her legs.

Maggie hasn't yet heard that heavy lifting is for nose tackles and shot putters. She already understands that heavy is relative. I hope she doesn't experience the alternative that many women and men learn the hard way; the cycle of eating less and less to maintain a caloric deficit and in the mean time feeling and looking utterly deflated. 

Ladies, there's no reason why you cannot be strong. Getting strong is not rocket science. It doesn't demand enormous chunks of time.You can (and should) keep with the activities that you enjoy. Big girls have much to gain by adding some focused strength training to the weekly routine.

And I grieve the day Maggie learns that you don't work out in your jammies. 

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