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  1. #1
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    Women and Size

    I received this from a friend of mine and wanted to share it with the other female members of the board and the male members with female friends who train. It's nice to get some perspective from "our side" every once in awhile.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Women: Breaking The Size Barrier

    by Cheryl Zovich


    There seems to be an alarming problem on the horizon:
    women and their perception of body size. The more I
    work with women and assist them with their lifting
    issues the more I recognize the need for my gender to
    understand how we have evolved into a society with a
    growing confusion regarding size, strength, and
    weight.

    Women today want to be small. Not short mind you, but
    smaller in total body mass. They want concave bellies,
    long, lithe legs, slender hips and stick-like arms.
    Pick up any woman's magazine or clothing catalogue
    marketed today and you will see advertising at it's
    manipulative best. If you don't possess the perfect
    body to fit the clothes, the clothing itself will
    conform your figure to fit them by means of pads,
    under wires, Lycra, inflatable air bladders and
    elastic panels.

    A seemingly simple trip the local mall bombards most
    women with a variety of clothing that varies in size
    from store to store and even rack to rack within a
    given store! Imagine then, the confusion for those
    women who once sought security and comfort by wearing
    a specific size? Women may as well throw their
    physical dimensions out the window. What one clothing
    manufacturer construes as size 2 another might
    categorize as size 6. Rarely is there mention of true
    measurements nor are there reliable standards for
    sizing women's clothing. Jeans, for instance are
    frequently classified by "cut" and/or size! We are
    left guessing to whether we are "classic," "relaxed,"
    "baggy," misses, petite, or woman's size! It's enough
    to drive a sane woman to the brink of despair!

    In contrast, when men buy clothing they seldom deviate
    from pants, shirts and suits and their clothing is
    often sized according to true measurement. A 32-inch
    waist, a 17-inch neck, a 34-inch inseam, and a 42-inch
    chest are all precise guidelines not vague guesses.
    Men know what size they are and they expect the
    clothing they select to correspond with their current,
    accurate measurements. Alas, it seems the simplicity
    of this concept escapes woman's designers!

    Today's fashion with the highest visibility and
    marketing priorities are often the most trendy and
    physically challenging for women to wear. Revealingly
    tight Lycra tops, mini skirts, cropped and cut out
    shirts and dresses, and skin tight jeans all call for
    the owners of such fashions to have the utmost perfect
    body with which to display the clothing at it's
    intended best. In response, women in quest of cutting
    edge fashion have justifiably become increasingly over
    attentive to body size and weight related issues.

    So how does this affect the average female weight
    lifter? Women often arrive at the decision to train
    under the guise that it will bring about positive
    changes to their body despite years of neglect. They
    appear at the gym eager to convert themselves into a
    5'10", 110-pound model of perfection. This goal rarely
    has much to do with reality or truthful expectations,
    yet women continue to operate under the conviction
    that they can increase the mass (and therefore,
    visibility) of their muscles without changing their
    size or shape.

    Seldom do women consider the most basic facts
    surrounding lifting, rather they persist in the belief
    that weight training will be a means to an end: to
    transform them into someone smaller! However,
    progressive weight training (if applied as intended)
    will do nothing of the sort! Realistically speaking,
    weightlifting typically delivers results at the
    opposite end of the spectrum. If women wish to diffuse
    the training myths that continue to delude them they
    must re-examine and acknowledge the fundamental facts
    regarding the end results of weight training:

    1.) Muscles are an outcome of progressive weight
    lifting. 2.) Muscles weigh more than fat and
    therefore, should eventually make your overall
    bodyweight somewhat higher than it was prior to weight
    training. 3.) Muscles will ultimately increase your
    body mass. This means you will most likely become
    larger and your muscles will take up more space in
    clothing as your physical girth changes in response to
    weight training.

    What does this all mean for women who want to strength
    train to any degree of success? In order for women to
    persevere in lifting they must learn to focus less on
    body size changes and more on strength progress. Women
    must be willing to concede that progressive,
    goal-oriented weight lifting will almost certainly
    generate a physical response or alteration of their
    shape, some of which may not initially seem welcome.
    At onset, these changes can be easily confused with a
    body fat increase given this is the type of weight
    gains most women have generally experienced up to this
    point and are familiar with.

    I enthusiastically urge all women who are sincere in
    their desire to make permanent, positive, physical
    changes in their body to forge ahead, despite this
    initial trepidation. Body composition is a far better
    method of gauging overall physical health than body
    weight. Learn to measure your lean body mass and
    educate yourself so you fully comprehend the
    implication of the results. By all means, weigh
    yourself, but use the bathroom scale judiciously and
    bear in mind muscle weighs more than fat! Be prepared
    to replace certain articles of clothing as your
    dimensions change and be encouraged (rather than
    despair) that this indicates you're making upward
    progress in the gym! Refrain from comparing your body
    with that of women who don't engage in the sort of
    physical pursuit you have chosen. Realize you are in
    control of your mass gains and have confidence in your
    ability to manipulate your size by small degrees when
    necessary.

