Fitness Myth Busting #1
By: Mike Manzi
Woman: “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get bulky and look like a guy.”
Seriously, ladies, if I have to hear this one more time in the gym, I’m going to scream. And not just a Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone scream. I’m talking a full-on, throwing shit, tearing-my-shirt-off-like-Hulk-Hogan temper tantrum.
Because this simply isn’t true!
Let me give you a simple quiz. Relax, you didn’t need to cram for this at all. It’s only two questions.
1.) If I were to call you on the phone, would I mistake you for your brother/husband/etc.?
2.) Have you ever, at any point in time, needed to invest in shaving cream and a razor so you could shave your face?
If you answered a resounding “hell no” to each of these questions (which I’m sure the majority of you did), then relax! This just means your body doesn’t manufacture an overabundance of testosterone, therefore making it just about physically impossible for you to get all “bulky.” God, I hate that word.
Unless, of course, you’re eating 3,000+ calories a day, working out for two hours, and on top of that, taking testosterone-boosting supplements. Which, in that case, it wouldn’t surprise me if you ended up with arms bigger than mine (18 inches flexed, last time I checked...not to brag or anything).
Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s cut the crap and get down to brass tacks. We’ve taken care of the “why,” so now we need to focus on the “how” and the “what.”
I feel like a lot of women out there tend to shy away from regimented strength training programs because they don’t necessarily know what they need to be doing, or how to go about doing it.
Well, last time I checked, this is why I have a job. I like to think I’m pretty good at my job, too, judging by what my clients tell me (you know...in between shouts of “you asshole! I can’t move my legs today!”).
So what am I getting at? Talk to a trainer (like me)! Not only will a trainer show you which exercises you need to be doing, as well as how to do them safely and effectively, but also how to put them all together into a structured program geared toward getting you the best possible results.
Now, if I didn’t give you at least a little shove in the right direction, I just wouldn’t be me. That being said, I’ve always believed that every strength training program should contain these three elements, whether you’re a guy, a girl, or something in-between...whatev.
1.) Squat: In addition to carving out legs that make every other woman in a one-mile radius jealous as hell, a well-executed squat also drastically improves posture and core strength. And I’m not talking about these half-assed, standing-on-a-Bosu-ball-half-squatting-and-doing-bicep-curls-with-five-pound-dumbbells squats (seriously, WTF?). There’s a word for that, it’s called a warmup. No, this is more like what the Rock is cookin’.
2.) Pushups: I don’t care if you’re doing pushups from your knees, pushups with your hands on medicine balls, or plyometric pushups, just DO pushups. You’ll thank me. Oh, and pushups, pushups, pushups. There, I think I said it enough.
3.) Plank: ...or a bridge, or an OMG, I so freaking hate these. Whatever you happen to call them, any movement that forces you to utilize your core musculature to support your body weight is good by me.
I know I must sound like what a foot kicking a dead horse sounds like with all this talk about strength training. But honestly, I have a serious aversion to mediocrity, and it honestly troubles me that so many people are satisfied by spending their time in the gym going through mediocre workouts and getting mediocre results.
Strength training is the one area I see the majority of females either struggling with or ignoring altogether, which is why I decided to start with this issue. And yes, I do write a lot of things geared toward the female persuasion, but since 90% of my clientele is...you guessed it, women, and well more than half of American gym-goers are...again, women, it makes sense.
So, ladies, it’s time to stop messing around with gimmicky workouts you got out of some magazine, and it’s time to start throwing some weight around. Shit just got real.
Mike Manzi is a Certified Personal Trainer and resident smart-ass at LoHi Athletic Club in Denver, Colorado.