So I’ve gone in spurts in my annoyance with the stereotypes that surround female weight lifters. Lately it hasn’t been getting under my skin as much, but yesterday it presented itself in a whole new way.
I am very lucky to be able to lift in a gym that doesn’t have a lot of the average gym goers. Almost everyone that I’ve actually had a chance to talk with at my gym is really nice and typically very interesting. We have a whole group of female, masters rowers. They are a fun group that trudge through grueling workouts together. Then there’s the woman that’s working to make the next Olympic marathon team. There have been college sprinters, a javelin thrower, dozens of hockey players, cops, and even a 27 year old guy with lingering hopes of making it to the NFL. I’d say I fit in pretty well with this group, although I’m still occasionally referred to as “that lady that lifts a lot”.
Yesterday at the gym, I was using the platform next to one of the other gym goers. This is a high schoolish aged girl. (Sadly, I’ve officially reached the stage in life where everyone under the age of 25 looks the same- young.) I’ve never talked with her before, but I knew that she was a competitive Olympic lifter. I have no idea how long she’s been doing it, but I have heard she’s fairly good at it. Yesterday, she struck up a converstation. She’s a pretty chatty young girl so we talked about some people at the gym, how hot it was in there, etc. Then she asked what I did, “do you do the same thing as me?”. Nope, I’m a powerlifter- squat, bench, and dead lift. Personally, I think I would kill myself if I tried to be an Olympic lifter. Again, i’m seriously lacking on the coordination front. A few minutes later (the dynamics of inter-set conversations), she asked how my fiance (okay, okay so I might have been showing my ring off around the gym before my workout) felt about me being a power lifter. I’ve been asked this question many times, but it’s usually phrased in more of a “I bet you wear the pants around the house” sort of way. I felt like this question was different. So I spoke from the heart. “He likes it, I think. I’ve always been somewhat athletic and he’s always supported me. And I think he like how I look- that’s always a good thing.” She kind of lit up at that last part. “That’s good!!” Then she started to tell me about how people tease her at school because she’s a weight lifter and tell her that she’s going to start to look like a man if she keeps it up. She sort of played it off like it didn’t bother her, but I’m not sure if that was 100% accurate. She also said that her boyfriend likes how she looks, which was good. And she said that some of the other girls she lifts with are really pretty. Actually, her exact words were, “I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of those girls in a magazine!” How cute. So I gave her a few of my go-to arguments for the nay-sayers at school (of course some female weight lifters look like men….they’re injecting themselves with male hormones!!!!) and sent her on her way. I don’t mind so much when people make inaccurate assumptions about me, but give the kid a break. She’s good at what she does, and I really hope that some ignorant teasing doesn’t get in her way!!!
It’s funny that more they start to look like men, the harder they try to look like women- more make up, bigger hair, skimpier clothes, higher heels. Nice try, but…….give it up honey.
I did my usual 2 workouts in 12 hours gig on Thursday and Friday. Ugh. Thursday was a wimpy squat day- 5×3 at 175 pounds. I did it without a belt just to get a little more out of it. Then it was “speed” deadlifts- 10×1 at 150 pounds and front squats- 3×8 at 115 pounds. Despite the fact that this workout was easy peasy…it left me with some of the worst toe and foot cramps I’ve ever had. Even my arches were cramping. Seriously….it sucked. Luckily, they were gone by Friday morning when I headed back to the gym for an easy bench day. Speed bench- 9×3 at 95 pounds and 1×3 at 135 pounds. Then some incline bench, dumbbell rows, and a set of dips 1xfail. I got 20 dips before quitting. I might have been able to do a few more, but it was getting pretty tiring. And that was it….another week down.