One Woman’s Request
Don’t be nice to me. Not here, not in the gym. Not just because I’m a woman. You can be nice to me in the bar, on the street, in the library, at home. But in the gym I’m no longer your baby, your honey, or your sweetheart. I’m a woman in a gym and I’m here to kick ass, not show mine.
In the gym, I’m about performance, not popularity. I’m about achievement, not appearance. I’m about strength, not sex.
Do you get that? Whether you’re my workout partner, my friend, my lover, or my coach, don’t suggest that I go easier, lighter, or with less fortitude than that of which I am capable. You’re not doing me any favors.
The gym is not a place to protect women, nor is it a place to worship them, but it is a place to exalt them. We could grow so much here. Help us to do so.
Help us to elevate ourselves by ourselves. Forget gallantry and remember weights. If our form is good on practice lifts, urge us to go heavier. Please. We often underestimate ourselves. That’s often the difference between men and women in the gym. Most men overestimate what they can do, while most women underestimate what they can do. That’s where you can help us most when it comes time for the workout. That’s where we really need you. Take that bravado and lend us a little. Tell us to go heavier, go faster, get meaner. We’ll look dismissive but we’ll take your words to heart. We will go heavier, go faster, and get meaner – at least with the weights.
Don’t baby us. Not in the gym. Not in words and not in demeanor. If you’re my coach, don’t you dare set out one workout for the men and one workout for the women. If my form is good, don’t you dare keep me at a light weight for months or years. Don’t you dare underestimate what my weight should be on the bar. I should know. I’m the one lifting it. And if I let you keep me down, then shame on me too.
My words may sound angry, but I am not. I am resolved. I want to be strong and to grow stronger. I just need your help in not giving me help. I need to stand on my own. Let me do that. Don’t be nice to me. Thank you.
Great article yet again, Lisbeth! I never get tired of reading any of your stuff -- it is always passionate, inspired and right on point! It's interesting to see this article now, too, because we've historically been a male dominated affiliate at CFNYC, The Black Box, but have recently had an influx of women. In talking with one of them while a few of us hounded her to go heavier on some back squats, she happily accepted the prompting, but also made a very insightful comment about how women don't like to fail at reps. She made the same point as you about men overestimating their abilities and women underestimating theirs - but the specific statement about not liking to fail reps struck me as a profoundly simple truth - and something relevant for any man or woman lifting. Certainly don't get under or over the bar expecting yourself to fail, but also don't hold yourself back because you're afraid you might - you're only depriving yourself of getting faster, getting stronger, and reaching your potential. Okay - end soap box. Again, great stuff Lisbeth!
Becky, please don't disrupt the important work you are doing this summer for any thing as trivial as a t-shirt.
Mike-thought I saw u coaching football sporting an arm bandage, but don't see that great far away and I'm too vain for glasses..
maybe if i get creative between now and actually having to work for a living in september i will make you a "mighty mike" t-shirt --- but no promises --- I have a busy schedule of working on my tan and chasing jen through the woods nutrition folks i am on my way to post in the nurtition page
Rockstar: I am so flattered that you are worried about me. I am a lucky man. No injuries to report. I do coach baseball but not mighty mites. Sound like hockey. My son plays but I just watch. I just moved into a new house and I am trying to catch up on unpacking and painting. All of a sudden a week has gone by and I haven't work out at all. I'll be in for a nooner tomorrow if my babysitter shows up. Lisbeth: I'm back. I apologize for my absence. I intended to come in this evening but I spoke at a conference this afternoon and I ran long and got stuck in traffic and didn't make it. Becky: I'm with you if I have to choose between the two names.
Oh Boy - Forget the name Psycho Mike - I am calling him Mighty Mike from now on - regardless of whether he is the coach!
I don't know about the arm or the coaching. But he's MIA and not talking on here? Mike -- where are you?
Jen - After we talked this morning I went for a little prance around Hop Brook and it is much hillier (and narrow) than I remembered. The Bridal Trails will probably be better. Let's meet at CFW at 10am on Tuesday. Anyone want to join Jen and I (and maybe Melissa and Jackson??) for a trail (flat) run on Tuesday??
Wow! Such powerful words Lis. Stuff like this is why I keep stalking CFW. Hope to see you all soon and get a chance to get my a$$ kicked.
