Weight-lifting for Women Q&A

woman in black tank top standing in room
Attractive fit woman in black tank top.

Can you gain a feminine physique by lifting weights? 

Feminine is often synonymous to small, demure, and modest. It normally represents a thin, dainty and lean aesthetic. When describing a feminine body, the natural instinct is to think of curves, whether synthetic or natural. Yet we struggle when finding out how feminine fits into a fitness lifestyle. We are being bombarded by athleisure ads, fitness model workouts every day. Additionally it seems like the result is always a new standard of  leanness (nuanced with feminine features but is also symbolically strong and curvy), is it completely achievable? If so, how? 

What I notice is that an ideal type of body is a representation at best, so a feminine body in and of itself cannot be in it’s fixed form, rather, it is a process-oriented ideal. Skinniness is a social representation of the feminine whereas curviness is the biological sense of it. 

Conversely, fitness is at least mostly attributed to masculine qualities like strength, dominance, and power. No daintiness is ever the result of a solid strength training program, yet the bodies of fitness models and athletes produce a biological attraction similar to curviness, it appeals to the senses and even if a woman has muscles, her strong body will be as alluring if not more than a skinny woman who is more of a socially created ideal.

One is the social representation of feminine, the other is a biological attraction to desirable traits. So if we are to determine if lifting weights, following a diet and working on building muscle is complementary to the feminine ideal, then yes it is because it follows the definition of a process-oriented ideal.

 The ideal is biologically feminine, and the ideal naturally enhances one’s desirability to the opposite sex. It is therefore absolutely crucial for anybody embarking on a weight-lifting journey to understand how it is a fluid process that is never going to stop at just lean or just curvy-fit. 

The only thing about weight-lifting that is in any measure completely masculine is that it is a ‘doing process’, rather than a ‘being process’. ‘Doing energy’ describes the essence of masculine energy whereas ‘being’ describes the divine feminine energy. One cannot, however, reach a fit and desirable body while they are in their ‘being energy’, otherwise wouldn’t an overweight physique be feminine by design? Sitting on your couch and not working out is technically ‘being’, it does not result in a desirable physique though. 

If anybody tells you that weight-lifting will make you look manly, then tell them that sitting on their butts will make them look more womanly, and proceed to point to the feminine-making bag of chips on their couch. Even though the muscle-shaming statement is intended to bring you down, proceeding with kindness often helps deal with the dark insecurity projections directed at you while you are in your quest to improve yourself. 

As somebody who has heard these types of remarks before, I think that understanding that the person who is feminine-shaming you is projecting their own ideals onto you helps.

Regardless, my sense of those comments is that they may be biased in the assumption that the result of ‘doing’ is going to be masculine and ‘being’ is feminine. It isn’t, and there isn’t a single shred of evidence that the result of weight-training is more unfeminine and masculine than an overweight body with no muscle tone. 

The physique results from weight-lifting is, in any case, more desirable than being unfit. 

women's black tank top
Attractive fit woman in push up position.

Can you describe to me how weight-lifting works, how does it lead to better muscle tone? Also, what does progressive overload mean and how do I get started on educating myself on fitness? 

Weight-lifting can be geared towards reaching a goal. If your goal is to achieve muscle tone, then the way that it will work is how you will make it work for you. You are going to start training with the aim to build more neural connections towards your muscles in your body. What this means is that the stronger you get, the bigger the muscles will be. The more weights you lift, the stronger your body will get and will be able to lift more weights. This is the premise behind progressive overload. Educating yourself on fitness is a process that requires a lot of discernment, critical thinking and a healthy dose of skepticism. 

If you want to know how to get started on lifting weights, I recommend checking out my female hypertrophy guide for beginners.

What are the type of fitness goals that I can have? Are they realistic to achieve in measure to a busy schedule, stress or bad genetics? 

Fitness goals can be aesthetic, they can be strength-related and they can be purely lifestyle-enhancing. Being healthy for life is an example of a lifestyle-enhancing goal and so can preventing illness.

The only goal that I would measure as being possibly hindered by a busy schedule, stress and bad genetics would be a physique-related goal as those are the harder ones to reach out of the three. I would follow with reaching strength goals as a close second only because the eating portion of getting stronger is more flexible with macros/nutrients than is reaching a physique goal. 

Reaching physique goals can especially be difficult if your aim is to reach a certain level of body fat. Check out my video on reaching your fitness goals for more details on how to achieve this.

As for your last question, more often than not, bad genetics will be a challenge to overcome.  Your desire for being realistic, however, already shows a certain level of discernment that can make you reach your goals. Discernment means that you can decide whether you show up with enthusiasm, whether you track your sleep and to what extent you will let those things matter to you. Discernment is a close cousin of accountability in that they are malleable processes that lead to winning the inner battle.

What this ultimately means is that if you are a woman with the goal to go from overweight to 15% body fat, you can decide whether the means to get to your goal are working to improve your life. If they are not leading to positive outcomes, then discernment allows you to adjust the arrow towards your goal rather than the goal itself. For instance, if fatigue interferes with your already stressful life, then this is room to add/subtract from your program. 

I hope that you enjoyed this post, let me know what your thoughts are on any of these questions (or answers) in the comments below.


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