Tony Gentilcore

Because heavy things won't lift themselves

4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know (Revisted)

girl benching

A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled Tony Takes a Yoga Class (Part I) that, surprisingly enough, became fairly popular and made its rounds around the blogosphere.

In it, I used part of an old article I wrote years ago titled 4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know, where, in the first part of that article, I kinda of threw yoga under the bus.  Okay, there was no “kinda” about it.  Not only did I throw yoga under the bus, but I also somehow managed to challenge it to a wrestling match (it’s my blog, and shit like this happens all the time), where I jumped off the top rope, grabbed it from behind, and suplexed it out of the ring.

It was a one-sided affair, and I think I won pretty convincingly.

My main beef then, and now, is that yoga is often marketed in a way that promises everything to women.  It’s somehow the magic pill that will result in long, lean, sexy muscles. In addition, unicorns will fly underneath rainbows with Leprechauns on their backs, and Greys Anatomy will never, ever, ever, never, end.

See what I mean?  It promises everything!

Anyways, in the years since I wrote the original article, and as something I went out of my way to touch on in the blog post linked above (as well as elucidate in more depth in Part II)………I’ve changed my mind to an extent.

Yoga ain’t so bad.

I’ve had several people contact me asking me for the rest of that 4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know article.  It was originally published on t-nation.com back in 2007, and subsequently moved to FigureAthlete.com.  That site no longer exists, and as a result, the article has vanished into some kind of internet blackhole.

Luckily, I saved the original on my laptop and thought I’d re-post it here for everyone’s viewing enjoyment.

A few notes beforehand:

1. Again, the yoga part is omitted. But you can read it in the Tony Takes a Yoga Class link above.

2. I wrote the article five years ago, so forgive me for the dated pop culture references.

3. To reiterate, I wrote the article FIVE YEARS AGO, so please take that into consideration before you go a head and call me out on anything I said back then that doesn’t jive now.

4.  Did I mention I wrote the article five years ago?**

4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know

*** with the yoga part omitted.  So, really, this is 3 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know.

Being a man in today’s society is darn tough.  We are constantly inundated with constant struggles and frustrations:

  1. Deciding which is the best trilogy ever made:  the ORIGINAL Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
  2. Which Jessica to choose from:  Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba or Jessica Simpson?
  3. Trying our very best to not throw the television out the window every time we see Jared (from Subway) espousing the benefits of eating a low fat diet.
  4. Trying to convince our girlfriend or wife that lifting weights won’t make her look like a she-man.

Alba: the obvious answer

Being a guy myself, I feel your pain.  I know how frustrating it can be to try to convince a woman (let alone your significant other) that doing endless hours of aerobics or spending the majority of her gym time using those hip abductor/adductor machines is a fruitless endeavor from a body composition standpoint.  If you’re in the same situation as most guys, the likelihood that your girlfriend will accompany you to the gym on deadlift day is about as slim as Rosie O’Donnell keeping her big yapper shut.

Needless to say, this is for all the guys out there who are losing the battle.  This article is going to serve as your ammo to try to convince that special lady in your life that what she has been doing in the gym week in and week out is flat out wrong.  You can thank me later.

Low Reps vs. High Reps

I’m not going to sugar coat anything.  I’m going to cut right to the chase.  I love low rep training.  I love low rep training almost as much as I love Justin Timberlake’s “D**k in a Box” parody he did on SNL not too long ago.

Unfortunately, most women (including your girlfriend) are obsessed with “dieting” and love the color pink.  As a result, they love to perform endless repetitions with those 8 lb pink dumbbells every chance they get thinking that that will elicit more fat loss.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Memo to your girlfriend: 

Ditch the light weights (especially when you’re dieting).  You’ll just end up with a fragile, weak, and soft looking body; otherwise known as the “skinny-fat” look.  Your muscles will lack what is known as good neurogenic or myogenic tone (basically fancy words used to express muscle hardness).

Simply put, there are two types of muscle tone:  myogenic and neurogenic.  The former refers to your muscle tone at rest, the latter refers to muscle tone that is expressed when muscular contractions occur.

Low(er) rep training increases the sensitivity of various motor units resulting in increased neurogenic tone.  Myogenic tone on the other hand, is correlated with the overall density of your muscles (specifically the contractile proteins myosin and actin) and is vastly improved by lifting heavier weights.

This is going to come as a shock to most women, but utilizing light weights (anything above twelve reps in my book) while dieting will likely result in loss of muscle, which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen.

When dieting, the body will adapt to the caloric deficit by down regulating many of the hormones involved with metabolism (T3, T4, leptin, etc), as well as getting rid of metabolically active tissue – muscle.  Obviously one would want to prevent this from happening in the first place, which is why I always recommend that women shit-can the 20 rep sets and start training with heavier weights.

The Inevitable Retort from Your Girlfriend:  “Whatever.  All the fitness magazines say I should use high reps for fat loss when I’m dieting, and they obviously know what they’re talking about.  When are you taking the garbage out?”