Yes... the rumors are true. We closed on a house in Woodbury. So, here's the scoop. We are probably going to be moving all the little stuff and boxes the rest of the day today. Tomorrow, I could use some help with the 2 people job stuff... beds, couches, desks, etc. I'm off the entire day. So, if anybody is interested in helping. Let me know. I'm thinking I will WOD tomorrow at 5 and then if people want to help after that would be great. If you do plan on helping, let me know what adult beverages you would like for me to have on ice :-)
Talk about functional fitness! There is a ton of construction going on outside my office and they are sledge-hammering stakes into the ground today. I feel like going out there and showing them a thing or two!!
I don't think that the CFW women are ever treated lightly when it comes to workouts. The thought has never crossed my mind. Great job this morning, everyone!
Nate is the only DIRTY WOMEN! Even though we tried to have the girls only club this morning, Becky was nice enough to let Chris is! I think I finally back squated the right way for the first time ever - my legs are already cramped up!
Great post. Lots of impressive strong women from coast to coast. It continues to inspire me. btw, Matt never talks nice to me in the gym. EVER!
I'm in for the move and have a van (which I live in down by the river). As for the chick stuff, I like coming to a gym where I know all the chicks can smoke/own me. When I was at CF Laguna Beach last week, they had a great poster of a picture of that 14 year old girl at last years CF games and the poster tag line was "you just got owned by a 14 year old girl" CF has helped me get better. Every WOD exposes another weakness and by showing up I get a little stronger, faster, etc.
Yes! We have a whole bunch of take no sh#t, kick a$$ women at CFW!!! I love working out with each one of you. Lis and Pam are right on, it is so great to have someone pushing you go to harder, heavier...egging you on, expecting nothing but the best and full on effort. Boys included here too...love it when Im at the barbell debating about how much to load and Miggs or Chris tell me to stop being a wimp and load up an extra 10lbs! It's because of all you guys that I have EARNED Jen's comment...and its "BAD A$$" back squatting bitch!
Hey, people -- I know we don't like Toon and he had the nerve to go and decide to move to a new house, but maybe it's time to put this functional fitness thing to the test? Who's in for some moving time this afternoon/evening?
Well put, Spamela! Thank you. And I must say, you showing up and Melissa learning to love the barbell has totally upped my game. When she put that extra 10lbs on her bar for FGB last night, I was like "Damn her! Why did she have to do that? Now I have to go heavier!" But, you know what? She was right. We could all do it -- and with good form. (And Jen not letting me get away with . . . well, just about everything . . . has made a difference. Six lbs down on the "HQ 20" that I gained from working too much, sleeping too little, and not eating right.) We've got a great community here. We are lucky.
One of the worst parts about being held back is that you eventually notice it, and boredom and frustration set in. If your mood gets worse the closer you get to the gym, you need to find a new gym. Everytime I come to CFW I find out a little more about myself. I seem to get a little faster or a little stronger each week. That wouldn't be possible without Lis, Jen, Melissa and the rest of the CFW trainers pushing me. I think one of the secrets to CFW's success, at least when it comes to females, is that its trainers know we can be strong and they work hard to bring it out. Effort is often the result of expectation. Low expectations produce weak results. But when someone believes in you and your ability to be strong, holds you to a higher standard and expects you to achieve it, you try harder in an effort to meet their expectations, often times exceeding your own. That's the difference between CFW and other boxes.
figures.. I would be the 1st post in the comments when the blog is about girls... I mean women who kick a$$ and then kick you again when your on the ground
In visiting other athletic centers I have definitely seen the men that you are reaching with your stroke (hehehe - that was hard). That is why we are so lucky at CFW. No bobs telling us not to benchpress. Poor Chris - remember the night of lunges when Sue and I almost killed him...
Nice point, Becky! This essay was written with a broader stroke (haha, I make myself laugh) and not aimed at the wonderful men of CFW. Besides, Chris became an honorary member of the V Club that first night that you and K sandwiched him on the rowers and talked about, um, private things.
Yay Girls! And yay to our CFW male contingent - as one of the original CFWers (when there were no men in our ranks) I am proud and happy to say that none of the men here have ever made me feel uncomfortable or belittled me. They encourage, but not in a condescending way. They motivate me to go faster and harder. It has been a pleasure having each and every one of you here!