"...I was flipping through your latest issue with the chicks awkwardly rollerblading and everyone lounging on the b-ball court, and I noticed that you had this little section where the models were prancing around steps (like step aerobics) and using dumbbells. When you look closer, you can see that they are, in fact, using 5 pound dumbbells. Hence the straw arms, hmmm?
I then wracked my brain to think of one exercise I might do using 5 pound dumbbells. Pinky curls for when I want a more toned coke-snorting finger? Maybe I could try and lift a 5 pounder with my eyelashes? Because, you know, I don’t think that’s gonna do a hell of a lot for my arms…
Now I’m not trying to be all big-dick weight (as in, my massive barbell is my penis stand-in, which it is sometimes, but hey, cheaper than a Ferrari.) 5 pounds is a fine starter weight for someone new to fitness and weight training and all. But, um, shouldn’t the models in a sportswear and fitness getup catalog be somewhat farther along in their fitness travels than your average novice lady exerciser? Like up to using (gasp) 10 pound dumbbells at least…
Okay, so why am I so pissy about 5 pound dumbbells, other than the fact that pissy is my true nature (even Buddhists think so.) Well, I’ll tell you, and thanks for asking. Because a few studies have shown that women do not lift NEARLY enough weight to get much or any benefit from weight training. I think most were lifting like 35 percent of their 1 RM (the max amount you can lift one time) which is waaay below where anyone should be. But you know, chicks get scared of bulking up (the vast majority won’t) and I think many women are sucked into the myth that we are ladies, we lift itty bitty weights cuz we get the vapors and we are delicate and those big, rusty barbells are for dudes with no necks. Which means plenty of females wasting hours upon hours at the gym, 'weight training' in a way that does NOTHING.
And of course, aside from the time-waste, there’s that part of me that always comes back to fitness as a kind of feminism. Do not, repeat, do not give me any stupid shit about proportionally less upper body strength than men, blah blah blah. Cuz so fucking what? That should not mean that women are relegated to “girl” push ups or abandoning pull ups or dicking around with teensy little colored dumbbells (or pencils or air, hee hee). Bitches can totally do push ups from the feet, get pull ups, learn Olympic lifts, press heavy dumbbells, bench press like monsters, etc. Do you want to ask the out-of-shape guy in your office to carry that box for you because you are a woman and somehow he must be stronger because he has a dick? Do you want to tolerate feeling like the weaker sex? I fucking hope not. Lift, grunt, and flex those guns, my girls. Please. Don’t be a wuss because you think you should be one. It’s bad form.
So Champion catalog people, do you think next time you could find some models who can pick up something heavier than a hairbrush? Toss out the 5 pound dumbbells and bring in some good weights? Have the girly models challenge the guys to a push up contest? Please? Let’s see some actual sweat and athletics to show how effective your wicking shit is. (Cue inspirational music, cut to shots of Rosie the Riveter and Billie Jean King and so on.) Do it for the future of our girls. C’mon, bitches! "
RIGHT ON, SISTER!! I love how she writes, too--no pussyfooting around, and I always feel an affinity for any woman who will drop an f-bomb. (You can take me out of the Army, but the Army will always live in my potty mouth.)
I hate looking at fitness magazines and clothing catalogues with little stick-figurines who look like the only weight they lift is their mascara wand! Check out the fit chicks at Title 9 Sports...real women who are active and look the part, not some bullshit little lettuce-fed martini-sippers. I read both Women's Health and Shape, but vastly prefer Women's Health for that same reason--Shape always has these exercises with little bitty weights evidently meant to increase muscular endurance, when I want definition and some visible evidence of strength.
Women don't bulk up unless they spend a great deal of time, energy, and money to do so. Do you know any bulky women? Do you know OF any bulky women (outside, of course, the 1988 East German Olympic Swim Team and those freaky, orange-colored, bed-baked bodybuilder chicks--think steroids here, ladies)? It just doesn't happen unless you spend more time at the gym than you do sleeping. A little definition is sexy, lifting heavy torches calories for hours afterwards, it helps prevent osteoporosis, and it feels good.
I spent over an hour a day on the elliptical trainer all summer--true, I had the resistance cranked up, was worn the hell out afterwards, and dropped a few pounds. But it was when I split the workout into :30-:45 cardio, :45 heavy weights/low reps that I really started to see results. After about a month of super-heavy (I lift as much as I can for about 5 reps, and do 2-3 sets, and the last rep of each set is generally very slow, with my face contorting and sweat running off), I started seeing shoulder muscles. Then my hamstrings and quads poked out. It's serious stuff, folks, and I'm a convert. Cardio's great, don't get me wrong, for health and to torch some calories. But weights are the holy grail.
And with that, I'm off to the gym--it's lower body day, which means full-body squats with 90 pounds on the bar, lunges with 25-pound dumbells in my hands, hamstrings at 90 pounds, quads at 75 pounds (I don't dare go higher with my crap knee), leg presses at 210 pounds. It makes me feel like a superhero, even if I still have too much junk in my trunk and could stand to lose 20 pounds. At least I'm a fit fluffy!