Too Muscular? Is That a Thing Now?

21 Mar

Is there such a thing as being too muscular for a woman? This never occurred to me until I started teaching kickboxing. Every now and then a student would approach me and ask, “This isn’t going to make me too muscular is it?”

1. No, you’re not going to get “too muscular” from working out 2-3 times per week. You’re going to maintain a healthy body.

2. Since when are we worried about this??!

Muscles = Strength. Physical strength is especially important for women. Yes, it feels great to be able to endure a hard workout, but more importantly it feels great just to be able to do normal stuff. I teach a Women’s Strength Training class at . After training for a few months, one of my students said to me, “I feel so much better. I know it sounds silly but before I took this class I wasn’t able to lift heavy things. I self-identified as ‘weak’ and I would joke about it with friends and family. They would say, ‘Oh, don’t make her carry that, she’s so weak!’ and I would laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I’m so weak!’” After a few months of strength training she became proud of her ability to manage physical tasks in day to day life.

Concerned about looks?

First of all, a strong woman is a sexy woman and anyone who sees physical strength as a turn-off is SO not worth your time. Seriously. Think about it.

Secondly, the purpose of diet and exercise is to nurture vibrant health. And when I say “diet” I mean eating for health every day as part of a healthy lifestyle. I do NOT mean jumping on the bandwagon of some diet fad in order to lose weight because you don’t look like the model on the latest cover of Cosmo.

We all have different body types, and a healthy body is an attractive body.

That being said, let’s say you legitimately need to lose some body fat for health reasons. Muscle burns fat.

Let me go one step farther and speak to those of you who still really want to look like those models in the magazines.

Check out Heidi's abs. I guarantee you she does strength training.

Cardio alone will not give you a body like this. Women who do cardio only tend to have a doughy look, even when they are very thin. Anyway, how muscular do you think you are going to get? Is Jillian Michaels too muscular?

You think a body like this happens by accident??

I can imagine some women would say yes. They want the abs but not the arms. I don’t really get it. What about Jackie Warner? Are those abs too much for you?

Good news! I give you my 100% guarantee that you will never look in the mirror one day and think, “Whoops! I’ve gone and done it! I didn’t mean to build those large, well-defined muscles! What’s a girl to do?”

These women are full-time fitness professionals. I’ve read Jackie Warner’s book. I know what she eats. That woman is DISCIPLINED.

Let me put it simply. Even if there were such a thing as too muscular (and perhaps some body builders have gotten there…), it is pretty much a full-time job to get there.

For the average woman, doing the recommended amount of exercise (alternating strength/cardio 3-6 days per week) and eating healthy foods without taking supplements like creatine, you’re just going to look good and feel strong.

In my book, that’s a good thing.

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4 Responses to “Too Muscular? Is That a Thing Now?”

  1. March 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    “Whoops! I’ve gone and done it!”
    I am having a laughing fit and the dog is agog as two dog gogs at my hysteria.

  2. Amanda May 13, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Well, actually, it can happen to certain women. But then, do we as women exist to please men and other petty women? I am struggling right now as a strength athlete between my “feminine” identity and my love of lifting heavy stuff and being strong. I am at a point now where people constantly comment on my body, telling me that I’m “buffed” and “look how big her biceps are” even though my biceps are only 13 inches flexed! And all those movies with female superheros who are so strong and bad ass but look like twigs don’t help. It’s hard being a girl. My husband has complained that I’ve gotten too big, in a nice round about way. He is trying to be sensitive about it, and he knows how much I love lifting so he tries to be supportive but when social occasions come up he likes it better when I cover my arms and legs up so that I appear more feminine.

    • trevinomurphy May 13, 2011 at 1:44 am

      Thank you for sharing! The idea that muscles are unfeminine is totally socially constructed and as ever-changing as cultural norms. As Naomi Wolf states in her powerful bestselling book The Beauty Myth, “Before the Industrial Revolution, the average woman could not have had the same feelings about ‘beauty’ that modern women do who experience the myth as continual comparison to a mass-disseminated physical ideal. Before the development of technologies of mass production–daguerreotypes, photographs, etc.– an ordinary woman was exposed to few such images outside the Church. Since the family was a productive unit and the women’s work complemented the men’s, the value of women who were not aristocrats or prostitutes lay in their work skills, economic shrewdness, physical strength, and fertility. [emphasis mine] Physical attraction, obviously played its part; but ‘beauty’ as we understand it was not, for ordinary women, a serious issue in the marriage marketplace. … Most of our assumptions about the way women have always thought about ‘beauty’ date from no earlier than the 1830s, when the cult of domesticity was first consolidated and the beauty index invented.”

      You’re right– it is hard being a girl sometimes, because there are so many societally constructed limitations on what is considered appropriate for us to look like, act like, etc… but the important to thing to remember is that everyone is unique and we should celebrate our strengths. I think it is awesome that you are strong and muscular! Good for you! That does not, in any way whatsoever, make you less feminine– in looks or in personality! You are who you are, and if you feel feminine then you are! And if you like to be strong then you can be! They are not mutually exclusive! Stay strong, sister– and feel free to e-mail me if you want to discuss further.


  1. My First Blog-iversary! « - November 17, 2011

    [...] 1) Too Muscular? Is That A Thing Now? [...]

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