"It is a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable." -Socrates
If I had a dollar for every time I heard “how do you tone…” or “I just want to tone …” I would have quite an enviable collection of compression shorts. I hate the word. If the word “tone” had guts, I would hate those too. Words like tone, lift, and sculpt represent all that is wrong with mainstream media's portrayal of weight loss and exercise. Such advertising negatively plays into stereotypes and deters women from the type of training that is needed to actually achieve the look they want, the look erroneously described by those insipid terms.
"Me, personally, I prefer terms
that frighten most women"
Words and images play a crucial and deeply subconscious role on our fitness goals. As the media ascribes words like tone, tight and firm to women's fitness with corresponding images of thin women joyously holding 2 lb pink dumbbells doing who knows what move, it simultaneously uses words like cut, rock-hard, jacked in men's fitness with pictures of guys shirtless, letting out bestial growls, working out in grungy conditions and sub par lighting. Not a towel or hand sanitizer in sight. Hardcore stuff right there.
Me, personally, I prefer terms that frighten most women, women who believe as their mothers and grandmothers do, that muscles on a woman are “manly.” Like my mother and grandmother do. Terms, such as swole, shredded, jacked, diesel, built, which you would only be familiar with if you spent more time in the gym than you do on Pinterest. But that's just me. Now, don't be offended. Hopefully, by now you see that I am partially joking. We are all entitled to our body type preferences. The point that I am trying to make is that in worrying about not being too this or that, you will ignore exactly what you need to go from that to that.
I don’t want to point fingers at the cardio bunny whose routine is woefully stuck in the 90's, OK I just did, but in order to experience real change, you must get out of your comfort zone mentally and physically. Get off the elliptical and go to the weight rack. Or in some cases, get off the couch and out of the house.
Change Your Thinking, Change Your Body
- Muscle – Very simply, muscle is muscle. It is neither male nor female (hormones and physiology aside). It contracts, expands, lifts and presses as it is commanded. That means you can easily do the same weight routine as your boyfriend or husband without worrying you will look like him … ever. Well you could look better but I don't want to blow your mind too much just yet.
- Weights – Maybe you aren't comfortable with weights. It seems like people are staring at you. Trust me. Nobody cares. We are all looking at ourselves. Get a trainer. Ask questions. Observe and learn. We've all been there.
- Research – From novice to fitness expert, they all research workouts whether in magazines or online, which saves time and takes the guess work out of wondering if you are doing it right. Some of the best workouts are Frankenstein workouts – workouts pieced together with your own method of madness. Experimentation…its not just for horny college kids. Muahahaha.
- Supplements – Begin asking questions about what supplements like protein shakes, fat burners, and amino acids to name a few, actually do. Supplements are not steroids or drugs but a full range of products that can meet a variety of fitness goals. Think of supplements like turbo on a car. Supplements provide an extra boost when needed most and only work when everything else is in place like diet and training.
- Fitspo – This stands for fitness inspiration. Start gathering pictures of women whose bodies you admire and do some research, real research, not US Weekly garbage, into what they do. Ridiculous crash diets and Spanx aside, many of them incorporate resistance training to keep their shape, dare I say, toned, lifted, and firm.
Throw out those antiquated notions of weight training. You want curves, that stay in place after the clothes come off? Lift. You want tight and tone (bleh, that word again)? Lift. You want a hot boyfriend? Lift. Unleash your inner beast, your sexy swole beast. Don't be skurred.