“Look at your goals. Look at your behavior. Does your behavior match your goals?”
Dan John is a man with great wisdom to share. His words ring in the ears of many strength coaches and lifters. Dan talks about goals a lot. And he should. Why are goals so important for us? Do we need goals? Yes, I think so. Setting your mind on something and going after it full force gives you some guidance in your life, whether it is going back to school for your Master’s in Education, squatting 225 for sets of 10, benching your bodyweight, completing a marathon…you get the picture. All of us have set goals for ourselves in some way or another over the years: “By April 1, I will run my first 5K” or “I have enrolled at my local university and will be going back to school to get my degree in accounting” or “I will lose 15 pounds by June 1.” Whatever your goal is, you write it down or say it out loud and then you go about taking the necessary steps to complete your goal. YOUR goal. Not your mother’s goal or your best friend’s goal or the woman on the internet who is-showing-off-her-slim-stomach goal. YOUR goal. Which leads me to my big question for women. What is YOUR goal? What inspires YOU to want to achieve YOUR goal?? What motivates YOU? What makes you go after what YOU want? Is it a picture of someone squatting her bodyweight? Is it a picture of an 80 year old woman deadlifting? Is it a picture of a woman in a bikini? What inspires YOU? What is YOUR goal? (Are you getting the theme here??)
Before I go any further, let me start off by talking about the woman with the slim tummy or “abs” as people like to say which really kills me because that woman with “abs” isn’t really showing off her abs. She is displaying a flat stomach which is different than showing off her abs. If you cannot count the 4 pack or six pack, it’s simply a flat stomach. But I digress…..
Anyway, getting back to the woman with the flat stomach. Yes, THE woman. She really got a lot of women fired up awhile ago over a picture of her in her tank top and bootie shorts and the words “What’s your excuse?” at the top of the picture and her three little boys next to her. Oh MAN, did women have a shit storm over her. It was unreal. And it went on and on and on. Like forever. I loved it. All I have to say about Maria is GOOD.FOR.HER. 😉
Really. Really. Really. And I truly mean this with all the love in the world. I am not being sarcastic. I am not being funny. I am being honest. Good for her. 😉 Because I wanted to look like THAT too last summer. And you know what? I did. And I had to work my ass off for it. Just like she did. Because that was my GOAL, just like this was her goal. Good for her. Obviously, she decided that her GOAL was to look a certain way….the way she looks. Her GOAL was to have a flat stomach. Her GOAL was to have a slim waist, firm glutes and defined arms. And guess what? That is OKAY. That was her GOAL. And she worked damn hard to achieve her goal. Then she put her picture out there and said “What’s your excuse?” and women got all riled up. I mean, really riled up. It was ridiculous what they put this woman through. So bloody what. Let her say it. She has a right to show off her hard work. Every fitness and bikini competitor does it too. Why not her? They have a goal and they work damn hard at their goal. Their GOAL. And if YOUR GOAL is Maria’s GOAL, if your goal is a bikini competitor’s goal, well…..WHAT IS YOUR EXCUSE? Why DON’T you have a flat belly and firm glutes? Is your GOAL really the same as her GOAL? If it is, well, then maybe you DO need to do more. Have you ever thought of that??? Have you ever stopped to think, hmmm, maybe she is talking to “her” (some other random person who wants to look like her) NOT YOU because, well, that person’s goal may not be YOUR GOAL. Have you ever thought of that? Have you ever thought that maybe the “What’s your excuse?” does not really relate to YOU or your GOALS????? I don’t want to be the one to spell it out to you, but seriously, come on. If you look at that picture and read “What’s your excuse?” and go ape shit, then perhaps she really did strike a nerve because she is simply stating the obvious. What is your excuse for not looking that way?
Now before you decide to go ape shit on ME and decide that I must be burned at the stake for speaking blasphemy, stop and take a good, hard look at yourself. Really. And I don’t mean physically. I mean mentally. Look at who you are, where you are in your life, what you want to do with your life. Who is the the woman YOU want to be? How do you want to define yourself as a woman? Please don’t give me crap about the “media” and how horrible they are and how they put women down and how women can’t do anything right now. “She’s too fat. She’s too skinny.” I’m tired of it. I am a woman too, and I read the same shit you do. But I don’t let it define me as a woman. And I DO NOT put other women down because they want to look a certain way. I also don’t put myself out there as some people do. I don’t look for pity or praise. I try to share useful information with my readers, not useless. I try to be as honest as I can with my female members. I don’t allow them to complain about how they look, and I certainly don’t complain about how I look. So again, I ask you to take a real hard look at yourself. Do you really want to be the woman always complaining about the size of her thighs or how you have no upper body strength but won’t do anything about it OR do you want to be the woman who OWNS her body, really owns her body and decides how she is going to make the most of the wonderful body you have. Sure, you can complain and complain and complain. I won’t listen. You can make smart ass remarks about other women who are working hard to look good (or whom you perceive as looking good.) They don’t give a shit about what you say either because they own themselves.
