guest post! kara h.

by Janetha on June 13, 2010

in moves

i’m camping.

you’re on the computer.

have you entered my tofuXpress giveaway yet? you should.

wanna know what else you should do? read this stellar post from kara. she is witty and smart. and hilarious.. i figured that one out after sentence number 3 and 4 of her post below.

plus, she knows her stuff.

here she is!

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Hello Meals and Movers!

I’m Kara Hadley and I write FoodBaby, a fitness and vegan eats blog. When Janetha said she needed a few guest bloggers while she was away camping I jumped at the chance to ask myself WWJD? What would Janetha do?

So I’ve decided to talk about something that is very near and dear to both the lovely Janetha and myself—muscles.

No, this is not my way of announcing my career as a fitness competitor. Nor is this my version of a personal ad looking for a Snooki-style gorilla man.

This is my way of bringing up a topic that is rarely talked about when discussing conventional, magazine types of beauty, but that everyone who knows anything about fitness knows is unavoidable.

We’ve all been to the gym and seen the girls (and guys are guilty of this, too) who spend hours doing cardio. They get on the elliptical. They move to the stair-stepper. Or if they have a particularly enthralling book or magazine that needs reading, they hop on a stationary bike. They take spin classes and cardio dance classes. But the idea of picking up anything heavier than their oversized bag leaves them reeling. Their main concern is taking off weight, not putting it on (in the form of muscle).

And what scares them more than the number on the scale is the thought of getting…bulky.

Gasp! Oh no! Anything, but that.

Ha! Silly kids, muscles are for cool people.

Like I said, if you know the slightest bit about fitness you know that cardio is only half the equation. Strength training is the other half, and cranking up the resistance on the elliptical doesn’t cut it. You need to lift weights. Pump iron. Take a trip to muscle beach, so to speak.

There are endless benefits to lifting weights, so why not do it?

Because of that dreaded fear of getting bulky.

No woman wants to lose the delicate daintiness that all the models have. And no man wants to look like a Jersey Shore-style meathead. So instead of lifting like they know they should, people back off. They lift the little weights that are usually reserved for babies and grandmas. And the second they start to feel the burn they drop the weights and run.

You wouldn’t want to actually build any muscle, not when you can be king or queens of the cardio machines and stay stick thin (but really rather doughy).

When it’s spelled out like this doesn’t it sound rather ridiculous?

I think so. Yet, I know I have struggled from time to time with a fear of bulk. As a slightly bottom-heavy near-midget (5’1” and sticking) the last thing I wanted was to add any muscle to my legs. If I could add 5” and some muscle I would happily squat till I dropped. But that wasn’t going to happen.

image

So for a while I focused on “toning” my legs. I added the quotation marks because, really, I wasn’t doing a darn thing. I would spend countless hours doing hundreds of repetitions with the bare minimum weight. And I never saw a bit of difference. My legs weren’t morphing into lean, mean, mini-skirt wearing machines. Rather, I was getting frustrated.

And I know I’m not the only one battling bulk-a-phobia. Janetha posted not too long ago (or was it awhile ago?) that for a long time she had been insecure about her “stumpy legs.” And my mother, who loves sporting tank tops at the gym, is constantly asking if her arms are getting too big. My petite mother seems to imagine herself with a linebacker’s upper body.

Again, this all seems ridiculous.

But we buy into it, hook, line, and sinker.

So I say it’s time we stop. Janetha seems to have learned to love her legs for all of the amazing power they pack. And I, too, am coming to love my gams. I stopped swinging them around with fishing weights attached to my ankles and started actually lunging, pressing and lifting. And you know what?

I like the results.

image

As for my mother, I don’t think she’s quite over her imaginary-guns. (But then again, the cut of her tank tops could also be to blame.)

image

Stop shying away from lifting, heavy or otherwise. Embrace your defined, firm, and wonderfully dough-less body. Rest assured in knowing that unless you’re pounding protein shakes (with a sprinkling of ‘roids) like it’s your job you’ll never look like this:

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[source.]

Thanks for listening. And if I didn’t bore you too terribly with my rambling you should check out my blog, FoodBaby.

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thanks for the post, kara! i am all about the muscles. i mean, come on, the more muscle we possess the more we get to eat :D

Qs~

1. How do you embrace and build your muscles? FYI-I once had a friend who claimed his workout routine included trying to pick up the heaviest thing he could find. No joke.

2. What is something you used to be self-conscious about that you have no learned to love?

xo. kara t. & janetha b.

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Run Sarah June 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Love this guest post! I agree with everything! I used to be a cardio only queen but in the past few months I’ve start weight training and found working out so much more enjoyable, and found myself with a stronger body that I like a lot more. I’ll never look like the last photo, but a stronger, more toned version of myself? Yes please!

Kate June 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Awesome post!! And nice legs :)

My arms are a lot bigger than your mom’s and as soon as I started lifting weights (which was like a month ago), I started worrying about bulking up too much. Oy.

Anyway, when I feel bad, I look to Michelle Obama. The woman knows how to have some arms.

Thanks for this great post!

Sweet Cheeks June 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

great post!!! Muscles are definitely for cool kids…couldn’t agree more, haha!

kayfitz June 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm

This post was awesome (and hillarious!).

I have just started weight workouts. My mothers in her 50’s with a rockin’ bod and she’s all about the weights. I went through a phase when I started BFL where I did no cardio – just weights and I LOST more weight than I ever did just doing cardio! I know both are important but weights changed everything for me! Also the results are pretty quick (even just when you realize you can do an extra 5 push ups compared to a week ago). I think weights are an awesome motivator!!

I used to hate my butt! It’s only gotten bigger in the last few years but my boyfriend thinks it’s the greatest thing ever and i’ve started to agree! In saying that i’m still looking forward to downsizing but now I am conscious of trying to keep some curves!!

april June 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm

LOVE THIS!! All I do is lift weights and I couldn’t be happier!!

Katie June 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Great post! I just (as in a few weeks ago) started embracing the weights. I’m not in love yet – but I also don’t look like a body builder – so no harm done. :-) Nothing to be afraid of. I’ve even bribed my personal-trainer-husband to come up with some “heavy” workouts for me.

I’m also slowly embracing my big child-birthing hips…slowly. At least I don’t loathe them anymore.

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) June 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I am short & stumpy too- I feel your pain! But I have learned to love my legs, thick or not- they have carried me miles and miles over the years- running, walking, biking… and I am proud of them!

I like to do body-weight exercises that tone but keep me lean :)

xo
Kris

runnerforever June 13, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I need strong muscles to be able to do all the cardio that I love for a long time!

traynharder23 June 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm

i feel sometimes i can’t fit into my old clothes- but that’s coz i have so much more muscle! LOL. i used to shy away from lifting weights and just ran all the time. i was way too skinny with that. now i have an ass and i lift progressively heavier weights. go crossfit.

i’m still self conscious of my protruding tummy and slight chunky-ness. i’m learning to love my legs tho!

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