When someone goes on a diet, catabolic hormones, which promote muscle breakdown, rise (bad) and anabolic hormones, which promote muscle growth, decline (also bad). Your body is smarter than you, and as I alluded to above, your body will “slow down” to work at your reduced caloric intake.

As a result, it will reduce whatever is metabolically active- muscle.  With regards to training, a great way I like to explain things is from a conversation I had via e-mail with Erik Ledin, a well known figure coach I know.

If you train light, you’ll keep enough muscle to be able to continue to train “light.”  But given this doesn’t take a lot, from a relative and individual standpoint (ie. it takes more muscle to lift a weight that limits you to 8 reps, than it does to lift a weight that limits you to 20) you’ll keep what you need to accomplish these generally ‘easier’ tasks.  The key to a lean, hard body is a nice balance between nutrition, cardio and low rep, heavy weight training. What builds muscle is what keeps muscle.

Chances are she didn’t use Power Pump Classes to Look Like This.

Train More Like a Man

Question (from you):  Babe, how bout I teach you how to squat today?”

Answer (from your girlfriend):  “But I don’t want to get big and bulky.”

Newsflash ladies:  you WILL NOT get “big and bulky” just because you’re doing squats and deadlifts.  That statement is akin to me saying, “eh, I don’t want to do any sprints today because I don’t want to win the 100m gold medal next week.”

Getting big and bulky isn’t easy, just like winning the 100m gold medal isn’t easy.  If anything, it’s quite an insult to all those people who have spent years in the gym to look the way they do.  It didn’t happen overnight, which is what you’re assuming by saying something so absurd.

And lets be honest, most people (men AND women) won’t work hard enough to get “big and bulky” in the first place.  It’s hard enough for a man to put on any significant amount of muscle, let alone a woman.  Women are physiologically at a disadvantage for putting on muscle due to the fact that they have ten times LESS free testosterone in their bodies compared to men.

That being said you still need to get the most out of your training buck, and that includes ditching the glute buster machine and focusing more on the compound movements.

Joe Dowdell, owner of Peak Performance in NYC trains many of the top female models in the city and their programming includes squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, bench variations, sled dragging, and tons of energy system work.  Yes, Victoria Secret models are doing squats and deadlifts.  And yes, that is completely hot.

If Giselle can do Romanian Deadlifts, so can you.

Guess what they’re not doing…watching Oprah every day while walking on the treadmill for 60 minutes.

Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can’t train like a man and lift some serious weight.  I never bought into this whole mindset that women are these delicate creatures that can’t hang with the boys.

Steady State Cardio/Aerobics (Not the Fat Loss King You Thought It Was) 

Not to beat a dead Barbaro (er, I mean horse), but steady state cardio/aerobics is not the most efficient way to burn body fat.   I like lists, so I am going to use a list to prove my point.

1. Steady state cardio doesn’t elevate EPOC all that much, which again is one of the main factors in fat loss.  Sure, one hour of steady state cardio will probably burn more calories than one hour of resistance training, but it’s the calories you burn in the other 23 hours OUTSIDE of the gym that really matter.

Essentially, once you’re done doing steady state cardio, you’re done burning calories.  However, with resistance training and/or with high intensity interval training (HIIT), your body’s metabolism will be elevated for upwards of 24-48 hours.  Thus, you will burn a TON more calories.

2. Speaking of metabolism.  Your metabolism is in direct correlation with how much LBM you have.  The more LBM you have, the higher your metabolism.  Given that long duration, steady state cardio actually eats away muscle; you’re shooting yourself in the foot in that regard.

3. The fat burning zone doesn’t exist.  It’s true that your body will burn a greater percentage of fat at lower intensities, however the TOTAL calories being burned is so small, that it doesn’t even really matter.  Again, it all comes down to EPOC.

4. As Alwyn Cosgrove has pointed out on numerous occasions; your body adapts very well to cardiovascular exercise (in this case, steady state cardio).  This is a bad thing.  As you get more efficient at running a certain distance, the work required to complete that distance will become less and less as you get fitter.

To improve you have to go further in order to burn the same amount of calories. What once took you 30 minutes to burn “x” amount of calories, now takes you 45 minutes.  Doesn’t sound too efficient in my book.

5. The majority of your fat loss should come via diet, not copious amounts of steady state cardio/aerobics.  From a time efficiency standpoint, which makes more sense?  Not eating that bowl of cereal at night (300-500 calories) or spending 60 minutes on a treadmill to burn that same 300-500 calories every single day?

6. Steady state cardio/aerobics does little to change how your body looks.  Sure, you may lose 20-30 lbs, but you will still be the same “shape.”  You won’t look leaner, only smaller (not to mention weaker).

7. Lets be honest…do you really enjoy spending 45-60 minutes on one piece of equipment?

Some Other Random Thoughts

*Women need to eat more protein.  Cassandra Forsythe says it best, “when in doubt, eat meat.”

*You can’t be on a diet forever.  Learn to incorporate dietary breaks.