You can bitch and complain that these women are bad women for wanting to look this way. No one is going to listen. You can sit in front of your computer for hours on end making comment after comment on various forums or blog sites or Facebook and post nasty remarks about this woman or that woman OR, and this is a big one, YOU could actually do something productive like, oh, I don’t know, go for a walk, make a delicious meal or hit the gym and get your squat on. If you have the time to sit and bitch about a picture or quote or comment or post or whatever, then you have more time on your hands than you know what to do with and that is really fucking sad.
You could also, wait for it…….YOU could IGNORE the picture or quote or comment that you don’t like and actually get off your ass and get to work. You can IGNORE that picture because HER GOAL is not YOUR GOAL. I doubt that Maria’s goal is to deadlift 2x her bodyweight. Her GOAL is to look like a hot momma. Well done Maria. You did it. 😉 If your goal is look like a hot momma, well, what is your excuse for NOT looking like one? And who the fuck says that a hot momma HAS to look like that? I know some very hot mommas who don’t look like Maria and are kick ass, strong, beautiful women. It pisses me off that we as women feel the need to shut other women down for wanting to look a certain way. Knock that shit off. NOW. If you need to get up at 5:30 am to get to the gym because you really have NO other time during the day, then make the time to do it. You know those fitness and figure competitors with children? Some of them are up at 4:30am to get their cardio or strength training in because they are busy the rest of the day and they want to spend time with their children in the evening.
Do you want to condemn them too for looking a certain way???? I am sure each and every one of them has some sort of “What’s your excuse?” out there….for all those women who WANT to look like them and don’t. It’s a way to get those women with that goal motivated and off their butts. And it may work for those women. These figure competitors have a specific goal and they make sacrifices to meet their goals. Nothing comes easy. There is no easy way to get stronger or lose weight or run a marathon. It takes work. It takes patience. It takes consistency. It takes commitment. If you want to lose fat, you have to decide to make the effort to re-learn how to eat, learn to make better food choices, establish better eating habits and yes, maybe eliminate negative food from your plan. Sometimes this may mean seeking out a professional. If so, then do it. If you want to run a marathon, do your research on training for one. Buy a good pair of running shoes. And if you are unsure about your running skills, seek out a professional to help you with your running, especially if you are concerned about injury. Turning to someone else for help will help you hold yourself accountable and will help you keep YOUR goal YOUR goal. There is no easy way to run your first marathon. You just have to do it. Same with losing fat. It takes time. It takes experimenting to find what works best for you. Three meals? Five meals? More protein? Less fat? We are all different and we all have different needs. Find what works the best for you.
It saddens me that so many women get so irritated by what other woman want to look like. As a woman, I am very often disappointed in my sex. This past year, the tweets that went out during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show were just shameful. And while some of these tweets may have been in “jest,” they really were not funny. I was not laughing and I thought they were pretty messed up. Here are a few samples:
Shameful. Really shameful. And disturbing. If you have that much of an issue with a supermodel and looks the way she looks because she was born with those legs and arms and is, well, a supermodel, then you seriously need a reality check because those women are few and far between. Reality check: YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF THEM UNLESS YOU ARE BORN WITH THIS BODY TO START WITH. PERIOD. THE END. GET OVER IT. NOW.