    Women generally find weight gain contradictory and
    against their nature to embrace. As a rule, women have
    been taught from a very young age to be at war with
    their bodies and to treat anything that constitutes an
    increase in dimension as just cause for alarm. As our
    bodies change in response to lifting it can become
    most difficult for some to resist the urge to curtail
    any activity or practice that encourages an increase
    in appearance. Some women retaliate by decreasing
    their caloric intake while increasing their cardio
    training in hopes to eliminate or control their weight
    fluctuations. This is contradictory to the most basic
    principles of weight lifting!

    Women must be prepared to confront their skepticism
    when their weight rises in response to weight
    training. Instead, expect this increase as a
    by-product of lifting and resist the instinct to
    oppose your body thereby limiting your progress.
    Concentrate on directing your focus toward strength
    related lifting goals while shifting the significance
    of bodyweight to the back burner. Keep the emphasis of
    your training on health and progression and remember:
    your motivation for weight training should not be
    aimed exclusively at achieving visual perfection.

    At some point, women who weight lift for reasons
    beyond simple light exercise must make a choice: they
    can spend the rest of their lives chasing ambiguous
    standards set by those who stand to profit from their
    observance or they can learn to place trust in their
    power to create their own physical destiny.

    I could give all to Time except - except
    What I myself have held. But why declare
    The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
    I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
    And what I would not part with I have kept.

    --Robert Frost

  2. #2
    II MrWebb78's Avatar
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    or women could grow up and stop being so shallow
    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. - Edward Abbey

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  3. #3
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MrWebb78
    or men could grow up and stop being so shallow


    word.
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  4. #4
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    From the dominant oppressive patriarchy point-of-view, the hottest group of women that I've seen recently is the women's soccer team here at school. Ripped, buff, everything. And they can run for 90 minutes. And they're awesome at soccer.

    24-0! We don't need no wimpy chicks!

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  5. #5
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    LOL! I think we should ask Pup for his perspective on women's soccer players

    I could give all to Time except - except
    What I myself have held. But why declare
    The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
    I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
    And what I would not part with I have kept.

    --Robert Frost

  6. #6
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Damn at that!
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  7. #7
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    Uhm, I don't think shallowness is the problem. To me, it's society forcing the image of a waif as the perfect shape for a women. I think if anything, magazines need to grow up and stop trying to force feed this image down a woman's throat. Real women have curves.
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  8. #8
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    BTW, nice article IceR. My wife has been having issues with her weight and I hope this well help her understand the weightlifting she does is better for her in the long run.
    Burritos are the bomb for bulking!
    My Food Journal


    PB's&Goals

    Deadlift: PR 1@440, Goal 1@450
    Squat: PR 1@375, Goal 1@400
    Bench: PR 2@275, Goal 1@300

  9. #9
    Mostly healed up! PizDoff's Avatar
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    What Max-Mex said....

    I like some muscles on my woman/women.
    Nice to have some good resistance when we grapple.


  10. #10
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    Oh yeah! Nothing like a toned woman with some meat on her bones. Most men don't like those model types who look like Ghandi.
    Winners train. Losers complain.

  11. #11
    II MrWebb78's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Max-Mex
    Uhm, I don't think shallowness is the problem. To me, it's society forcing the image of a waif as the perfect shape for a women. I think if anything, magazines need to grow up and stop trying to force feed this image down a woman's throat. Real women have curves.
    if women werent shallow then they wouldnt be able to be force fed and allow these magazines to have such an impact.
    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. - Edward Abbey

    There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable. - Voltaire

    If it can be imagined, it can be done. - Me

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  12. #12
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    hell if women weren't "shallow" as you say webb, men would be like, "damn she's fat with ugly hair and unshaven parts". ermm...in other words we'd all look like lesbians.

    (just kidding, lesbians)
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  13. #13
    is numero uno Saint Patrick's Avatar
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    I don't go for the rail-thin magazine model types. I don't consider that attractive. I'd break those b1tches in half

    Gimme a chick w/ some meat on her bones.
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    Senior Member IronDaddy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MrWebb78
    or women could grow up and stop being so shallow
    Are they being shallow or trying to impress men? Who's the shallow ones?

    Quite frankly many of the norms viewed by society (concerning women) are there because it is believed that is what men want.

    Then again with all that testerone controlling men's thought processes do they really have control over what they want or think? (At least that's what I tell my wife as she slaps my wandering hands.)

  15. #15
    Fatass STM's Avatar
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    Well i have to chime in here. I used to date a 'model' thin rail woman. She would have a whopping 2 cups of white rice a day, and/or make trips to the toliet after eating out.

    Did I like her that skinny, nope. Do I like any women that skinny, nope. Do men force this upon women, nope.

    I think if you really did a study looking at what men prefer you would find that men do not like the rail thin women.

