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One Woman’s Request

ohswodopen2011Don’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.

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