Monday, August 9, 2010

February 22nd, 2009 at 1:17 pm

The toning problem: why women are missing out when it comes to weight training

I have lost count of the number of women who say to me, “I don’t want to do weight lifting, I just want to tone up a bit.” I am sure that many of you have heard the same sort of thing and as people who understand the benefits of weight training you want to be able to change their minds. But how do we do it when the myths and negative images around weight training are so deeply embedded?

“There is no such thing as ‘firming and toning’. There is only stronger and weaker.”
- Mark Rippetoe, ‘Sex, Appearance and Training’, Crossfit Journal May 2007

Weight training gets a very bad press and yet it is an incredibly beneficial thing to do. Alleviating back pain, making it easier to burn fat, improving flexibility and posture, increasing strength and bone density, increased confidence – these are some of the great benefits.

If someone wants to run or cycle or play a running-around sport for its own sake I have no problem with that – heck, I belong to a running club myself. But if women are only getting into running or aerobics or pilates because they think it will make them healthier or thinner, then that is a source of frustration because they are only tapping into a limited area of exercise which will not necessarily result in well-rounded fitness and is not ideal for many people.

I have said before that I no longer believe that the simplistic argument that weight training makes you look good is effective. I don’t want to appeal to women on the level of image, for two reasons. Firstly weight training has so many negative images associated with it that it’s difficult to overturn these with mere words. A woman called mae on a strength training message forum once wisely pointed out:

“Any female who expresses concern about getting “bulky” has seen a woman she considers bulky and knows that she doesn’t want to look that way. And everyone has their own idea of what “bulky” means: while most people on this forum would disagree, there are plenty of girls who would say the Crossfit women are too bulky. In other words, women are capable of getting bulky–it just depends on how one defines “bulky”.

squat girlIn fact most people look much bulkier in the gym than they do on the street. Tight fitting gym clothes and muscle pump can make you look very different, as any fitness model knows! The same woman who seems ‘bulky’ in the midst of a workout will look fantastic in a little black dress at a party.

Nevertheless it is difficult to argue that weight training won’t make you bulky when for years the industry has been selling itself as doing just that. No matter that the industry made promises it couldn’t keep and many of its stars were on steroids – this is the image that people have been left with and it is incredibly hard to shift.

The second reason is that what people will do to themselves for the sake of looking good is not the same as what people are prepared to do for health and fitness. For example there will always be some women who are prepared to starve themselves or go on fad diets in order to look better, but I believe there are higher numbers of women these days who want to eat better in order to increase health, longevity and resistance to disease.

Likewise there is potentially more mileage in teaching women that weight training is good for them, than in trying to persuade women that weight training will make them look hot. It will – but most women will only be persuaded of this after it actually happens, not before! In the meantime, the argument that they need to do weight training for health could bear more fruit.


There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to look good, but it is a pity if this is the only aspiration, especially for the younger generation. I would like to think that women can aspire to be healthy, strong and athletic in the same way as many men do.

Women have shown that when they take on the traditional male preserves, for example in business, politics or academia, they can not only be successful on a personal level but can change society’s perceptions and move things forward. I believe that strength training is part of that change too. In fact it is one of the few untapped areas of life where women are still considered to be virtually incapable. We’ve got our degrees, we’ve built the high-flying career and we’ve run a marathon – why the hell aren’t we getting stronger too?!

It is important for trainers and instructors to help break down the mental barriers by giving their clients the belief that they can do things. My sense is that many fitness professionals all too easily give in to their clients saying “I can’t” or “I don’t want to”, presumably for fear of losing them as clients.

Yet women who would think nothing of picking up a child who weighs 20kg are told they are not strong enough to handle an olympic bar (this happened to me a few years ago). Most women would be pushing more weight if they did bicep curls with their one year old baby than with the pink dumbbells they pick up in the gym, since a one year old weighs about 9kg.

But imagine the joy and sense of achievement that a client can experience when they do shift something heavier than they thought they could manage. Surely it is the role of any personal trainer or fitness instructor to help their clients achieve something they could not do on their own.

The next big thing?

I believe strength training is the undiscovered ‘next big thing’. We’ve seen amazing strides in public health in recent years, from reducing smoking to healthy eating and encouraging exercise, albeit only a particular form of exercise (low intensity cardio).

But there’s an unacknowledged secret to real health and it is strength training. I am not talking about lifting a 3kg dumbbell because you think it will ‘tone’ you, I am talking about the aspiration to be stronger and the desire to train in a manner than sees results and progression in terms not just of shape but of strength and health.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How to Overcome Fear and Doubt and Get Anything You Want In Life

Great Post by Bedro Keuilian

Posted on November 3, 2009 By Bedros

Fear and doubt are a bitch. naked-runners

If there were ever two elements in life that would guarantee that your life would suck ass, that you’d experience zero success in anything you do, and that you’d be miserable in every way - it’s the feelings of fear and doubt.

