T Nation

ONLY GOD CAN SCULPT A MUSCLE!

How come 98% of the gals that I encounter at the gyms where
I train are still trying to SHAPE or SCULPT their muscles, in spite
of all the literature testifying of its SHEAR FUTILITY! As all of us
on the forum know, ONLY GOD CAN SCULPT A MUSCLE! The faces
change, but the routine is always the same: ENDLESS SETS OF 5lb
tricep kickbacks, 8lb dumbbell curls, and 12lb 1 arm dumbbell rows,
plus the usual assortment of 1 plate only boring machine exercises.
The coup de grace is that they’re spending 1/3of their gym time on the
infernal abductor/adductor mach, all with ZERO % improvement in
their body composition - DAMN! ! The saddest thing is that after all
these years, the thighs are still jiggling. That’s why when a woman
who belongs to the “other 2%,” STRUTS into the gym, takes charge, trains
hard, while doing BIG EXERCISES, draws such ATTENTION! Another
observation: 98% of the women who train at the 3 gyms I frequent are
NEVER out of breath, and they DON’T EVER perspire, except in the
cardio-room. Two final thoughts: Will these girls ever wake-up and smell
the coffee? And wouldn’t it be inspiring to see more women who train
like the ones on this board! Any Thoughts? Joey Z. ::::----::::

Unfortunately, no, it will never change. Ask them why they are doing 8 pound db curls. They will tell you it’s becuse they don’t want to get ‘big’ they just want to ‘tone’ gag it is pathetic, and i am embarassed for them when i go lift. Perhaps that sounds arrogant…but it’s true. I have actually TRIED to get women into the free weights area and actually work…and have never ever succeeded. If any of you have any ideas on how to enlighten women lat me know! grin

Joe: Great question! I think that this is going to be one that has more than one answer, so I’ll give you my take. The irony is this: The marketing people of the mags, equipment suppliers, exercise gizmos/informercials, “diet” foods, etc. will put somebody like Monica Brant,Beth Horn, D.J. Wallis, Theresa Hessler, Lena Johannsen, etc. on the cover OR have them posing or using their product;( or at least a woman with similar esthetics) WHO YOU KNOW DAY IN AND DAY OUT BUST THEIR BUTTS IN THE GYM AND ADHERE TO STRICT DIETS! (CERATAINLY not by using the garbage and ideas that they are selling!). Then they will proceed to sell woman on the fact that they can have this body with low-fat cookies, Special-K, Slim Fast With Soy, AB-Whatever and by lifting bunny weights and doing butt kicks. American Marketing at it’s best…while the Nation gets fatter and more out of shape. American Woman (and men!) are simply being fed a bag of useless goods. And they are buying into it by the BILLIONS of dollars. Add to that the ongoing feeling that by lifting weights they will get bulky and “look like a man”. This myth is not going away, and probably will NOT go away any time soon. So the butt kicks, rice cakes with soy and bunny weights continue…

How many of those people do you think have read that literature or heard anything about it? Besides, a lot of the times its probably because of some dumbass trainer.

Michelle: you can lead only by example; keep
up the good work : - )…Mufasa: No one’s getting
anything by you, man! I used to see your theory
illustrated on the popular fitness shows where
Cory Everson would lift a bunch of dinky weights,
putting forth ZERO effort, all the while looking very
comfortable and sporting a championship
physique… What a message that sent!
How sad it was to see gals that I knew, attempting
to mimic Cory’s same pathetic, canned TV routine.
End result: a year later most of these same girls no
longer showed up at the gym, and I think we know
why!

That last response was by Joey Z.

Joe: “BodyShaping” was an EXCELLENT case in point. The Everson/Everson team took female bodybuilding and the female esthetic to another level; muscle while maintaining beautiful, feminine lines. Cory was also one of the first to put dance and “fun” in posing routines. But Jeff and Cory were ANIMALS in the gym, with strict adherance to diet. And when you saw ACTUAL scenes of Cory in the gym, she was pushing the Iron, baby! But Cory is also a buisness woman (and a saavy one at that, I’m told). So…on the show, she would have those friends with that wonderful, muscular aesthetic…but she dared not pile on the '45’s and do Deads or Squats for that SnackWells eating housewife. Instead she did the butt-kicks, weight-less Pec Decs, and Dumbell kickbacks with a weight that she could do with her big toe! And the show still exist today! Go figure…

A favourite hobby-horse this topic: I have tried the application of logic; to wit:…[ME]What takes up more space, a Kg of Fat or a Kg of Muscle??.. [IGNORANT SAVAGE]Muscle… WHACK…fat??? [ME] Yes, fat, why??..[IS]duh? WHACK…[ME] Because muscle is more dense than fat… SO, if you lose a Kg of fat
and replace it with a Kg of muscle, will you be larger or smaller(more trim)?..[IS]…larger???..[ME] arrggghhhhh…
…And then of course these same people wonder why my fiance [who is usually found stuck under a squat bar or struggling with a deadlift] looks so good??? sigh

