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I’ve discussed this before, and it’s something I’m extremely passionate about as I consider myself a feminist, but I’m just so f%*king tired of the way the fitness media markets products, training, programs, and other BS to women. It’s just such utter crap. 

Worst of all, we gobble that shit up and lick the spoon when we’re done. 

If you’re a woman trying to get in shape, you are essentially told that you should be exercising not for health purposes, not to improve your own performance, but simply for beauty standards so that you’re more attractive to your current or potential partner. Terms like “lean and lovely” get thrown around all the time at women everywhere they look for fitness info. Look at any “Women’s magazine” at your local CVS, and right there on the cover will be “(insert female celebrity)’s tummy tone up workout” and just beside it, “9 ways to please your man.”

Umm... Anyone else see what’s wrong with this picture?

I used to tell myself that the location of those headlines was just coincidence, but that was when I was young and naïve.

I know better now. What’s happening instead is that they are trying to convince women that being more desirable equates solely to looking thin, “tone”, and could never have anything to do with any other aspect of who they are. Furthermore, it’s attempting to convince women that they should be exercising for someone else, other than themselves.

I have the most incredible, and in my opinion beautiful, fiancé who loves working out. It’s one of the many things we have in common. But I would never want her to feel like she needs to workout to be more attractive or desirable to me.

Before the guys who aren’t on the same page as me yet chime in with, “We get told we need to look a certain way too,” I want to acknowledge that, but argue that we don’t get it nearly as bad as women do. After all, if you’re goal is to build muscle, nobody will ever attempt to insult you by saying you look like a man. That happens to women all the time, and sometimes they’ve been told that so much in one fashion or another that they begin to internalize it themselves.

I’ve had to have many a conversation with female clients who want to “get stronger” that we’re going to have to lift heavier weights in order to do just that. Being strong, powerful, or even muscular has no bearing on your femininity. Don’t let anyone ever try to convince you of that. EVER.

It’s not just the fitness magazines though, you get it from the crap marketing double standards from supplement companies, most of which (let’s be honest here) don’t have a soul to begin with. There are about a million different types of “Fat Burners” marketed solely for women, but how many muscle building supplements targeted towards woman are there? 

Exactly.

My favorite of them all is the types of “Protein for women” products there are. They often charge you more money for an inferior product than what you’d get from your normal old Whey Protein powder. They’ll also use terms like “Lean Muscle” (I’m not proud to say it, but I’ve used that buzz term before without realizing, and I’m sorry). What the hell is lean muscle? Muscle is lean by nature. You can’t have fat muscle, but what that term does is ensure we keep buying into the bullshit idea “big, bulky muscle” vs the more feminine sounding “long, lean muscle”. News flash, that shit is the same.

So here’s the thing, even though this has been more of a stream of consciousness type post, I want to leave you with a couple things that we can do to hopefully improve the climate of women’s fitness.

If you’re a female reading this post, I want you to know that you have an ally in me. Whatever your fitness goals are, make sure you’re going after them because YOU want to achieve those goals and not because some sleazy magazine told you this is what you want need to do for someone else’s attention. You are no less feminine because you want to be physically stronger or more muscular.

Guys, we need to be supportive of the fitness goals that the women in our lives set for themselves. You don’t get to judge those goals or create their goals for them. Would you do that to one of you male friends/training partners? Probably not, so if a woman says she wants to get do something other than lose weight and tone up, you say, “That’s awesome! Get after it!”.

Collectively, we can stop purchasing items marketed towards women in a slime ball way, like the magazine types I was talking about before, and the supplement companies selling stupid stuff like women’s protein powder, female fat-burners, and the like. Furthermore, we need to help empower other women by supporting them in their fitness goals.

We can change this together if we try. 

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