Body building is a predominately male world. Women for the most part are to be seen as being feminine and maternal and womanly. So to see a women who is heavily built and muscular can be a shock to some people. I think it comes down to a lack of understanding more than anything. Usually, if we don’t understand something, we find it threatening and can perceive it as being offensive and therefore we fear it.
Because women naturally have more body fat than men, they have to work just as hard or even more so than men. It is a complete lifestyle choice and the dedication put in is by far more than a lot of people would put in to something. The passion to look a certain way is what drives weight lifting enthusiasts to live this way. Weight training with competing in mind takes over your life. Some people quit their jobs to pursue careers in body building. If this can’t be done then it is work, gym, sleep and repeat. It is seen as an obsession by some people but to those who live it every day it is a way of life.
Meal preparation is a major factor in weight training. Meals have to be planned for every day of the week and their eating regime is stuck to religiously.
‘Bulking up’ is just of the many phrases used in weight training. Basically, you have to be eating a lot of the right foods to pile on the pounds that can then be trained and made into muscle. Women have exactly the same routine as a man would training.
We see more and more people everyday, especially because of social media networks, training and keeping fit, some more extreme more than others. People can be offended by heavily muscled people and say that it isn’t natural or right. But can we also not say this for people who are morbidly obese and have an obsession with food, or those that are underweight and have an obsession with not eating? Whichever way you look at it, whatever someone does and however someone looks, there will always be people offended by it. And this is usually either down to jealousy or lack of understanding.
I think when it comes to female body builders it is more a lack of understanding and that someone is not conforming to what is perceived as being ‘normal’
I think most of us nowadays couldn’t define what ‘normal’ is anyway.
Women, I can imagine struggle mentally more than men when competing and training, just because of pressure and lack of understanding as to why they do it and why they want to do it.
Another subject which we here about more and more regarding training and weight lifting is the taboo word ‘steroids’.
Steroids have been around for a long time, but people seem a lot more open about them nowadays, and there is no getting away from the realisation that you can’t exactly hide the fact you are using them. Steroids transform your body in ways weightlifting alone could never do. The body begins to look monstrous almost and any natural appearance just goes away completely.
Certain body building competitions will only allow ‘natural’ competitors to enter. Steroids can not have aided you in your transition and drugs tests will be carried out. A lot of people do not like to use the word steroid and prefer the term ‘muscle enhancers’ which seem to sound less objectionable.
Someone who I have found fascinated by because of her transition is TV personality Jodie Marsh. All her training was done through hard work and dedication alone without the use of any muscle enhancers. Jodie is also a keen vegetarian and despite advice from her trainers stuck to her beliefs and stuck to being a vegetarian.
Here we see the old Jodie Marsh who caused quite a stir in her very revealing outfits and outward personality. Unfortunately for Jodie, because of how she used to look and act, people will always tar her with the same brush and see the same person. She is in fact a very humble lady who has had to endure hard times especially with bullying.
This has always effected her confidence and fueled her to become a person who is confident and who can use her own experiences to help others and she has definitely done that.
Jodie went on to train hard and compete in world known competitions and win.
A friend of mine has very recently competed in a competition known as ‘Miami Pro’. It is a for competitors with natural physiques only. ‘Miami Pro’ is a fitness modelling & body building federation.
My friend has transformed herself in the last 12 months and gone on to compete in her first competition. She did not win any awards but she is such a positive and focused lady this has spurred her on and she wants to keep training and working hard and compete again and again.
I would have loved to have taken some photographs of her but with her work and training schedule she unfortunately was just too busy.
However, she very kindly let me use one of her photos for my blog and also answered some questions for me so that I could get a personal account and insight into her training, lifestyle and what it was like to compete.
This is just one of the photos taken whilst she was competing. The hard work and effort that she has and continues to put in really shows because she looks fantastic!
Here are the questions and answers:
What made you want to start weight training?
My cousin Dan is a personal trainer, he introduced me to gym life. I did baby but wanted more tone and to get stronger. I knew just doing cardio would not give me the definition I wanted so I slowly started lifting and seeing results. And being round such positive people made me want to get better.
Do you ever feel that people judge your lifestyle choice because you are female?
I feel I get judged in a positive way more than negative. I get told I am inspiring off other girls, they ask me to help them and say they wish they had the dedication. Even lads praise me too, asking for advice, you seem to get more respect.
I would say that those that judge are full of envy and only want to do what we do, so they may digs which I have never really had. In the end they will ask us how we do it.
If so – Would this effect you and your training whether it be positive or negative?
This would not effect my training but make me want to work harder and be more focused. It is almost turning a negative into a positive. In this in industry you learn more and more and realise who will help and guide you along the way. We all have the same interests so we understand and stick together. Those who judge will only end up doing the same in the end.
How does it make you feel to see your physical appearance transforming?
To see my body change is amazing. I never really realised what changes can be made. our bodies are machines and can transform into better ones, you just have to put the work in.
I take pictures to see how my body has changed. It is definitely an art and is a good addiction. We fuel ourselves with good stuff and will end up looking good, simple! Eat rubbish, look rubbish! I have muscles I never even knew about.
As someone who has competed, did you feel added pressure by people to do well because you are female?
Not really any pressure as we help each other and give each other advice and tips. I find it a very open thing to do as everyone shares the same passion to do well. Since doing it I have gained so much confidence.
Have you found people to be more positive or negative towards your lifestyle since your training?
People are definitely positive about it. I get praised for it. When I first joined the gym, I was the only girl. Now more and more girls are wanting to lift. The realise what amazing positive people they can be around. I love that people ask me for advice, we all learn from each other.
It was really interesting to get an insight in to how a person who lives this kind of hectic, life changing lifestyle feels and especially about how other people react to it. And from my friend’s answers it sounds that it is a very positive activity all round. She has nothing but praise and positive feedback from other people which will obviously boost her confidence even more and make her want to carry on.