I have to respond to these stupid comments. There is a difference between trying to sculpt a muscle and toning. It is agreed that your muscle shape is genetically pre-determined and cannot be altered, but this is different from “toning”. If you think that every woman in the gym should be loading up the squat rack and doing 5X5 programs to build the type of physique that most women aspire to have (lean and “toned”) then you’ve lost all sense of reality. Many women use relatively “light” weights while training to “tone” their physique and have great results. Lifting weights will build muscle regardless of how much weight you are using, assuming that you are doing it correctly. Lifting heavier weights and training “balls to the wall” will build bigger muscles, which is often not what women are looking for. What most poeple don’t know is that the key to body “sculpting” is diet and that is what is holding back 98% of the population from attaining their goals.

i have two specific examples of this, both rather recent. unfortunatly, one was in ‘shape’ magazine - which is quite popular for women. they did inerviews with 3 ‘professional’ women who were ‘very experienced’. one stated (as close as i remember the quote) “i lift a few times a week, but only moderate weights, nothing over 15 pounds. i don’t want too get big.” i shudder to think of the number of women who read that and decided that lifting anything over 15 pounds will make them look like some 'roided out female body builder. and we all know that happened.

the other was personal. i was doing curls - admittedly with not much weight - and a woman who was working with a trainer said to him ‘i want to lift like that’ he reolied ‘we’ll get to that level’ and handed her the little pink plastic weight so she could continue her ‘workout’ i’m SURE she thinks she is working hard. she is probably tired when she is done with her $40 personal training hour. but i have YET to see a SINGLE person sweat when working with the trainers in the gym i go to. a lot of this trouble comes from the media - as perviously stated, but also from ‘industry proffessinals’ who continue the string of bullshit. women with tooth pick arms tell me that they don’t lift heavy weights because they don’t want to get ‘big’ i laugh and tell them i’m TRYING to get bigger and am barely sucdeeding…and if i can’t on purpose they’re not going to by accident. but ith simple fact is they don’t believe me. i have decided to do a sting operation this week. there are two ‘athletic clubs for women’ that just had grand openings where i live. only women are allowed to join and they are staffed mostly by women. i am going to go and have a tour, meet with a trainer, and see what they have to offer. i’ll post the results…

I probably would have let this go if the term “stupid comments” hadn’t been used. It’s this attitude that permeates the gyms and probably keeps women (and men) from attaining their goals.

1)No one is suggesting that women (or men) for that matter become Renegades or go “Westside” in order to attain their goals. But you want to really read a “stupid” comment? “Lifting weights will build muscle regardless of how much weight you are using, assuming that you are doing it correctly.” Muscle Overload…Progressive Overload… Whether you are a woman or a man…certain tenants of basic physiology don’t change. She can use 5 pound bunny weights all she wants. If she does not lift heavier and progressively, she will not improve those flabby tris…and if she doesn’t lift heavier with some Squats or at least Leg Presses…that “cute glute” will continue to allude her.

2)“Many women use relatively “light” weights while training to “tone” their physique and have great results”. Do you equate “great” results with “no” results? What is “toning” anyway? I have seen some great looking “bunny lifters” (ONLY in the sense that they used realtively light weights). But usually one or two things were also true. a)Weight lifting was merely an adjunct to another primary pursuit (I’ve seen some AWESOME physiques on female swimmers, rock climbers, gymnast, volley ball players, bikers and the like). But these ladies were FAR from average. OR b)They started off with beautiful lines and shape already. Again…not the “average” gal in the gym.

3)“Lifting heavier weights and training “balls to the wall” will build bigger muscles, which is often not what women are looking for”. YES THEY ARE! They may not say the WORDS “I want bigger muscles”, but they say “I want a “rounder” butt” or “firmer, more shapely underarms” or “more “shape” to my calves and legs”. THESE THINGS COME ABOUT BY HAVING BIGGER MUSCLES! Period.

4)“What most people don’t know is that the key to body “sculpting” is diet and that is what is holding back 98% of the population from attaining their goals”.Well…we agree…

Iron…if you’re a trainer…I now understand why we see what we see in the gym. Women should not be afraid of the weights. They will not become “bulky” or “man-like”…but they sure will come much closer to reaching the fullness of whatever potential they see for themselves…and to me…that is FAR from “stupid”…

