You Can Have it All

I want you to be strong. But I don’t want you to just be strong. 
 
I don’t want you to train your ass off just to look normal. I want you to look obviously strong without having to demonstrate it by lifting a car from the ground or fighting off a mugger in public. I want you to appear strong enough that no mugger would approach you in the first place. 

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Grow Muscle to Get Leaner

We’ve had it all wrong. We’ve been looking at fitness backwards and sabotaging ourselves in the process.

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Food Addiction, Deprivation, and the Giada-Effect

Giada De Laurentiis pulls a batch of danishes out of the oven.

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Competition Prep: The Results and The Details

Whenever you prepare for a big event, and then the big event comes and goes, the days afterward can give you an emotional hangover. 

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Competition Prep: Just Over A Week Out

On the Celebration of Bodybuilding, Overcoming Self Doubt, Increasing Self Compassion, and My Progress in Pictures.
 
I'm battling some serious nerves this week. But I have to zoom out and realize that while I may not be perfect, perfection is not what this is all about. Bodybuilding means so much more to me than just appearing “flawless” on stage for a day. It’s about building your body up and celebrating the look of strength and the look of power. Figure in particular makes muscle glamorous and sexy. And I'll always love that regardless of how I do next week.

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High Fashion Doesn't Fit

Fit chicks need to ignore the fashion industry. Actually, all chicks who don’t fit the fashion industry’s standard of beauty need to ignore the fashion industry.
 
Not too long ago, Robyn Lawley, a former plus-size model for Ralph Lauren, launched her own swimwear line for plus sizes. 
 
And while Robyn is stunning in her apparel, there’s nothing “plus” looking about her. She’s a size-8, and she’s what lots of healthy women look like. In fact, if she had more muscle, she’d look like the women who work their asses off at most gyms. 
 
I had to laugh when I saw her pictures because my arms and legs are about double the size of hers. So I’m guessing I’m plus-sized these days too. 
 
Their Interpretation of Average
 
Sure, “plus” doesn’t have to carry any negative connotation, but you can’t deny that society associates it with being overweight. And if you look it up, you’ll see that plus-sized means above average size. 
 
So to the fashion industry, above-average women are like Robyn Lawley and most healthy women we see. This tells us that based upon the women they pick to model average-sized clothing, the fashion industry’s interpretation of the average woman is small, weak, and often malnourished looking.
 
No fashion industry. No she is not.
 
Women with Muscle Get the Shaft
 
Women that are hired to model average-sized clothing don’t look like average women. We all know it. And what’s worse, if you’re an athletic woman, the fashion industry doesn’t even acknowledge you.
 
If you’re a female who lifts you’re screwed by the fashion industry. You’re not average, you are plus
 
If you’re a female who lifts, it's common for you to look absolutely ridiculous when you try to cram your legs into most skinny jeans. Why? Because the fashion industry believes it’s abnormal to have quads and calves.
 
 
If you’re a female who lifts, and there’s any semblance of shape in your arms, better get used to wearing T-shirts because those delts, lats, and biceps don’t often fit into pretty things or business wear. And if they do, that top will inevitably be too big in the waist because the fashion industry expects anyone with arm girth to be fat. 
 
No fashion industry, wrong again. 
 
Luckily, if you look at high fashion, the stuff that shows up on the runway is pretty absurd. It flatters nobody. Even the “average” emaciated models they hire look silly. But saner versions of those styles eventually trickle down, and athletic women end up trying them out. 
 
Dressing Room Drama 
 
This is how it goes: You step into the dressing room and console yourself before the trying-on even begins. You give yourself a mental pep talk about how you'll be okay if nothing fits, and then remind yourself that average women, for whom these clothes are designed, don't work out the way you do. 
 
Deep down you know the chances of anything fitting are a total crap-shoot. And the last thing you want to do is hand over your self-worth to a clueless clothing manufacturer.
 
 
Today's brands don't realize the proportions of women who weight train. So their clothing is made for the girth of child-sized arms and legs, and if it does happen to fit in these areas, then it'll blouse out like a tent around your belly, butt, and hips. 
 
Clothing designers think that if your shoulders are broad and your arms and legs are thick, you must also have a wide belly and ass, i.e. the proportions of Santa Claus.
 

Strength: The New Fashion Statement

So those of us who are lucky enough to not have to dress professionally on a daily basis opt for athletic wear, day in and day out. We know where to find the highest quality spandex, suplex, and luon. And even if we’re not yogis, we often dress like we just left the yoga studio. This is our default-look.
 
But it’s a shame that the fashion industry’s ideal average woman is weak. Isn’t this image outdated? Hasn’t high fashion noticed that it’s now socially acceptable for women to look like they kick ass? 
 
Why, fashion industry, are you so averse to athletic looking females? 
 
Women have the intelligence, the chutzpah, the business sense, and the balls to go after every powerful status and achievement there is, but heaven forbid you let the average woman look strong. Heaven forbid you allow her to look like she could beat the living crap out of a rapist or an abuser.
 
 
Heaven forbid you abandon the idea that the average woman looks malnourished, or like a victim, or like a diva, or like a damsel that needs to be saved. We can save ourselves.
 
Heaven forbid you allow the average woman to appear as powerful on the outside as she is on the inside.
 
Sorry fashion industry, in your attempt at being cutting edge, you’ve become outdated.
 
If You're A Woman With Muscle, Your Body is the Art
 
Leave high fashion for those who have no time to workout or eat sensibly. Your body is your coolest fashion statement. It’s your best accessory, and far more attractive than any garment you can wrap it in. You don’t need to wear ridiculous things and show off the fabric hanging from your body. 
 
Your body is the art, not the fabric hanging from it. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Planet Fitness, Body Language, and the Key to Instant Respect

Planet Fitness commercials always catch my eye. They’re funny. And from a business point of view, brilliant. They market their not-so-gym gym to anyone seemingly unfit or inexperienced in the fitness world. 

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A Year of Keeping Track

Research in 2008 taught us that the most powerful way to get lean was to keep a food journal. It worked so well in fact that the participants who journaled most frequently actually doubled their weight loss.

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Competition Prep: 2.5 Weeks Out

On Highlighting Your Best Body and Killing Cravings With Tetris and Sex
 
My coaches are pretty brilliant when it comes to on-stage presentation, charisma, and the look the judges are searching for in a winning physique.

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Competition Prep: 4 Weeks Out

On Irritability, Gym Jerks, Expenses, Investments, and Sleep Debt
 
Seasoned competitors say the last couple weeks out is when you’re more likely to get irritable because of the diet and stress of prep, but I feel great! Except in the gym. 

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