*Ladies, you’re four times more likely to have an ACL tear compared to men.  Get off the leg extension and leg curl machines and train your posterior chain more!  Various deadlifts, box squats, Anderson squats, pull-thru’s, glute-ham raises, one-legged back extensions, and lots of single leg work.

*Train with your man.  He secretly loves it.

*Get off your cell phone, for the love of god

 I’m Done

Okay fellas, there you go.  All you have to do now is click the “print” button and strategically place this article in a place where you know your girlfriend will see it.  Your best bet would either be in between the pages of this week’s People Magazine or inside the dvd case of any of the following movies; Steel Magnolias, Dirty Dancing, or The Notebook.

** I wrote the article five years ago.
Did I just blow your mind? Make (or ruin) your day? Leave a comment, then share this with EVERYBODY.
  • http://kelsfit.com/ Kelsey@LiveTheFitLife

    This should probably be sent to “Shape” or “Fitness” mags… And then they should print it.

    But on the bright side, I really do think a lot of women are starting to realize that lifting heavy is the way to go, and that SS cardio is very overrated, particularly in terms of getting the physique they want. Still a lot of women hitting the barbie weights, but progress is definitely being made.

    • http://kelsfit.com/ Kelsey@LiveTheFitLife

      …. and I’d argue that Jessica Biel beats Jessica Alba ALWAYS

      • http://www.ilovefetacheese.com Christina

         AGREE WITH ALL DIS. especially Biel over Alba :)

  • Yuck

    Your tone is extremely insulting. If your idea is convince women to listen to your advice, you have failed. All I could focus on was the ridiculous way you speak of women as though we are stupid and need our boyfriends to show us the way. I haven’t ever heard a women who works out regularly complain about “bulking up.” Workouts such as Body Pump and other strength training classes that are popular with women show that they aren’t just doing cardio and yoga. But it’s much easier to just write a blog about how dumb our girlfriends are and throw in some pictures of hot women.

    • Anonymous

      I’m sorry you feel that way yuck. It wasn’t my intention to “talk down” to women, nor insinuate they needed a man to tell them what to do. I’m sorry that that’s how you interpreted my tone.

      I’d love to hear more about the parallel universe you live in where women never complain about getting big and bulky. That’s amazing!

      In all seriousness, I didn’t think I was suggesting that women are dumb. Like I said, it was my hope that I’d provide a little insight as to how guys can go about “helping” their girlfriends realize that lifting something heavier than 20 lbs is in their bests interests.

      But, it’s hard to convey “tone” over the internet. I respect your opinion, and I guess all I can say is, my bad.

      • Yuck

         It is possible to simply talk to women, as most of us have brains and can read (instead of talking to us through our boyfriends). If you don’t understand why referring to women as “sugarbottoms” is insulting, then you have a lot to learn. As for the advice, after you peel away all the BS and silly talk and random pictures of women (that likely workout much more than the average woman can), it’s good. Stick to the facts and leave the rest of silliness out and people will listen.

      • Rouzeen Imaan

        haters gona hate. great article :)

    • Steve Lent

      Yuck, I’m not a woman, but I happen to know a few and therefore would like to comment. Body Pump and other classes are exactly the kind of high rep training that Tony was talking about. They are not strength training, they are muscular endurance/cardio classes.  As a fellow Strength coach I can personally say that I have heard women who work out say they don’t want to lift heavy because they are afraid of gaining muscle mass a remarkable number of times. It is a misconception that is, unfortunately, very common. What is uncommon are women that are not afraid to get as strong as possible and I think that is what Tony is getting at. The message that he is sending, in my experience, is empowering to women. When a woman transitions from a predominantly cardio & muscular endurance type of training (the way most people at gyms train, both men and women) to a periodized and personalized strength and conditioning program, it changes their life. Most woman who take this path end up loving their newfound physical and mental strength as well as the general awesomeness that these qualities produce.
      Great article Tony, more women need to hear this message, even if they find it insulting at first.

      • Yuck

         Maybe he can re-write it and gear it towards the women he is trying to reach, instead of their boyfriends. As I said above, calling a woman Sugarbottoms and classifying us as pink-lovers is not a way to get a woman’s (positive) attention.

      • Yuck

         …nor is it empowering.

        • Anonymous

          You know what, that’s a really great point. Dually noted. I essentially cut and pasted this article from my archives, so I’ll go a head and change that ONE word ASAP.

          Hugs?

    • Rouzeen

      I’m a woman and I loved this article. It has alot of ‘bro humour’ that I guess you didn’t find very funny. Tony referring to a female as ‘sugar bottoms’ was a joke for god’s sake. I was laughing out loud the whole time. great article Tony!

    • Ben Pellis

      You are really focusing on the wrong aspects of the article. Instead of thinking about the concepts discussed, you’re focusing on the ‘tone’ you detected in the article. Tony wasn’t writing a blog about how dumb women are, he was implementing strategies to improve total quality of life. The fact that you looked past this and ranted about his ‘tone’ insinuates you probably look for reasons to avoid hard work often. How about you take the advice he offered and try it out, rather than avoiding doing something difficult and complaining about how yucky he is. 

