weight lifting women


I turned 38 recently, and in the midst of some massive life changes I have been thinking about the body I have walked around in for all that time.

I’ve thought terrible things about that body, and I have treated it very badly for an awful lot of those years.

My baby is about to turn 4. My body, which grew, birthed and nurtured 4 children has returned to me after a decade of belonging to other people. I have such gratitude for those babies and those years, but I am so ready for my body to belong only to me once more.

But a lot of people seem to think that they have a right to an opinion on what I do with my body. And I am here to tell them that THEY DO NOT.

I’ve been running for a couple of years now and I love what it has done for me physically and mentally. I have also been plagued by injury, and so I have started Crossfit and lifting to build strength. And I have loved that so much that I’m undertaking a program that is designed to change body composition and build muscle.

And doesn’t THAT freak people out?!

As a woman and a mother, I am expected to look a certain way at this stage of my life. I really thought those days were long gone but apparently not. I have been asked so many times WHY I would want to do this. Don’t I know it is not very feminine? Don’t I care that my biceps will be more eye catching than my boobs? Do I not understand that stripping fat will leave me with an androgynous or WORSE super muscular body?

It pisses me off.

If I want to go hard and be a body builder then I WILL DO THAT. My personal goals aren’t at that level, but who cares? HOW I LOOK AND HOW I WANT TO LOOK IS MY BUSINESS.

What I do with my body is up to me. If I want to show it off then I will. If my idea of beauty includes a 6 pack then that is FINE. If I want to lift heavy then I will lift heavy because I know it will increase my muscle mass.

And you know what? It is really hard for women to ‘get bulky’. Like really hard. Lifting heavy increases your metabolism and will define your body in the way that you decide you want it to. So if someone has built muscle that is noticeable, it is not some accident, they did that on purpose. And they worked for it. Hard.

Bulking up is not something that I personally want to do, but if YOU do then YOU SHOULD DO THAT. And if I am that concerned about my boobs, I can always buy some new ones. And if I buy some new ones that is MY choice about how I want to look and nothing to do with you. You DO NOT get a say in what I think of my body. Not any more, not ever again.

And if the first thing you do when you look at me is judge how I treat my body, that is YOUR problem not mine. My body belongs to me, who I share it with is my choice, how it looks is within my control not yours, and if you have any feelings about that then maybe YOU need to go have a good hard look in the mirror yourself.




If you want to get on the strong-is-sexy bandwagon (and who wouldn’t?!), you might love our 6 week body blitz starting next week. Find out more and register here.

Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. Good for you Kate. I couldn't agree more. Comments like that piss me off too. Almost as much as being asked to stop breastfeeding in public the other day. Some people have no idea! If they knew that building muscle can prevent diseases such as diabetes & cardiovascular perhaps they'd think twice about making such statements. X

    • Zoey Dowling

      Oh the breastfeeding thing, my head nearly exploded when I read that!! What is wrong with people?!

      • OMG. My head just exploded too! And absolutely Anita. If people started to get strong in their 30's and 40's rather than once they retire, they have a good chance of preventing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

  2. You are so awesome. I want my body to be strong and powerful. I love looking at my muscles and making other people feel them lol. I feel so good about myself ams how I look, fuck those that try to bring us down. But also empathyto them because I remember being that depressed and insecure person. *chest bump*

  3. Am so with you on this Kate - whan I started with my personal trainer she started me on heavier weights straight away - I havent lost much weight, but I love seeing the definition starting to appear in my arms and legs. Don't listen to the haters, why can't people accept that it's YOUR body and it has a right to look as awesome as you feel on the inside (but then you have always looked awesome in my book! ;-) )

  4. Love it! Thank you for voicing this!

  5. I love you. I told my hubby the other day, if I can't run, I'm going to get ripped. When you mentioned Move It to me the other day, the cogs started turning and I launched myself into researching things I can do instead of running. As well as Move It, I'm doing a body composition/muscle building program using equipment I never would have dreamt of using a few weeks ago. And I don't give a toss about anyone else's opinions. I already get plenty of sideways looks because of my hair - might as well give them something worth staring at :P

  6. I just had to comment as I can completely relate and this is one of my biggest bug bears!! Women, you are not going to get huge just cause you lift heavy, in fact you will probably find that you have never looked better and have never been healthier! Oh so many reasons to lift weights. I have come across so many people who will come into the gym and say that they want to 'tone up' but then look completely horrified when you say OK lets get started building you some muscle! What the??? Don't be afraid to lift heavy! Enjoy!

