Muscles are just plain awesome, but as women, we rarely see them that way. We see bulk. We see “bigness”. We see manliness. We see something scary, something that we don’t really want for our bodies.
We would rather be petite, feminine and elegant. We think of yoga instructors, dancers, models and “those women” that have perfect genetics making them lean and slender.
That’s what we want, right? If we could hit the drawing board with our own bodies, we would design a body that looked like that. Not one that looks forged in an iron gym.
I struggle with this, personally. God made me a mesomorph, naturally more athletic-looking with lots of muscle. I’m not slender by any means and I have zero curves. I was teased in junior high and high school for having a flat chest and “man arms”. Some shirts look simply ridiculous on me. Muscle tees? Haha. Let me tell you…they’re not intended for women that actually have big arms. Not a chance. And pants are always tight, especially in the thighs.
For years, I succumbed to the lies that said muscles were ugly. That being big was synonymous with “un-feminine”. Sometimes, when I’m really going after tough routines, I’ll even hear from my own inner circle “you’re getting too hard, Megan. It’s too much.”
But here’s the thing. I simply don’t care anymore what this body does or does not look like...
...What matters more to me is how it FEELS.
And it feels amazing when I’m training hard, doing movements that push me to the edge, and allow me to feel fast, powerful and athletic. If that gives me big muscles, then so be it. Whatever.
Here are some more reasons why I love muscles so much.
Higher metabolism. The more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolism. And we all know that having a high metabolism is incredibly important, especially as we age. Another reason having a high metabolism is awesome is that you can be more lenient with your nutrition. If you take two women that are exactly the same size and weight, but one has more muscle, the more muscular woman will be burning more calories throughout the day than the other.
Small Real Estate. Yes, muscles are heavy. They are very dense tissue, but they take up very little space. This is why you can be training extremely hard, building lots of muscle and feeling your clothes fit very differently, yet the scale doesn’t budge. At this point, you need to just throw out the scale. Who cares what that number says, right?
Strong. Muscles make you strong. Have you ever felt fragile, like picking up the car seat is going to rip your arm off? Or you can’t step in to help move a piece of furniture because you simply aren’t strong enough? Last week I helped my husband move a hot tub. Yes, a hot tub. He never has to call “a guy” to help him move or lift something. That feels awesome.
Powerful and Athletic. When you have more muscles on your body you can move fast and with agility. Do you want to run faster? Jump higher? Cut quicker? Then build more muscle. They provide the capacity to be powerful and athletic. Muscles will give you the ability to out-sprint your teenager. That will definitely put a smile on your face!
Stable. Every joint on your body is surrounded by muscle to help keep it sturdy and stable. When you lack muscle, your joints are more likely to get injured and develop nagging pain. Do your knees hurt? Does your shoulder hurt? Does your hip hurt? Build muscles around those joints and most likely the pain will go away.
Dense bones. Are you concerned about your bone density? I’m sure you have heard that doing impact activities helps your bones get stronger, but do you know what makes your bones even stronger? You guessed it. Strong muscles. By doing strength training, especially with weights, your bones will become denser and very strong. Something to think about as you age.
And I could go on, actually. Better circulation, improved hormonal profile, slowed signs of aging, improved cardiovascular strength, improved posture, more balance, better sleep. The benefits of building muscle are endless.
As you look at your reasons for exercising, make sure building muscle is at the top of your list. Don’t just work out to lose fat. If you make muscles just as important, if not more important, than losing fat, you will feel amazing.
Just know that muscles are awesome. Who cares what they look like? I certainly don’t anymore. But I love what they FEEL like, and that is the beauty of muscles!
So go grab some dumbbells, get training, and build some muscles, momma!
Don't stop here! I bet you'd be interested in reading these other articles, too...
Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulk Up?
Embracing Your Design - Understanding your unique body type
The Comparison Trap - Why comparing yourself can be so deadly
-Still Slaves: The Hidden Slavery of the American Mom
-The World Wants to Put You on a Scale
-Battling a Sweet Tooth: 8 Tips for managing your sugar cravings
-Running for Moms: Where does it fit into your program?
-Balance & Moderation: What does this even mean?!
-Too Much Self Love? Taking a hard look at the "body positive" movement
Megan P. Dahlman
Hi friend! I'm a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Wife to Scott, and Mom to two crazy boys, Calvin & Peter. I train hard, eat well, rest just enough to keep going, and do my best to maintain a heavenly perspective. I'd love to coach you to do the same. Cheers!
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