One day, not too long ago, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items. As I got out of the car I spotted a woman with beautiful, long hair wearing a tank top going in ahead of me. She had an amazing physique. Her shoulders, triceps and traps were beautifully shaped…muscular and lovely. I immediately started considering my own workouts lately. I started regretted not lifting heavier, with more emphasis on muscle building. My back has always been my favorite and most responsive body part to train and although I still lift diligently, I’ve not been pushing the very heavy stuff around for quite a while. Most of the time I’m pretty satisfied with the balance I’ve been able to strike. Although I’m not lifting super heavy I’ve still been able to maintain a little muscle mass and my joints are much happier than they used to be.
…But that woman! Seeing her sparked that old competitive spirit that lurks inside. I was comparing her physique to my own (both the new and the old) and watching her so intently, I wondered if she could feel me from across the parking lot.
As she turned inside the store to grab a cart, I was jolted out of my musings. She was a HE! The woman I’d been watching from behind was actually a man with long hair! I had to laugh. For years, I’ve had relatives telling me that my view of an ideal female body is skewed. I like more muscle than they do by far. I suppose this is one story I’ll keep to myself at family gatherings!
That’s me in the crystal ball. More than 25 years ago, I saw a magazine with natural, female bodybuilders in it and my life changed. I loved the look of all that beautiful muscle and that’s what drew me to the gym. I never managed to put on as much muscle as I wanted but I certainly changed my physique for the better and along the way discovered all the wonderful benefits (like stress reduction) that bodybuilding brings into your life.
More than once, I had someone (usually a well meaning relative) tell me not to “get any bigger” that “muscles aren’t feminine” or that I was starting to “look like a man.” They didn’t appreciate the aesthetic I love so much but save a few moments of thought the first couple of times it happened, the advice had no effect whatsoever on my determination in the gym.
Here’s to all the ladies who, like me, think women with a little muscle on their bones are gorgeous!
I have completely revamped my lifting program and after a few adjustments I’m happy to say that some of the mass I lost in the beginning of my quest to create a less time consuming, less intensive workout schedule has started to come back.
I know I won’t be able to maintain the same level of mass that I’ve sported the last 23 years. That takes very focused and concerted effort with a lifting schedule I no longer want to adhere to. I know I have a body that prefers skinny. I’m a classic hardgainer which means my body will take any opportunity to get rid of the muscle-y curves I love so much. I’ve made peace with that. At 51, with so many years of heavy, hard lifting under my belt, I just don’t want to do what it takes to build and maintain it.
I’m also not willing to give up the ghost completely. Lifting, for me, is a comfortable, happy way of life and I’m certainly not going to stop. I just had to create a better way of going about my workouts. I created a checklist of exercises that I complete each week. I’m free to do them in any order I wish, as long as they get done in a 7 day period. I hit all the important muscle groups and I adore the freedom my new schedule gives me. I can do more or less on any given day, depending on what my energy level is. On strong days I do more, on the days I’m not as enthusiastic, I do less (or just do exercises I really enjoy).
I’m delighted to be free of my former routines and the bit of muscle I’ve had to give up is a reasonable trade.
You can see from the photo that I’ve managed to get my delts back to a reasonable place which was one of my goals. The tiny shoulder thing wasn’t what I wanted to see when I looked in the mirror.
I’m very interested in what will happen as I continue using this new workout method over the summer.
We shall see!
Everybody knows that good staff can make or break a patron’s gym experience. The staff includes everyone hired by the company in the building…front desk people, managers, trainers and even janitors. They all contribute to the way paying customers feel about being there. It’s hard enough for most people to carve out the time and gather the energy to come in. When the staff is friendly and knowledgeable it makes it that much more palatable. I’m entirely self motivated and tend not to have problems making myself show up but I’m always happier in a friendly environment. Luckily for me the current crop of trainers at my gym create just that. They work diligently helping people meet their fitness goals and they do it with a great attitude. I train myself so I don’t use their services but I know if I should need help with anything I can call on them.