iron - ‘lean and toned’??? everyone knows the ‘skinny fat’ crowd. i was at a wedding yesterday, the bride - a good college friend of mine - has a waist about the same size as my thigh. she has no bodyfat anywhere…but no muscle either. this is a perfect example…and very evident at my gym and every other gym in the world. you can have no bodyfat…and if you have no mucle you will still look ‘flabby’ i have a pretty high bf% but i also have a very visible tricep ‘horse shoe’ if i didn’t lift heavy weights would i have that? no…not a chance. if i dieted down to 10% and didn’t lift would i have that horse shoe? not a chance. BOTH are necessary. no pain no gain is 100% true. results never ever come in 10 minutes a day 3 times a week. they never come without sweat and pain. the women who are spending hours and hours lifting 5 pound plastic pink weights hoping to get rid of the underarm flab that waves good bye for minutes after they stop will never ever ever achieve their goal. even if they are thin. this is not a ‘stupid comment.’ the problem is, MOST women think that doig 50 pound curls will make their arms look like Arnie’s (don’t i WISH)… that doing squats will make their butt get so big that they won’t be able to buy pants… that doing calf raises will make it look like they have baloons in their legs. obviously we all know this is untrue. but most women don’t. just ask them. bad diet and lack of ‘real’ work in the gym is what causes most woment to get discouraged and quit. myths like ‘Many women use relatively “light” weights while training to “tone” their physique and have great results.’ perpertuate the thinking i talked about above.

Dear Iron: In order to sculpt, or as you say “tone” muscle,
one must first have muscle to tone; those people that I see
on a daily basis have little or NONE! Also, can you honestly say
that doing a movement such as a 1 arm DB row performed with 12-lbs
for 3 sets of 8 reps is really going to accomplish anything of value
when that girl is more than capable of doing 35-lbs for 3 sets of
12 reps? Like Mufasa, I, too, DEFINITELY agree with the diet issue!
P.S. Michelle & Mufasa: I am TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY with YOUR
recent responses, and need to reread them a few more times!
WOOOOW, GREEEATT STUFF!!! Joey Z.

Iron, you’ve lost the plot. The fact of the matter is women don’t have the Testosterone needed to “bulk up” or “get big” regardless of the way they train. If you believe otherwise, you’re admitting to being one many suckers who falls for the great weight training falicies.

Seriously. A lot of the problem seems to be mindset, not only in terms of the accepted fallacies attached to what “training with weights” will do to the female physique but also with reference to how the body will react to other forms of exercise, and indeed how different parts of the body will react to similar types of exercise. For example, strength differentials in upper and lower body strength being attributed to the “I am a female” thing rather than to a developmental social context which doesn’t see woman using their upper bodies as much as males do in recreational pursuits. Yes, hormonally [T-levels], women will not develop as much muscle, but there is no real physiological impedence to their training bodies like men do.

Similarly, as others have said, the media creates a context by which prescribed concepts of exercise and indeed physiological effectiveness are incorrectly determined. I did my Masters thesis on the transmission of ideology in advertising using body-image and over and over again the same points came up; that not only were women [and also men] indoctrinated into looking at a specific female typology as ideal but the mechanisms which were to be used to achieve this ideal were also circumscribed the the social context.

Therefore, to breakthrough to a lot of women about the benefits of lifting, for want of a better word, hardcore, you have to break through more than the layer of conditioning
associated with merely weights and getting big…

Bravo! Michelle: Incredible wisdom is contained in your
statements. Muscles do not happen by accident, and don’t
let the BASTARDS tell you otherwise. Nothing was ever accomplished
in the gym without SWEATING! Let us know how your STING OP.
goes! Thanks for sharing all YOUR experiences; they were enlightening!

Mufasa, as you said, “Progressive Overload…Whether you are
a woman or a man…certain tenants of basic physiology don’t change…”
I, personally, see no way around the validity of these facts!
My motto has always been, "If you want your body to look different,
you have too give it a reason to."Besides, I love to see women sweat
and breathe hard, but that really has nothing to do with this.
P.S. Thanks, Big Bruva. Joey Z.

first, if a women is only 5-15lbs over what she wants to weigh and is in no real hurry (has more important thing to do with their life, wants to spend time with her family, etc…) then she CAN get great results (i.e. the results SHE wants) by useing 5lb db’s and never going “balls to the walls”. also people should remember that the “trainer” may have a couple of kids to feed and may need to actualy make a liveing, if by getting his/her client the same or similar results in twice as long a period of time as what is possible he will make twice as much money from his/her client, don’t make it right or wrong just true. why do guys always thing girls are the only ones that fall for this shit? how many “anabolic meg packs” were sold? what makes you so sure your ideas have not been influenced in the same way? just a question. peace

I politely disagree with your first premise, but
I DO agree that MEN certainly have a lot of
issues to deal with themselves. (We can be pretty
gullible, TOO!) That will be the focus of a future
thread - “The Stupid Things That Men Do!”
Sincerely, Joey Z.

I’m doing my part to prevent this travesty. I set my daughter up on a good program based on the big three (deads, squats, bench). She wanted to start working out sooner but she has more time now that she’s in college full time with free access to a nice gym. I warned her not to pay attention to how the “chicks” work out because they are wasting their time. So far she’s happy with her progress. Maybe some other women will see how well it works and give it a shot…nah…never happen.

Whaaaat? Are you saying that… oh my God! That these Bulgarian overhead dumbbell flying twists aren’t gonna make my traps the exact same shape and size as Dorian Yates’? But he used to do them all the time! It must be true, I saw it in a magazine once!
One more thing… What is a “squat rack”? There isn’t such a machine in my gym.