Tag Archives: Jillian Michaels

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.

Don’t Be A Punching Bag: Fight Back!

25 Feb

I am LOVING season 11 of . Ok, maybe as a martial artist I’m a little biased. This season more than ever they are moving to a martial arts based training program. The 2 new trainers are a Golden Gloves boxer (Cara) and a kickboxer/mixed martial artist (Brett). More than that, this season has a wonderful group of very compassionate contestants and totally fierce women! If anyone watched season 10, you would have seen that one woman (Ada- they called her “The Terminator”) had to rep for all the females. I love Ada but man that season was so frustrating to watch. Really obnoxious gender dynamics in the group.

Anyway season 11 is awesome, you must check it out. Prepare to be inspired.

I love this show because it is all about physical empowerment. You watch mostly sedentary people with serious health problems transform into full-fledged athletes. Ever heard of a thing called mind-body connection? By week 7 or 8, you see all of them, one by one, blossom into completely different people. They become confident, assertive, expressive and most importantly they stop questioning whether or not they can accomplish any task set before them. No matter how difficult the task, they approach it with a can do attitude.

A downside of the show is that, because it is a competition, not everyone can continue. On the other hand, because they have to fight to stay there, they are forced to find the fighters inside of them.

Martial arts based training programs, aside from being a fun and engaging way to exercise, really help people to get to that point. Particularly for women, martial arts is such a healthy way to find the fight you need to succeed in life. As women we have a lot to fight against:

  • Unhealthy body image we learn from the media
  • Lack of representation/recognition in history, politics, sports, etc.
  • The idea that we are “the weaker sex”
  • The impulse to put everyone else first
  • The learned habit to constantly apologize for what we think, feel or say
  • The fact that female-dominated professions are undervalued and underpaid
  • Creepers at every turn…

Yet, I often see women in my self defense classes who seem physically pained at the thought of hitting someone! The thought of it. Seriously. And I have to wonder to myself, “Would you be that pained at the thought of taking a hit?” The answer is usually no.

How can this not look fun to you??!

I’ve heard people say that, generally speaking, men take out stress externally and women take it out internally. Of course there are exceptions (I, for example, want to punch people in the face when I am stressed), but in general I have seen that to be true. Women seem to feel that we don’t deserve things. Even basic things, like feeling safe and comfortable and happy and good about our bodies. I’ve said this before but just for good measure: You deserve to feel safe, happy and confident! I’m not saying you should go around punching people in the face, but I am saying you should not take crap from other people. You are strong and intelligent and anyone who makes you feel otherwise is a worthless jerk, so forget them.

Check out this of Jillian Michaels teaching Biggest Loser contestant Marcy not to be a punching bag. Love her or hate her, Jillian is hard core. I’m going to go on the record and say I’m a fan. If you watch the , you’ll see another great scene with the new trainer Cara boxing Kaylee, a contestant who didn’t know she was a fighter until she got in the ring. Great stuff!

You don’t have to do martial arts to be a fighter in your heart, but if you’re having a hard time finding the fight in you it’s a great place to start. If you’re in Madison, WI and you mention this blog post by March 31, 2011 I will give you a FREE 30 minute private lesson to help you get started at my studio: . Call 251-7755.

If you’re not in the area but interested in starting training, here’s some tips on how to find the right place for you:

  1. Martial arts studios should offer a free class or week, or at least a reduced rate drop-in class before you sign on to any sort of contract. I recommend trying classes at more than one place before you make your decision.
  2. Listen to your instincts. Martial arts training involves a lot of trust, so look for instructors that make you feel safe, welcome and supported.
  3. Self defense vs. competition is one of the biggest differences between schools. My school is a self defense based school, focusing on personal development. If you like competition and find it motivating, that might be a good fit for you, but personally I don’t see the value of full contact sport fighting. There are ways to compete, like light-contact sparring, that won’t leave you with a broken nose.
  4. Do you see a variety of people in class? When the student body is diverse in terms of gender, race, ability, body type, etc. that is usually a good sign.
  5. Are there female instructors or high ranks? You can’t always hope for this, because it is a male-dominated profession, but it is a good sign for you when women are in leadership positions in any setting. That being said, I know many wonderful male martial arts instructors who believe strongly in female empowerment and equality.

Ok, now go forth and fight back! Let this song be your soundtrack:

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