A Lion in Iron: Women—Be More, Not Less

TAGS: training women, A Lion in Iron, strong(er), Alexander Cortes

“Oh, I love having a big ass, and I want it to stay big. Just a little harder than it is now. Women are supposed to have curves, you know?”

YES, PRAISE THE GODS!

My newest client said the above during her initial consultation. I was absolutely floored to hear this, as the majority of women with which I have consulted and trained usually have a laundry list of what they don’t like about themselves...along with about a decade worth of diets, fads, and frustrations they can list on command.

This particular client was different, though. She had absolutely no issue at all with strength training, and she wanted to be challenged by the weights. It was an incredibly refreshing experience, and I know that with her eagerness to learn, she’ll succeed with her particular goals.

I wish this happened more often. My male clients always feel empowered when they learn to use the barbell and when they learn how they can be strong. With female clients, however, it’s a battle—everything is a battle. I don’t often train females for this very reason. Historically, there were very few resources for coaches and trainers to draw upon in regards to the female client/athlete. Certainly there was a dearth of anything regarding the psychological component of training, but it’s only been in the last few years that great female coaches have begun to have a voice (the women of team elitefts™ being excellent examples).

Yet, this particular client didn’t have the usual list of hates and frustrations that most women seem to have. She had been an athlete her whole life; she had been strong her whole life.

“Promise me I’m not going to lose my curves?”

“I promise. You’re not going to lose anything. Just add until you are more than what you are now.”

More than what you are now…I wish I could say that more often to women. To be more than what you are, not less. I had a sort of realization after talking with her. Training men...well, men always want to be bigger; they want to be stronger. Even if the primary goal is fat loss, the desire to become strong is a fire that can be built.

For women, though, it’s the opposite. Their whole perspective is based around what they want to get rid of. They want their bodies to be less than what they currently are, not more. The whole female side of the fitness industry has historically been built upon “getting rid” of everything about their bodies that makes them unhappy, which is generally everything.

This has to fucking STOP. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of women thinking they are supposed to be weak. I don’t know who taught them this. I don’t know if it was their mothers, the media, and/or their friends. I don’t know how this started or who started it, but I do know that it needs to end. Whatever it was, whoever it was, it needs to be killed. You are not supposed to be weak. You have the right to be strong.

The body you want is more than what you are, not less. You have the right to make progress. You have the to right to have muscles. Your training is not confined to counting how many calories two hours of cardio can burn. You have the right to add plates to the bar. You have the right to use something heavier than 10s. You have the right to be strong.

You’re supposed to have curves. You’re supposed to have an ass. You’re supposed to look like a woman. Being a woman does NOT mean you are automatically weak. It doesn’t mean you can't be physically capable. Being happy with yourself will never come from the process of hating yourself. I can't say how to go about this—it's different for everyone. But I can tell you that until this change happens mentally, don’t expect anything positive to happen physically.

Your body is not something you are in battle against. It’s not a war that you fight and say, "I won" on the day you’ve dieted down to nothing. Nobody truly “wins” a war. One side just dies more than the other side. Your body is not something you are supposed to set out and kill. You construct something greater out of what you have, not destroy and lessen what you are.

You have the right to enjoy food. Food keeps you alive. You have the right to eat and not feel guilty. You have the right to know that there is no magic diet or special pill or dark secret. The magic number on the scale doesn’t matter if it takes black magic to get it. You don’t learn anything this way, and nothing changes other than an irrational number.

You have the right to be happy with what you are. You have the right to make gains. You have the right to have the same training and education that men have. And more than anything else, you have the RIGHT to be STRONG.

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