Do you see guys bemoaning the fact that they are not built like Michael Jordan or Shaquille O’Neal or Michael Phelps or any football player or the top World’s Strongest Man???? Do you really think they are saying “Oh, if I only looked like him, I could dunk a basketball or swim faster or lift more weight???” Do you think they are sitting around, crying, eating lettuce and posting stupid comments about guys on the internet? NO. No, because they are too busy eating real food and getting their asses on the basketball court and practicing dunking the ball. No because they are in the water swimming laps. No because they are at the gym, squatting and deadlifting and working on being the best they can be. Why can’t we as women seem to think the same way? Why do these images of other women make us cry and bad mouth other women and turn us into sniveling little bitches? Are you kidding me??? It makes me ashamed of my own sex. When I watched one of the videos of the Victoria Secret show, all I thought was “Damn, I wish that I could walk on a run way with Fall Out Boy playing my theme song.” Cause you see, I want to strut my stuff too. All of it. 😉
My ONLY blessing is that I don’t hear any of this negative talk in my gym. SOMETIMES I hear someone tell me they can’t do something, and I immediately shut that shit down. “Can’t” has never been in my vocabulary and it never will be. Other than that, there is always a lot of laughter and a lot of talk about food and restaurants and nails and how much someone squatted or deadlifted and how badass someone looked dragging a sled. You know, girl talk. If I ever do hear negative talk about bodies, I shut that shit down too. But it really doesn’t happen that often, if ever. And that’s because we OWN who we are. Sure, we all have specific goals and sure, we all would like to look and feel the best we can but we don’t freak about shit. Every woman I work with wants to be stronger – physically and mentally. They all want stronger backsides. They all want muscle. They all want to feel good about themselves. And they do. It’s taken me 26 years (started when I was 13) to overcome a lot of negative bullshit in my life about my body. And I can honestly say, that because of the women I work with and have the pleasure to train day in and day out, I am happier today with who I am and how I look than I have ever been in the past 20 years. Seriously. No shit. Because when you surround yourself with strong minded women who accept who they are and are proud of who they are and are working to become even BETTER versions of themselves, one can only feel good about oneself. If I have helped them, they have certainly helped me. It’s a two way street here at Fivex3.
My only hope is that one day, women will learn to accept themselves for who they are and also learn to accept other women for who they are and not judge other women who may have different goals. We judge too much and too often without really thinking about whom we may be hurting by doing so. Ladies, believe in yourself. Have confidence in yourself as a woman. As a person. And love yourself for the woman you are today and the woman you want to be tomorrow. Please. As Dan John always says, “Keep the goal the goal.”
And so I ask you, what is YOUR goal? 😉
Awesome post, Emily! Whipped me out of my self-made-pit!
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Hardly shameful to self denigrate in the face of pre determined beauty. It’s natural. It is difficult when looking back in the mirror hearing the majority opine set female beauty standards on a pedestal. That’s nice you feel wonderful and great and awesome no matter the circumstance but the reality is most of us self loathe to a degree. I do agree it’s a reflection of insecurity to attack other females exterior whatever it may be. We need to support one another in all of our shapes. I work in corporate finance – a male dominated industry and looks absolutely play an integral role no matter our confidence or exemplary work. Mysogny and thus appearance judgment is rampant. Males are not subject to a societal value assessment based on their looks. It’s deemed a much lesser asset. There is absolutely no male obese over achiever in finance that is held back from advancement. There is no beefy cut male not taken seriously in the industry. The issue you discuss is not so black and white and not so topical.
You are absolutely correct. It is not black or white. But someone has to start or at least continue the conversation….female on female snarkiness has to stop. Since we DO live in a male dominated society, we need each other as women even more. So why do we continue to put each other down instead of build each other up. I DO feel awesome about myself and it has nothing to do with men. Period. And I agree with you 100% that men are not subjected to the same “standards” as women. Ah….but that is for another article, one that I am going to begin working on about the female self-confidence.
And yes, it is shameful to look at yourself and feel bad about who you are. It’s not right. And no woman should be made to feel about who she is or how she looks. I did not always feel this way about myself. If you dig a little deeper into my blog, you will learn a little more about me. Thanks for your comment.
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Great article. I happened on this website accidentally while looking for a Starting Strength seminar. I was thinking about this very issue today. Over the last 5 years I have gotten so much stronger and healthier – I blame it all on weightlifting. It has cured my chronic sciatica, stopped my knees from collapsing going up and down stairs, slimmed down my middle and made me feel so much more powerful. But I am at a standstill, I realize that I have to re-evaluate my eating program because I have more fat on my body than I want – probably in the 25-29% range. I want my body to look different. But I am not doing what I need to do to get there and I think I need more help than I realized. And I have to be willing to change. Thanks for this place and the great ideas. Your gym looks great. I am about an hour away from you, what a bummer – otherwise I would come and join your gym! Would love it if you would host a starting strength workshop – level 1. Thanks again. Dee
Thank you for your comment!!! Rip is actually not hosting Level 1 seminars anymore after their last one this August. I will learn more about this in October at the conference. However, I will be hosting a Strength Training Workshop at my gym in October, the 5th one I have held since opening my gym three years ago. It is not as in depth as the Level 1 (it’s FREE too!) but it is 3 hours well spent on teaching the squat, bench, deadlift and press. If you are interested in attending the workshop, please email me at email@example.com. I would love to have you join us in October!
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As a fitness instructor, I can’t love this enough. I’m so tired of the whining and complaining, the “I can’t”s and “I won’t”s. Everybody has their shit to deal with, everybody. Educate yourself and learn to deal, or shut up. And for the love of god, pick up a weight heavier than your damned cell phone. You might actually witness progress.