In the times of fad diets and trends, this article was birthed by Bright Side – 9 Exercises You’d Better Avoid If You Dream Of Having A Feminine Body. At first, I thought this was a joke, but I was dead wrong. There are so many wrongs in this article, that it concerns me about the misinformed. It makes me wonder how many other women before me read this article and took it to heart, thinking “oh yeah, I don’t want to look too masculine! I better listen to what they have to say.” If you’re concerned about getting too muscular as a woman, or you’re now confused after reading this article, don’t listen to them.
Below, I’ve extracted a few things in the article that didn’t make sense to me, as I do work in the Medical profession and am familiar with human anatomy and physiology. I’m also a part of an active community (kind of have to be if you’re in the military). In reality, just love your body, and don’t listen to the nay-sayers!
#1 – “…personal trainers use their knowledge of physiology and the human anatomy…”
In order to become a personal trainer, I thought you had to take a couple of basic science courses, like nutrition and human anatomy and physiology, because that would only make sense, right? Wrong. Its actually quite simple to become a trainer these days. Its so simple, in fact, that there are a ton of online schools that you can order “course materials” from and then pay again to take their test for a personal training certificate. Some personal trainers, however, do have a bit of background in kinesiology and other sciences related to the body, but thats because personal training isn’t their end goal in life. However, not a lot of them exist and they are often over-run with online certified trainers because of how easy and quick it is to get a job.
#2 – “…to distinguish the best types of workouts for men and for women.”
This is the second part of the sentence I used for reason number one, and this backs up when I say that most personal trainers have not taken basic science courses. There is no such thing as a better workout for men or women. Gender really doesn’t matter when it comes to exercise. What does count when you consider which workout is the best for you are your goals (Do you want to be lean, muscular, or just active?) and your level of ability (Did you just give birth/have surgery, or are you a triathlete?). Maybe one thing that should be taken into consideration in differentiating active men and women is that women are more likely to be calcium deficient than men (that’s why we get bone scans (DEXA scans) around our 60s), so we have weaker bones than men (curse you, mother nature!)
There’s also a myth that has been circulating forever in the active community, and that is women can look masculine if they lift too much. That myth pops up in every single women workout magazine. The super buff and muscular women who look almost like men are most likely taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs…. OR, they may just have a high level of testosterone. A woman physically cannot look masculine without any of the items mentioned previously. Its just not in our genetics to become that way.
#3 – “Bright Side put together a “blacklist” of exercises that women should avoid if they want to get a beautiful body.”
This is where I can see all the confusion, and I take this absolutely as body-shaming for the women who like to lift or partake in Cross-Fit. Honestly speaking, it really wouldn’t surprise me if the author of this article has never worked out a day in her life and really just wanted to make an article where they do the absolute minimum to achieve a “beautiful body.” You know what’s a beautiful body? A beautiful body is one that’s been well maintained and does something active in their lives, beit lifting, walking, yoga, etc. And by well maintained, I’m talking about eating in portions and not partaking in absurd diets where you almost deprive yourself just to burn off some fat. If you’re a woman thats trying to become healthier but its taking a long time to see some results, don’t give up! Do not give websites, like Bright Side, any attention to anything fitness or heath-related.
#4 – Use of the term “side abs” and the “vacuum exercise”
The fact that they call obliques as your side abs should be a red flag that the author has no idea what they are talking about. While there’s much debate on whether or not working out your obliques will cause your waist to widen, I’m fairly certain that working them out every once in a while will not cause dramatic increase in your waist measurements. I did a quick search of “can working out your obliques increase your waist measurement” and the first result that popped up was from Livestrong.com:
…it is possible that you can expand your waistline by exercising your obliques. It is, however, very challenging to exhaust your abdominal muscles, making it unlikely that they will become become thicker and make your waist wider.
In the same article, it goes onto mention that if you workout your obliques on a weekly basis, much like a body builder or power lifter, you may increase your waist size. If you want to prevent that from happening, they recommend a well-balanced workout which targets all muscle groups equally, and also to eat a well-balanced diet as well.
Now that leaves us to discuss the “vacuum exercise” they recommend. This is a complete waste of time and you’re seriously not getting any skinnier just sucking in your gut. Shoot, I’d rather increase my waist measurements if that means that I won’t have a gut anymore! And while they boast that you’ll see results shortly, it doesn’t mean that its going to last forever. Just stick to what was said in Livestrong.com and just be overall balanced with your workouts and diet.
#5 – What’s wrong with squatting and having a nice Gluteus Maximus?
While they do correctly say, “when you do squats with heavy weights, you tone not only your glutes but also your abs and spine muscles,” they turn it around by saying that weighted squats are bad because, again, it “widens your hips/waist.” If I have a pretty nice rump, I would not be complaining about a few inches around my waist that they try to say is unattractive… What’s unattractive about this article, is the way they try to twist normal exercises as if they are the worst thing in the world for women. You do you boo-boo and do your thang on the squat rack. You show them what your mama gave you.
#6 – “When working this group of muscles (your trapezius), you risk losing your thin neck and gaining a wide back”
Again, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the only women who are able to achieve defined muscles that are extremely masculine are ones that take steriods, performance-enhancing drugs, or testosterone. In fact, as a woman, you have to work extra hard in order to make your traps look like Tom Hardy when he played Bane. Some men still struggle getting their traps to look like Tom Hardy, so that should tell you something!! Doing a couple shrugs will not make your traps grow overnight if you do them.
#7 – Lifting barbells or kettlebells over your head in “swings” will increase the size of your trapezius
Kettlebell swings, as they are so commonly referred in the Cross Fit world, may work out your traps, but again, it will take you doing these things for a very long time before you “lose your neck.” What I’m mostly concerned about these swings is for your traps and shoulders. You need to protect these two (or three, if you count both shoulder) from straining or overstretching in which these exercises can do if not done properly.
#8 – “The body curves similar to those of Kim Kardashian changed the standards of female beauty. Rounded glutes became trendy”
I can’t believe they even had the audacity to mention Kim Kardashian in a fitness article. If you just look up Kim Kardashian, her body doesn’t even look natural, and if it is, it is due to genetics. And going back to #5 on how this article complained about doing weighted squats will increase your waist size, its impossible to have a nice rump like Kim K if you don’t work it out… Or, I guess you can achieve that type of butt with no effort if you, too, get surgery or you take the super unhealthy approach to it. Also, I don’t feel that Kim Kardashian should get any credit whatsoever on “changing the standards of female beauty.” I suppose, yes, in make-up, but no to body types. The true people who changed the standards of female beauty in terms of body physique are all the fitness models and Bikini Body competors… And yes, they also work out their “side abs.”
For the most part, I won’t be ashamed to admit that I glossed over the article in itself because it was too painful to read through the whole thing. In the long run, there were so many things wrong with that article that I’m surprised Bright Side decided to still keep it up. I am also proud of the women who took the time to comment on this article to point out all the incorrect information like I did on this post. Just love your body, and don’t let others tell you what you can and can’t do if you know you’re working your tail off to get that “feminine body.”