    Why is it women blame men for their issues? Sure we like fit women, well I do. But why should I get the 'MEn are forcing me to conform to a non-standard type body image.'

    Have you ever listened to women talk about other women? Crap man, they are the ones forcing this image upon each other.

    I guess that the models on men;s fitness, flex etc are all attainable goals that men should strive for...or is it forcing an image upon all the male species that we cannot reach.

    Then there is Barbie. 'Oh barbie is such an unrealistic model for young girls.' **** ME! It is a ****ing doll stupid ****! How about my GI JOE toys, what is stretch armstrongs waist/chest ratio. Comic books are unrealistic for boys as well.


    **** me...blame yourself for your image problems and get off my nuts already.

    Whooops....i guess since I am doing a 200calorie day with 2 sessions of cardio i am a bit moody. But it is those damn women who are not accepting of my body type that are MAKING ME DO IT!

    hahah...

  16. #16
    Senior Member Trent_Steel's Avatar
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    Yes women are into getting a certain body type. Well as a man what Im I doing by working out? I want to look attractive and feel good about myself. I see little difference. The only difference is that there are more women trying to look good then there are men trying to look good.

  17. #17
    Senior Member smalls's Avatar
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    It was a good written article that would be taken well by any women who knows the tiniest bit about weightlifting and body composition. Thus it will scare 90% of women who read it, away from lifting.

    I agree that not all men want that waif look. But I think most do. I recently went from dating my bodybuilder girlfriend to a very skinny frail girl and I much prefer muscle on a woman. I realize that I am a small exception though.
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  18. #18
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Now, I did a speed-read of that article, but I think it might give one wrong impression through a lack of clarity (or I missed it). Women who train with weights might gain muscle mass, but unless they use steroids they will not become muscular in the sense they might fear. They will by no means end up looking like a man. They will just be a more shapely, attractive woman.


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  19. #19
    II MrWebb78's Avatar
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    Originally posted by IronDaddy


    Are they being shallow or trying to impress men? Who's the shallow ones?

    Quite frankly many of the norms viewed by society (concerning women) are there because it is believed that is what men want.

    Then again with all that testerone controlling men's thought processes do they really have control over what they want or think? (At least that's what I tell my wife as she slaps my wandering hands.)
    trying to impress men with good bodies IS shallow
    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. - Edward Abbey

    There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable. - Voltaire

    If it can be imagined, it can be done. - Me

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  20. #20
    Wounded Deadlifter ryan1117's Avatar
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    Everyone is "shallow" in some way or another. If we all were truly 100% unshallow, we all would be bisexual.

    If a man walked up to me and asked me out on a date and I said no due to not being attracted to men, things would be fine. Society would not have a problem with that.
    If an unattractive woman walked up to me asking me out on a date and I declined due to not being attracted to her, society would label me as an evil human being.
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  21. #21
    II MrWebb78's Avatar
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    F*ck societies label, its how you view yourself.
    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. - Edward Abbey

    There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable. - Voltaire

    If it can be imagined, it can be done. - Me

    6'2"
    273 lbs.

  22. #22
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    Originally posted by STM
    I think if you really did a study looking at what men prefer you would find that men do not like the rail thin women.
    I have to disagree with this point. I find that lots of the newer generation of men are looking for the thinner types. Again, boys are force fed the idea of what a beautiful woman is and eventually that is all they will want. I've seen so many college guys drool over Heidi Klum, and she is just digusting.

    Gimme Monica Bellucci (Persephone from the Matrix) over Heidi any day.
    Burritos are the bomb for bulking!
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    PB's&Goals

    Deadlift: PR 1@440, Goal 1@450
    Squat: PR 1@375, Goal 1@400
    Bench: PR 2@275, Goal 1@300

  23. #23
    Demotivated. JTyrell710's Avatar
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    i have to admit i do like small, thin chicks
    It is men's perception of women at fault so guys stop tryin to defend us here, it useless. Thats just the way it is- I also like small chicks wit nice asses.. (hint hint i like dusk walks on the beach, intellectual discussions, i have brown hair, brown eyes...) err srry bout that. As time has progressed, MEN are force fed the images of what women should look like and therefore women try to compete to man's idealistic woman
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    - women eat cream cakes when you are not looking and have chocolate in hiding places. There are no journal articles to refernce this fact.
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  24. #24
    $3n10r M3mb3r defcon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Saint Patrick
    I don't go for the rail-thin magazine model types. I don't consider that attractive. I'd break those b1tches in half

    Gimme a chick w/ some meat on her bones.
    Hell ya!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Trent_Steel's Avatar
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    The older you get the less important it is. Im 25 soon and I wouldnt ask out a really goodlooking woman if she was a witch! At my age your going to start having serious long term relationships and you realise that you will have to put up with their 'bad' attitude almost 24/7.
    Dont get me wrong looks are still very important, its just as Im getting older I realise that other attributes are important too.
    Last edited by Trent_Steel; 11-26-2003 at 06:27 AM.

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