Bigger Than Biceps: Pick up the weights, drop the stereotypes


Large boulders for shoulders. Protruding pectorals. Massive quadriceps and ripped sleeves from ever-growing biceps.

All of these characteristics can be associated with a bodybuilder. The explanation is in the name. All descriptions also have a slightly uncomfortable sound to them, especially when it comes to female bodybuilders.

From my personal experience as a female feeling pressured by society, I grew up thinking stick thin was the attractive look. It's how models looked. At that time, I never knew it was unattainable. I wasn't educated on genetics and how everyone's body has a different shape and makeup.

Now that I've researched bodybuilders and athletes in the fitness world, I've been exposed to a variety of body shapes and it's broadened my perspective. I find that, typically, men think female bodybuilders look gross and manly, unless they're a bodybuilder themselves. Other stereotypes lead people to believe that females have to take steroids, however that's not the case.

There are a bunch of female wrestlers and fighters who are extremely built and look amazing. They build their bodies, but use them in a different way. Bodybuilders do it for themselves, as a profession, as an athlete and to compete in different shows. These shows have a variety of divisions and not all of them require women to resemble the "manly" figure. There are events for smaller and skinnier girls who are lean and ones for larger and more muscular. Same for men, as it goes by weight class.

It takes a lot for a person to alter their mindset and perspective to trigger a lifestyle change. With a lifestyle change comes outside judgments or social adaptations. You might lose friends or gain some because you set aside time to workout or you don't go out to the bars as often. Your priorities have changed.

I just want people to realize that there's more to bodybuilding and a healthy lifestyle than what's on the surface. People don't do it to be cool or to be someone they're not. More often than not, people get fit end up finding their true self and break away from a toxic routine. It's more than just working out six days a week and eating healthy. Some athletes have trainers and coaches to help with posing practice. You don't just stand up on a stage and flex your muscles, you have to do a little dance and flash the pearly whites, too.

Going to school and working? You might say forget about it, but people still find ambition to compete in the midst of life. It takes hours of planning and mental strength. You can't miss a meal and you can't eat out of your prepped meals because every little thing counts to sculpt your body to a desired shape.

This is probably the moment in life when you realize which of your friends are there for you and which ones aren't. If they can't stand hearing about how sore your are or how anxious for a show you are, then find some ones with more compassion.

One of my fitness goals is to eventually compete. I found bodybuilding to have the most attractive workouts. Cross Fit and powerlifting are very different to prepare for. It's not based on the same values. I was more exposed to the art of bodybuilding through my aunt and her friends and witnessed what it took to compete. If you think you want to do something, set up a path to achieve it. That goes for any goals, big or small.

Quit it with the stereotypes and do some curls.

— Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.


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