      • Yuck

        Where did I say that the advice was wrong or that I don’t in fact follow this type of advice? Delivery matters when you are trying to influence people.

    • Ambition

      I’m with you Yuck, I’m tired of being told “what NOT to do” and “what men can teach me”. My whole thought process behind training changed when I met my partner (who happens to be a strength coach at a D1 University, who is going to be mortified that I posted on the “god” like Tony G blog). I read all these articles, but the “dude brain” has never talked about the barriers to not lifting heavy. We were never taught (unless you were a gymnast or a had a high level strength program), we don’t like swinging heavy weights around with creepy sweaty men who judge us, men are dirty and never re-rack weights (women like to be clean and organized), did I already say…NOBODY TAUGHT US. My point is we need mentors/teachers not whiners/complainers. Oh and lets talk about eating real food and lifting heavy, and then post pictures of “sexy” chicks…that’s going to make women want to read your blog! That’s not “bro humor” that’s common sense.

      • Lisa V.

        Ambition, as a woman, I am offended by your comment.  You say “we need mentors/teachers not whiners/complainers,” but quite frankly you seem to be the one doing the whining.  And you are making ridiculous, sweeping generalizations about both men and women.  I lift in a big box gym (when I’m not at Cressey) and I find the men to be pretty much as clueless as the women about lifting weights.  I don’t know why you would be intimidated by them.  You complain that “NOBODY TAUGHT US.”  What are you waiting for ~ go find out ~ there are plenty of resources.  Maybe you should start with your D1 strength coach partner (who by the way, is going to be mortified by your post).  

      • Anonymous

        So, when I say in the actual article that certain Victoria Secret models are training with deadlifts, sleds, med balls, etc – regardless of whether or not you view that look to be attainable or whatever – I’m NOT supposed to include a picture of a VS model? What am I supposed to do, include a picture of Betty White?

        And did I not include not one, but TWO pictures of women who obviously lift weights?

        I’m not trying to get into an argument here, you’re entitled to your opinion……….but you do realize that when this article was originally posted, it was on a site that’s like 99% men. Just sayin……

  • Well….

    The pictures are terrible examples! Jessica Alba who admits to starving herself to get her figure. 2 overly muscular women, who I can guarantee most  women are referring to when they say bulky. I certainly dont want to look like that. And a completely unattainable Giselle. The article would be great… something we’ve all heard a million times before of course, but written well, very funny.. I can ignore the blatant sexism (hey I even know guys who hit the cardio machines to get smaller, and I’m the first one picking up the weights, or doing squats, but those pictures? Way to undermine everything you said.

  • OB

    Dear Yuck, Two things; get over yourself, get a sense of humor. Sheesh…

  • Christine

    Ugh. Who is your target audience here?   I’m a female, and I couldn’t stomach this article.  Great scientific advice, poor advice on delivery.
    ie,Quote:   “Memo to your girlfriend:  Ditch the light weights (especially when you’re dieting).  You’ll just end up with a fragile, weak, and soft looking body; otherwise known as the “skinny-fat” look.  Your muscles will lack what is known as good neurogenic or myogenic tone (basically fancy words used to express muscle hardness).” If my husband said this to me, I’d either roll my eyes or want to punch him in the stomach.   Now add some class to it, and maybe I’d be all ears.”Train with your man.  He secretly loves it.”  ….More of THIS would make me open up to yours (and his) depth of knowledge. 

    • Julian

      Of course your husband wouldn’t say such a thing to you.  I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say the target audience for Tony here isn’t his wife.  Since you are not his wife, there’s no reason to take offense to such a statement.  Also, as the title of the article is “4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know,” I’m going to go out on an even longer limb to answer your question and say that his target audience is men. With girlfriends.  Or at least other females with girlfriends.  Once again, since you do not fall into either of these categories, please don’t feel the need to take offense.  Tony is simply presenting valuable information in a playful way.  Light weights while dieting while wearing Sketcher’s Shape Ups while getting a tattoo of Jillian Michaels on your forehead for motivation WILL give you a soft, weak looking body and this is the exact type of advice that women are told to follow by 99 percent of the fitness industry.  Since when do we read fitness articles because they are nice to us?  

      • Christine

        Jillian Michaels, unfortunately, is a great salesperson.  So think about this:  if you guys combine your kick-ass knowledge with better salesmanship (finding out what really motivates “your girlfriend” or wife), imagine just how many more women you could inspire to start squatting and dead lifting.  The article just didn’t do it for me.  And I don’t know how the article is helping a male audience if the article is pissing off their target audience.   Guys:  first learn how to really motivate women to join you at the gym…. not how to insult them.  Then dive in with the science stuff. 