Most people experience fear and doubt throughout life.

It’s normal…

It’s part of life…

And I bet head shrinks would even say SOME small levels of fear and doubt are healthy.

But if you ask me what the top two reasons are that destroy dreams, kill ambition, and stop most people from getting what they want in life, I’d tell you it’s FEAR and DOUBT.


And even a little is too much.

Here’s what happen…

A dude see’s a girl he likes. She might like him, too. But his fears and doubts override his logic and desire to get what he wants and he never asks her out. Disappointing himself and her.
You have an idea for a business. It sounds like a winner. But when it’s time for the rubber to meet the road you start thinking up all the POTENTIAL problems your business might experience and the risk that comes along and so you scrap the idea. Leaving yourself and starving market place disappointed.

Variations of the two examples above happen hundreds of times each day.

- I want to start this awesome business – but I don’t have enough money.
Bullshit! You’re afraid of failure. Afraid of hard work. Afraid of going broke.

- Just as soon as I get a better job or get that raise I’m going to start saving up for a home.
Bullshit! You don’t think you deserve a home. You’re afraid that you might lose it. Cause if you REALLY wanted that home you’ll find a way to make that increase in pay happen TODAY.

- I’m going to start exercising and watching my diet as soon as I get my business in order, or get over this cold, or when January rolls around.
Bullshit! You’re afraid of change. You doubt you can take and keep it off. You don’t think you REALLY deserve it.

Fear and doubt are the two most limiting emotions EVER.
And for some reason folks live in this super heightened state of fear and doubt NOW more than ever.

Let me draw you a word picture of what happens when you let fear and doubt creep into your head.

It all starts with the thoughts that occupy your mind.

First the negative self-talk begins (sometimes without you ever consciously knowing it).

The negative self-talk leads to limiting actions and behaviors.

The limiting actions and behaviors lead to self-sabotage and a sorry “attempt” at doing something good for yourself.

And nothing feels better than saying “I tired but it didn’t work out” when really you had programmed yourself to fail along.

But self-pity feels good. It makes it “not your fault”. And so the cycle continues.

Like I said…

…FEAR AND DOUBT ARE A BITCH and they create a vicious cycle of failures in life.

But there is a way to overcome fear and doubt and get anything you want in life. fearless1

First you gotta know where both of these crappy feelings come from.

FEAR, when you distil it down to its core is UNCERTAINTY.

DOUBT, at it’s core level is FEAR OF FAILURE.

Take a look at the state the world is in today. The global wars, the economy and the scare of sickness (like swine flu) have people living in UNCERTAINTY and in FEAR OF FAILURE.

But like I said there is a way to overcome this bitch and get anything you want in life.

Check it out… it’s easier than you think.

How to get over the fear of failure and uncertainty.

Are you ready for this?….

Here it comes…

seal1Fail more often! And when you do get up, look fear in the eye and try it again.

I don’t know crap about baseball. But I do know that Babe Ruth struck out WAY more times than he hit home runs. But everyone knows him as the homerun king.

Everyone knows Trump as the successful real estate mogul. But if you read his book you’ll see he fail several times – BIG – and at one point had a NEGATIVE net worth of $900 MILLION with dozens of bankers on his ass.

What if Trump stopped there?

What if Babe Ruth dropped the bat and walked off after his first strike out?

Fear and doubt are the two most TOXIC things that can occupy your mind.

Here’s an exercise to help you overcome uncertainty and fear of failure – which is basically what fear and doubt really are.

Let’s say that you’re trying to do something big for yourself.

For example, lets say you’re trying to open up a personal training studio. The idea of taking on so much risk is scary.

Throughout the months fear and doubt might creep into your head several times. And when they do you gotta take immediate action to squash’em.

Here’s what you do… Find something that brings you some level of fear or doubt when you think about it. BUT it has to be something that you can overcome RIGHT NOW and not months from now when a project is done.

Example: skydiving might freak you out. GOOD…look at it in the eyes and go out, pay the $400 bucks and do it THIS WEEKEND. arested

There are a lot of things you can do RIGHT NOW to overcome fear and self doubt. Even if you gotta walk naked across a major intersection –do it. (but don’t call me if get arrested.)

My point is this. The minute fear and doubt enters your mind about anything, go out and do SOMETHING that puts you out of your comfort zone. Even if it’s not related to your big project you’ll instantly get the courage to get and stay on track and have anything you want in life.

Plus your life will be more adventuress.

I used to be scared shitless about getting up on stage at a live event. Now I can’t wait!

You should of seen the things I did to overcome the limiting fears and doubt I had back then. (I probably should have been arrested a bunch of times).

What are you gonna do about YOUR fears and doubts?