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  • Writer's pictureIngri Pauline

'Be BIG' to Avoid Injury

Women workout to lose weight, but the rules of the gym dictate that you never go to the gym to get smaller. You never go to the gym to become less, but always to become more of what you are, to become the best version of yourself that is in you. Expecting to do otherwise is to shoot yourself and your goals in the foot.

Women are often so afraid of gaining weight and packing on muscles. This notion some women have of getting bulky and big like a man stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of biology. I have never heard anyone in my life say it, they only mention this myth to disprove it. I have heard this myth debunked so many times, I am starting to believe the women who think this to be true this haven't actually heard it anywhere, they just simply believe it. The logic is: If a man does it and X happens, then when I do it X will also happen. What they don’t understand is men have anywhere from 7-40 times the amount of testosterone in their body and it is that testosterone (and in some cases additional testosterone vis anabolic steroids) what make big and bulky muscles.

How prevalent is this idea? In 1897, the grandfather of strength training and physical culture, Eugene Sandow, wrote a book called ‘Strength and How to Obtain It’ devoted a whole chapter to dispelling the common though that women will not get big if they participate in strength training. That women in fact respond positively to weightlifting and even acquire a more shapely physique. So for nearly 125 years we have been ‘debunking’ this myth. Even in ancient roman times, there were women who participated in strength training. Although they did not wrestle, they lifted weight, power walked, sprinted and dug trenches for fitness.

My point is if you are out of shape and/or overweight and your goal is to reverse that, go to the gym and be B I G.

Lifting weights requires you to take up space. When you move though your programming, the movements require you to lift your chest up, shoot your knees out to the side, elongate your spine, punch that press all the way though the air, puff your shoulders and most importantly create a bubble of 3 feet of space around you for safety. You CANNOT be meek and lift weights. Having a rounded spine, curling your shoulders in and trying not to elbow people as you move is a sure fire way to get injured. The movement mechanics from attempting to be small prove themself to be dangerous when under load. This is against the laws of strength training.

Women usually gather all their fitness acorns - bands, a mat, some dumbbells and a ball - and set up shop in one little corner as not to disturb any one or be disturbed. This is a fine strategy for luteal phase training when we are mostly going circuits, but in order to build any strength or really change your body, this would require you hauling 20 to 60 pound weights all the way across that gym. It’s tiresome and looks a little ridiculous. No one is doing that. They are taking 10 pounders and performing not enough reps to build muscle for such a light weight.

Any good weightlifting program will require you to be in the think of it. It will require you to set up shop for a superset on a bench in the middle of the free weight area and move on to the cable machine - be damned who is looking at you or working there. Once you accept this, your progress will go much faster.

This physical practice of building strength and fitness will also build fitness and fortitude of the mind and soul. You have to be brave to walk in a gym. You have to be brave to test your one rep max in the squat. You have to be determined in order to show up everyday for years on end.

But don't’ look at it all at once. Just show up and don't be meek. Don’t seek to take up little space and fear getting in peoples way. Own your space and use what you need. Do your 5 point stance and execute your lift. Lift with pride, be as big and tall as possible, command the weight and keep your body safe.

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