  • rk

    In Tony’s defense, he didn’t refer to women as “sugar bottoms.”  He was just quoting someone!  And, actually, he was quoting “you.”  Better not throw stones if you live in sugary, glass-bottomed houses… 

  • Barath

    Tony, I just read through this comments section. Wanted to tell you that you are always welcome to come to Ottawa and crash on my couch in case you want to escape the massacre….and you can always give me some deadlift pointers :)

  • http://www.carascravings.com Cara

    I don’t find this at all insulting. In fact I smiled the whole time. But that’s probably because I’ve said almost exactly the same sentences to my girlfriends more times than I can count :)

  • BC

    This was great!! It totally changed the way I view weight-lifting. Thanks!!! p.s. I’m a girl…and I have a sense of humor, and i found the article hilarious and informative :)

  • ZA

    whats with all of these women posting comments, shouldnt they all be busy in the kitchen, or at least cleaning something?

    • Lauren L

      bahahaha this literally made me laugh out loud.

  • Donovan

    my girl made a valid point when she said “the girls who feel insulted by TG’s sense of humour are those who do not dare to get out from their comfort zone and are damn insecure. they just cannot get away from the mainstream media advice and well, they just cannot bloody motivate themselves from within to change. they cannot face up to the fact that somebody is telling them that what they do are wrong.” on the other hand, i think yuck is either tracy anderson or jillian michaels. 

  • speed

    I read this and loved it, as a woman who USED to be one of those “i cant lift heavy cause i dont want to be bulky” girls, I thought this was great. I started lifting heavy about 3 months ago, and have dropped 2 dress sizes, and my body is literally changing like it never has from the light weight high rep lots of cardio that i did for a year after my son was born…Thank you TONY for this article, if you dont get it move on it must be the wrong information at the wrong time in your life, or you just need to get a sense of humor…

    • speed

      BTW I find all the photos of fit women very motivating…why is the body of Giselle so unattainable?? anyone can be lean and fit with enough work!

  • Wordsmith42

    As. Only. Tony. Can. You killed it, sir.

    RS

  • Brandon

    A quote from Tony  “Needless to say, this is for all the guys out there who are losing the battle.  This article is going to serve as your ammo to try to convince that special lady in your life that what she has been doing in the gym week in and week out is flat out wrong.”  - I believe this shows the target audience is men.  Tony also stated that this article was written for TNation.  Clearly good advice though for women, maybe poor delivery IF it were an article posted on a site that primarily women read.  I’m not trying to continue any arguments here, simply pointing out some obvious statements.  I would also argue that any guy that actually cares about his girlfriend/wife’s health rather than just how her “sugar bottom” looks in a pair of booty shorts (in other words is not a total d-bag) is probably smart enough to communicate this information in a way that it will be well received by her.  Tony, great information and good job exploring the yoga.  Not my favourite for of exercise by any means, but it sure has it’s place in the big S&C picture.  To any woman that read the article for what it was, good job to you also!

    • Brandon

      One more quote from Tony, ” I never bought into this whole mindset that women are these delicate creatures that can’t hang with the boys.”  Just a man’s opinion, but I would argue that is kind of empowering.

  • Prakash

    Sorry Tony – couldn’t read past the 3 Jessica’s (the holy triumvirate) ……..homer simpson donut moment…..mmmmmmm… ……Tony if you did use the thumb screws though it’d have to be Jessica Alba!
    On a serious note its a constant battle with women when discussing number of reps, dieting and lifting heavy – I had largely given up. But as another of your readers alluded to I’m definitely seeing more ladies at my gym venturing towards the squat rack with more than a few kilos on the bar!  Maybe the tide is turning……  Your pearls of wisdom are reaching the masses!

  • Misog

    This article is quite douchey.

  • Damon

    Great article – and even better comments!  My wife was a cardio, spinning, light weight/high rep lifting queen when we first met.   I slowly introduced real strength training, sprints, and a high protein – low(er) carb diet.  Now she squats 195 (below parallel), deadlifts 205, and can shoulder press 85lbs.  She does virtually no cardio, and her abs show year round.  The best part, she uses chalk when she lifts, no gloves!  Keep up the AWESOME work! 

  • Liz

    WOWWW.  Do you always address women with this attitude?  I’m kidding.  I think your sense of humor is great, as is your message, and I’m bummed out that I’ll miss your upcoming appearance down town.    Keep posting muscly babes– women who don’t want to look strong are the problem.

  • Mike

    Great blog Tony. I’ve just linked this in my weekly blog – (hope that’s okay), and forwarded it to all my female clients. Liking the new site look too.
    Mike
    http://www.mikesamuelspersonaltraining.co.uk 

  • Ray

    YUCK- Do Tony a favor and keep complaining about his “tone” go tell all of your friends about what an asshole he is then drive them to his site.  I am sure he will hate the extra traffic. If you don’t want to hear the truth, beat it.

  • Lisa V.

    If you women who are complaining actually read Tony’s blog on a regular basis you might realize he is not a sexist asshole and that he actually has done a lot to push women into the gym and to lift heavy. And it’s really hard for me to listen to anything “Yuck” says when she is defending Bodypump, a program where the sets and reps are determined by a music track.  

