I'm Helen. I'm a 23 y/o fitness enthusiast, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Philly native, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, cousin....


You play ball like a GIRL!

You play ball like a GIRL!

Okay okay OKAY so technically this post has nothing to do with baseball but it seemed like a fitting title and I can't pass up an opportunity for a Sandlot reference. 

I am now officially positive that the social stigma surrounding women who lift weights and have defined muscles was invented by a man who realized that physically strong women are mentally strong women and he was like "shit, this is very threatening to my way of life - women with muscles are unattractive and women should not lift weights!"  - and like so many stupid rumors before and after it, it spread like wildfire.

I hear girls constantly constantly talking about wanting to get in shape but not wanting to lift weights, wanting to "tone" but not get "bulky" etc etc, avoiding the weight room (notorious boys club) and sticking to the cardio machines. It makes me want to rip my hair out and roll my eyes around in circles until my head pops off. Not because I think everyone should be able to squat 350lbs, but because adding even moderate weight to your workout changes your body more efficiently and is good for your health.

First of all, lifting weights does not make you a bodybuilder. Don't give yourself so much credit. Those women with insane 12 packs and huge quad separation and boulder shoulders did not waltz over to the weight room one day from the treadmill and wake up looking that way. They train hard and diet harder, day in and day out. You will never look like that unless you very actively try to look like that.

Second, weight bearing exercises are especially important for women (who are more prone to osteoporosis). Who wants to be an old frail dust-boned lady confined to a wheelchair? Not me!

Finally, lifting takes practice, consistency, focus, and determination. It takes mental strength. I have to talk myself into walking up to that barbell and lifting 200 lbs. If I didn't believe that I could lift it, if I didn't know how good breaking your own record felt, I would not be able to do it.

It took me years, YEARS, to even set foot in the "weight room" area of the gym and lift among the predominantly male population. What a waste of time. And now? I'm often the only girl and I couldn't care less. And neither do the dudes lifting near me. Actually, I've had a few men approach me after my workout to compliment it. Not to say "you lift well for a girl" but things like "damn that looked really hard, I need to step up my leg day game!" People who know what determination and hard work it takes to keep coming back for more see it and appreciate it in other people.

But of course, not everyone is that way. There are countless posts on social media pictures/videos of women saying how unattractive it is/they are. The funny part is, those women are probably pretty confident and are posting because they are proud of their hard work, and do not give one crap about your approval. The negative people obviously do not exercise or lift on a regular basis, because the endorphins just wouldn't allow for such comments.

"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't" - Elle Woods

Today, I deadlifted 200lbs for 2 sets of 1. To some people, that's unimaginable. To others, it's an easy peasy warmup. What matters to me is that it was a personal best, and my smile after struggling to lift the barbell and finally getting it up (video on my Instagram) shows how very genuinely good it felt for me to accomplish that goal. That feeling carries over into things that I am apprehensive about in everyday life. It makes them feel more manageable.

If you have no desire to lift, then don't. I hate running and I avoid it when I can; BUT I still force myself to incorporate cardio into my routine sometimes because I know it is good for my health. If you are sacrificing your health for the fear of being scrutinized by onlookers, then that's a problem (also, they're probably not looking at you).

I scratched myself kinda hard on the leg while I was doing that lift today, because I have long fake nails. I also wear full makeup to the gym every day, because that's how I feel best about myself and because I usually go after work. But none of that means that I do not belong in the weight room. Because I decided that it was no longer off limits for me.

And for the record, I am also awesome at baseball, and not just for a girl.

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