  7. This! All of this! I play roller derby, which is a sport that is all inclusive of whatever age, size or shape you are. Strength training is a very important component to any skaters schedule. The bigger the thighs, butt and strong core, ALL the better to block you with on the track! I am in AWE of anyone that pushes themselves in whatever training way they want to, to achieve their desired goals. Have you seen those girls at the cross fit games!? It blows me away their physical strength! Although that's not quite my goal, they are absolutely an inspiration to keep pushing myself in all aspects of my own training. Because their hard work SHOWS... and we should ALL be appreciating hard work. Women that criticize or question other womens choices can go eat a bag of d*cks (#sorrynotsorry). Keep doing what YOU want to do Kate... and keep sharing your journey, because it really does inspire a lot of people. Me included :)

  8. So well said Kate !!! I totally agree. When I was at my thinnest - I had some really horrible comments passed and it hurt so much because I had worked hard to lose the excess weight and was really proud of what I had achieved. I don't believe I was too thin but I do recall getting off the plane in Taiwan when we (my K and I) went to visit A - he couldn't wait to get me by myself and ask me why I hadn't told him I had been sick. I didn't understand what he was talking about. But, because he hadn't seen me for a few months, and hadn't seen the progression of my weight loss, he assumed I was sick, worse, that I had cancer and was dying and hadn't told him !!! Even now people say "You're OK - why are you trying to lose weight - you are struggling so much" - you know what - I KNOW I'm struggling - every day I wake up and I struggle with it because it's something that I only have some control over. I can control what I eat and what exercise I do - I cannot control what my hormones are doing - and it sucks !!! I want to look good - not for anyone else - for me. I know with every fibre of my being that A loves me no matter what my weight - and in the past that has made it difficult to lose weight. Now I am doing this for me - and it's different. I make the choices of what to put in my mouth and whether to get those shoes on and go running - for me. I think you are an amazing lady who MUST continue to do what is right for you and bugger anybody who disagrees - stay strong and build those muscles that you need to be able to run when you want. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation that you provide to everyone who comes into contact with you.

  9. Oh, I totes intend to be a muscly 50 year old. And I would love for my boobs to be smaller :-)

  10. good for you Kate! People don't seem to realize that their judgements really show their own reality, their own view of the world and the way they see themselves and when people express such strong or hurtful opinions they hurt themselves too, not just others. If it's not or is something you'd personally do or get into that's your own business, no one else's.

  11. Reading all this reminds me of a game show I saw one night. I can't remember the name; damn useless memory. But what I do remember was that it was an obstacle course that contestants had to get round. And no female had ever completed the course before because it was tough. Really tough. But I was transfixed. There was a female contestant and she was doing it. Each obstacle she came to, she mastered it. She was lithe, she was flexible and boy, was she strong!! That woman had worked HARD and she was achieving something extraordinary. And the hard work paid off. She beat the course. It was fantastic to see. And I admired her so much because having dabbled in a bit of weights work at the gym, I knew the extraordinary strength she needed to accomplish the physical feat. Incidentally, despite all the hard work, the hours in the gym that must have gone into getting her to that point; she looked totally fabulous. Healthy, glowing, feminine and strong. So lift weights, lift heavy and enjoy. Because if it makes you feel good, who actually has the right to dictate what "norms" you should conform to on the outside. Hum. Reading & thinking about all this reminds me I have a date with a plank challenge. Because abs!!