  • Kaitie

    Personally, I love this article. I’m a woman and a college student, and have been going to the gym for about 6 years now and have always been into fitness and health. Out of all the gyms I’ve been to, my college weight room for the general population fits this article about women to a T. I’m one of the very few girls who weight train and majority of the time I see girls on the elliptical and treadmills and running on the track. And even when I do see girls lifting it is with very small weights and usually those pretty colored dumbbells that Tony mentioned. I think this article really explains how women act in the gym at college. Not to mention the “silliness” associated in the article gives this serious topic something to laugh at. I definitely don’t take offense to it, nor do I think this is demeaning towards women. If anything, it opens your eyes.
    Thanks Tony!

  • Norma

    To Well, Yuck and Christine: get over yourselves and get a sense of humor! I am a female, like to lift heavy and I do not get offended by this article at all.  I am working hard to get that awesome lean strong physique. If you do not like to look like that this is not the site for you to begin with, I am sure you can google Tracy Anderson get her workouts and tips!! good luck to you!!

    Tony: keep up the good work!! love to read your article!!

  • hater

    as a woman both yuck and well… offend me. I’d LOVE to look like those women in the pictures. and if you don’t, I’m not sure why you read tony’s articles at all

  • Natalie

    As a female former client of Tony’s, and regular blog reader, I can genuinely say that Tony has done a lot for women, which is extremely admirable in the context from which he is working (an undeniably masculine culture).  I have frequently teased him for being a “secret feminist.”  It does a disservice to attack someone prior to locating their ideas and intentions, or being familiar with these.  

    As he himself mentioned, he wrote this article FIVE years ago – and he’s the first to be open to growth and learning.  Reading this article actually made me chuckle a bit because in the five years since he wrote this, his writing has changed a lot.  In fact, there aren’t many pictures of unattainable bodies anymore – which makes it different from, say, everything else in our society!  Thanks Tony :)

    As an individual woman who has worked with Tony in the past, I can genuinely say that he has done more to empower me as a strong and confident woman than any other fitness mechanism.  But that’s just my experience.  If something else does this for you, then that’s amazing – I won’t hate on it.  

    Ok, now that I’ve defended him: Tony, stop being such a heteronormative asshole!  Some of us are single, ya know?!!  heehee.  

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  • http://jessikneeland.wordpress.com/ jessi kneeland

    To Yuck and Christine:
    I am a fellow weight-training feminist with a fellow chip on my fellow shoulder about how women are treated and how information is presented to us in our society. 
    But I am also a personal trainer with a blog, and a lover of humorous writing. And I thought this article was amazing. It wasn’t originally intended for you; it was intended for the men who hear a lot of these complaints from poorly-informed women ALL the time. (I hear it myself all the time, even when I stand in front of these women and calmly repeat over and over again that I do pullups, and deadlifts, and do I look bulky? No.) So either accept the excellent advice in this article, or accept his concise wit as a hilarious way to pass some time, but don’t get mad. 
    This is no more of an attack on women than when Meredith is in bed pouting and Christina says “Whatever. Everybody has problems. Get your ass out of bed and get to work.”
    Jessi

  • KK

     Haha.  I am a woman and actually think this is a great article. I understand that not all women are interested in lifting weights.  But I found this article amusing because, I work with a strength coach and absolutely love it, but cannot get my husband off the treadmill and join me at the bench press! 

  • Jovi104

    I think I’m in love. I hate pink, and don’t like being referred to as sugarbottoms, but it got my attention. And he’s right about pretty much everything. Ya there are going to be some women who are exceptions, but more often then not they are the rule, not the exception. This should be posted in gyms everywhere..

  • Excited!

    As a woman who just ran her 3rd marathon and about to run her 4th, I have been trying a lot more weight lifting. I have used the machines you speak of and they SUCK! I saw no results and I was going 3 times a week. I found your article to be hysterical with some awesomely helpful information that I plan on using next time I go to the gym (tomorrow)! I had always heard of these exercises (dead lifts, etc) but never knew how to do them and figured I’d get hurt. Now I most def will try them!! Thanks for the great informaion! Also any woman who feels so hurt by this article purely read too much into it! It’s good information with some humor, which in my educated opinion (almost done my M.Ed) is a great way to learn! Thanks again for this info! I found it so helpful!!!

  • Trying

    As an out-of-shape woman, it’s hard to get to the point where I can even think about lifting heavier weights. The progression from one weight to the next is impossibly slow. I don’t want to walk around all day popping painkillers because of sore shoulders and back. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I get very discouraged.
    I have taken a few Glutes and Abs classes where I feel more comfortable and less awkward. It includes a lot of squats and abs on medicine balls and lunges, but it is mostly lower body stuff. How else can I progress from the small weights to the big ones without all the ache? If there is no way around it, then I’d rather stay with small weights that make me less sore. Does that make me a wimp? I’m not sure.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, Trying, there is a degree of “getting outside your comfort zone” that plays into all of this. Now, I am by no means saying you need to walk into the gym tomorrow and perform heavy deadlifts that will break your back in half, but there’s a saying: If you continue doing what you’ve always done, you’ll continue getting what you’ve always gotten. Meaning, SOMETHING needs to change. Have you ever thought about hiring a personal trainer to take you through the ropes? Read THIS for an idea of what to look for:

      http://mollygalbraith.com/blog/how-to-tell-if-your-trainer-knows-what-theyre-doing/

      Also, can I suggest a few books: The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler and Ultimate You by Joe Dowdell. Both are books you could easily find in your local bookstore or Amazon, and both do a superb job at relaying quality information that EVERY woman needs to hear. Hope that helps……..

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  • America

    Wow Tony the Feminists really have no love for you! Also 99% of this is whats wrong with America… Freedom of speech is freedom of speech and if you don’t like it maybe next time take a couple of communication classes and work on your confrontation statement. So take some responsibility for yourselves and shut up and train and if you don’t know how learn! 

  • Sam

    What a condescending tone.

    That said, what’s your advice to, say, mid-distance runners working on explosive power?  If I were to ‘ditch steady-state cardio,’ I can bet you my mile time would go way up, because anything 800 and above is largely aerobic.  And I have trouble incorporating high weight low rep more than once or twice a week without compromising my track workouts and plyos.  

    I also think, btw, that a lot of people in GENERAL ignore bodyweight exercises like pushups and pullups.  I’d bet that cutting back on frills and isolation exercises and focusing on a few sets of each of those a day would do most beginning/intermediate exercisers more favors than leaping into back squats etc.  You wouldn’t believe the number of women (and men) at my gym who never do pushups or pullups. 

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  • Clifton

    Nice post Tony. People get nuts over this type of article…and don’t even take the time to look that you were writing for men! I had a similar article 2 months ago, that generated some pretty heated exchanges. http://cliftonharski.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/im-not-gonna/

  • Mattman

    At the end of the day, those who are bitching and moaning about the delivery, this is TGs site, he has a certain way of delivering content, if you don’t like it, f*** off. Pure and simple.
    Not to mention (several times might I add) that he posted this article 5 YEARS AGO!! How many times does he have to put that in ONE article to get it through to your thick skulls.
    His writing and delivery has obviously improved since then.

    Really, I’d deliver this article the same way, because it’s clear to me that this article, bits of it are written out of annoyance at the silly things some women say in regards to weight training, cardio, etc.
    That’s understandable, completely get it, and I’d be annoyed too.
    Also, addressing it to the boyfriend is good, because let’s be honest, out of the women on here bitching, which of you actually “discovered” weight training without your other half? Or any other guy for that matter?
    I’d bet none of you. So really this 5 YEAR OLD article is right on, even 5 years later, and it still proves that people can’t read that an article was written 5 YEARS AGO.

    Did I mention he said he wrote this article 5 YEARS AGO??

    Keep up the good work TG.
    My girlfriend thankfully wasn’t so silly as to do all pink dumbbell lifting, etc outlined above, she already knew about weight training, and wants me to teach her it. Huzzah!

    To those complaining, grow a backbone, learn to read, and get a sense of humour, all at the same time preferably.

  • Katie Mack

    Tony! I apologize ahead of time for the long post. For both my benefit and others who I will be training/helping, I need your advice and expertise in regards to what this article is talking about. I recently hired Shelby Starnes to help me lean out. He has me going through a carb cycle and has me doing either fasted AM HIIT (for 18 minutes-45s jog with 15s sprints) followed by 20 min of moderate intensity cardio OR fasted AM moderate intensity cardio for 40 minutes. In addition, I have been doing Eric’s Show N’ Go program. Upon beginning my internship at PEAK this past Wednesday (which I am currently obsessed with and can’t wait to be flooded to knowledge from), I showed my Shelby program to Dan and Ed and they said I should not be doing strength training programs like Show N’ Go for my goal of fat loss and muscle retention/growth. Ed told me that strength training schemes like that are going to increase my testosterone levels (P.S. LADIES-NOT to the degree that you think will promote crazy amounts of muscle gain), but I really want to be increasing my GH levels, which will be done through hypertrophy-type training schemes. How do you feel about this? And thank you ahead of time!

    • Anonymous

      Both Dan and Ed are bright guys and I like them both. That said, IMO, the key to a fat loss program is to MAINTAIN as much LBM as possible. As I’ve noted previously (like here: http://www.tonygentilcore.com/blog/whats-the-real-key-to-fat-loss/), what makes muscle, keep muscle.

      I like to include SOME heavish sets into the mix just to give the body enough of a stimulus to hold to as much muscle as possible (when in a caloric deficit). At the same time, though, you’re following two programs which have two different end points. On one end you’re following a contest prep/body composition program; and on the other, you’re following a strength based program. Competing demands……to a degree.

      I say still include SOME heavy sets in there, but if you’re goal is aesthetics/fat loss, then it stands to reason you’ll need to include some high(er) rep/metabolic style training.

      Not sure if that answers your question or if it makes the water a bit murkier.

      • Katie Mack

        Makes complete sense! Thank you Tony, and keep doing what you’re doing…I’m pretty sure women who follow your blog know what you’re trying to get at with this article and you do not mean any harm. I am grateful to have met you because I probably never would have known to follow your blog and learn as much as I do!

  • Teresa

    I appreciated the reminder of the importance of “balance” cardio-weights-nutrition… I have stayed clear of heavier weights for the fear of “bulking” as you mention – I understand the physics behind your advice. Thanks!! – great info! Thanks also Nick-SpartanStrengthGym for the link-to.

  • Paula

    TONY, this is an article RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!!! Do not even bother with YUCK person!!!
    IT totally speaks the truth to how MOST WOMEN think about dieting & training!!!!  

     Soooo……….how do I get my husband  to do resistance training like myself:)!!!!

    Paula

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  • excuses

    For all the chicks bitching about this article, why are you even reading this? Clearly have nowhere else to bitch, so you come to an article where you twist positive words into a negative thing, creating yet another reason for yourself to not just shut up and try it. It’s called constructive criticism, and until you can realize this, don’t expect your “man” to want you in any other place than the kitchen or laundry room. I am a woman, I am 5’8 and 127 lbs. You can bet your ass I don’t sit on the fucking recumbent bike for an hour, I lift, hard, and I have worked for this. That alone is empowering. When I feel like I can’t do it myself or I get behind on workouts, I tell my boyfriend I need a push, and if I need more, I hire a personal trainer. The pictures posted were posted to show you that looking like that is within reach. By saying that is unattainable, you’ve already screwed yourself. VS models are not superheros, they are regular people, who have DRIVE. Hello, there’s a new word for your vocab. If you can’t do it by yourself, seek help from a woman who has done this before, a personal trainer experienced in fitness competitions perhaps. If you are on facebook, look into joining a page that hosts fitness models, I look at them every day before I work out. If you have a man, take him with you and show him a few things, get him to spot you. You can bet that will be enough for him to want to bend you over a bench in the gym. Why do you need men to tell you that “Men love it when you train with them” Of COURSE they do, what guy In human history (straight) doesn’t appreciate a sexy, driven woman who actually WANTS to look better. Do it for yourself, stop looking for excuses. MAKE fitness a top priority, you might surprise yourself.  Until then, keep your “shake weight”, and “ab-coaster”, and see how much that does for you. 

  • http://commit-to-fit.net/ Emily@commit-to-fit

    I love this article. Seriously. I wish every woman in the world that is actually serious about getting in shape would read this article and take it to heart.

    and as a woman I do not at all take any offense to the way you wrote this (unlike alot of the previous comments)….you were honest and blunt. people that take offense to this are probably the ones that need this advice the most!

    Plus, your honesty was obviously not intended to be “degrading” to women, but actually comical while sticking to the scientific facts.

    Love this article!!!

  • Em

    I find the women who are offended by this article devoid of all personality and humor. The angle of the article is obviously tongue-in-cheek and with the target audience being men. If you want something with a more fluffy tone get off this website- and go back to shapemagazine.com. Yeah I said it.  AND I’m a chick. I was not the least bit offended by the article and the information contained within also provided me with a fair amount of knowledge. Tony seems like an intelligent person and I enjoy the way he breaks down info into a way that laypeeps like myself can understand…such as neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone. Also worth mentioning (even if I am very late in my commenting) is that despite you not being like the women to which Tony was referring, many are and that is a fact. Get over yourselves and stop with the pseudo-feminist bulls-t. I love the website, the knowledge AND the tone.    

  • Em

    I find the women who are offended by this article devoid of all personality and humor. The angle of the article is obviously tongue-in-cheek and with the target audience being men. If you want something with a more fluffy tone get off this website- and go back to shapemagazine.com. Yeah I said it.  AND I’m a chick. I was not the least bit offended by the article and the information contained within also provided me with a fair amount of knowledge. Tony seems like an intelligent person and I enjoy the way he breaks down info into a way that laypeeps like myself can understand…such as neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone. Also worth mentioning (even if I am very late in my commenting) is that despite you not being like the women to which Tony was referring, many are and that is a fact. Get over yourselves and stop with the pseudo-feminist bulls-t. I love the website, the knowledge AND the tone.    

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  • AVazquez87

    Tony, you bring up a lot of valid points in the article which I think are great. As for the negative comments regarding your tone, not everyone gets tone as its conveyed through a computer screen. I’d encourage those commenters to take things with a grain of salt. Also, I feel this article sort of straddles the whole “Male VS Female” divide as it relates to gym behavior. All the commercial gyms seem to be pushing the separate sex facility mentality, possibly making it harder for women to adopt a more scientifically validated method of training.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Absolutely! I understand that “tone” isn’t as easily conveyed on screen, so I took most comments as prime examples as people who just aren’t used to my writing style (or woke up on the wrong side of the bed).

      Thanks for “getting it,” and really glad to hear you enjoyed it!