I Don’t Want to Look like Her

It has been brought to my attention lately that there are several misconceptions surrounding the topic of girls and looking “muscular.” Here are a few of the statements that have crossed my radar, either directly or indirectly:

  1. You don’t need to get any more muscular.
  2. I don’t want to train with her because her legs are too big and I don’t want to look like her.
  3. I’m scared of getting bulky.
  4. I’ve gained too much muscle. I should go back to only doing “cardio.”

The list goes on.

I have a few thoughts…

1. Not everyone works out purely for aesthetics.

It is often assumed that everyone is working out for “toned” arms and a six pack. But the truth is, everyone has different goals. Some people want to be faster. Some want to get stronger. Some want to improve in a sport. Some want to prevent illness. Some want to socialize. Some want to sweat. Some want to fit into their jeans from 10 years ago. Whatever the case may be, everyone has different goals and motivations for working out.

My goal right now is to become a better Crossfit athlete. This involves getting stronger, faster and working on my olympic lifts and gymnastics skills. Is it going to give me the body I want? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve seen a lot of changes in my body over the past year but that has not been my main focus, simply a result of the way that I train. If I wanted smaller traps and leaner legs, I might train differently. I might eat differently too. But my workouts and my diet align with my goals and for anyone to tell me to stop getting more muscular just makes me want to get stronger.

2. I would never walk up to you and tell you not to get any fatter.

I might think it in my head, but it wouldn’t be an appropriate thing to say out loud. So why is it ok to tell someone not to get any more muscular? It comes off as insulting and is just as offensive. Think before you speak!

Dr. phill

3. Everyone’s body is different.

To say you wouldn’t workout with a trainer because you don’t like their body is just ignorant. Trainers are professionals. Their job is to listen to your goals and help you achieve them, whether that goal is to lose weight, gain weight or get stronger. What they won’t do is sculpt you body to look exactly like theirs. That’s not even possible so remove that thought from your mind.

I used to look at other girls’ bodies and think, I want to look just like her. I still find myself doing it on occasion and have to remind myself that my body is my body and nobody else’s. We are all built differently. We carry fat in different places. We gain muscle differently. We have different bone structures. Once you come to terms with that and focus on things that are within your control, you’ll be a much happier person.

4. It takes years to put on a significant amount of muscle.

Someone asked me after class the other day how long it would take before she looked like me. I’m not always sure how to respond to statements like that. One thing that people don’t realize is that I’ve been weight training for years. I may not have been doing as much heavy lifting as I am now, but since the age of 16 I have been incorporating weight training into my workout routine at least twice a week and I know that has been a solid foundation for where I am now, both aesthetically and as an athlete. Granted, none of my muscle really showed until I cleaned up my diet a bit and stopped drinking like a fish, but that’s its own topic…my point is, you’re not going to “bulk up” or “get shredded” overnight. It takes a little longer than you might think.

I don't want to get huge

And to add to that, just because you put on muscle doesn’t mean you’re going to get larger. Your body composition will change as well, which means that you’ll gain lean muscle mass while you shed some of the fluff on top of it. I’ve gained about 10 pounds in the past year (not all muscle but I like my ice-cream) and I still fit into all of my clothing. I just show a little more cheek in my booty shorts 😉 Oh and I can see abs for the first time in my life. I never thought that gaining weight would give me abs! Funny how wrong we can be sometimes.

5. It’s all relative.

When people use the word “bulky,” it’s very unclear what they mean. Are they referring to bodybuilders? Competitive athletes? Do they consider me bulky? Everyone has a different opinion. Below are some of the strong women that I look up to and that I’m sure have been referred to as “bulky” at some point in their lives. I honestly can’t understand who wouldn’t want to look like these women, whose bodies represent hard work, dedication, strength and beauty, but to each their own.


Andrea Ager

Jackie Perez

Jackie Perez

Christmas swimsuit

Christmas Abbott

I think a lot of it comes down to our surroundings. If you surround yourself with people that are obsessed with being thin, you’ll start to obsess over it too. I get it – I’ve been there too. I used to want to be skinny. I couldn’t have cared less how much I could clean or snatch. I just wanted to fit in my size 0 jeans. But then I found myself surrounded by people who valued performance over looks, who saw girls with curves and muscles as admirable and beautiful rather than bulky and manly, and my outlook began to change. And that has made me a much happier and healthier person.

So what is my point here? If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should probably keep your mouth shut. Just kidding (kind of). I guess my point is that everyone has their own prerogatives and it’s not up to other people to tell them what they should or should not do. Do what makes you happy and let other people do the same.


34 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to Look like Her

  1. I wouldn’t mind looking like any of those women pictured. They don’t look “bulky” to me.

  2. I love this post! 🙂

  3. Thank you for writing this. The number of times (well-meaning?) friends come up to tell me that I look good but “shouldn’t get any bigger/muscular/bulky” astounds me and I find it offensive. I am proud of the way I look thank you very much, but what I’m really proud of is my new push press PR, the progress I’ve made with handstands, and the confidence I have gained from my strength, both physically and mentally. I’d get slapped if I made similar comments about their skinny fat arms or muffin tops.

  4. I just had this conversation with my trainer yesterday. My chiropractor could not get over the fact that I want even more muscle mass and tattoos. My trainer and I had a good laugh about that. When people ask me what my physical aspirations are, I always respond, “I want to be a beast!” Well, sometimes I respond, “Ninja!”

  5. Hi, I’d love to re post this on thewodchat.com, pair it with some original photography, and use it as next week’s discussion topic. Would that be ok with you? We will obviously link back to your blog and give you full credit.

  6. I needed to read this today! Thank you and I couldn’t agree more!!!

  7. So well said! I couldn’t agree more!

  8. Great!!!!!! Love this!!! Keep going!!!

  9. Well said. Thank you.

    Grace Carlson
    Figure Competotor

  10. I have a question .. I just had a baby a little over 4 mos ago … And I ve been going back to the gym since beginning of April .. But I am asking is how and what all can I do to help lose there baby weight and gain muscle or be toned .. And what should I be eating .. Before baby I was down to 107 .. And after baby I was 147 when I got the ok from the doc to go back to the gym .. And now I am down to 118.. Can you please help me .. Thank u Martha

  11. All women have different body types and how they carry their weight. There is only one character trait that makes a woman beautiful-happiness!!!! All of these women look happy and healthy!

  12. Can’t ignore the genuineness of this post. 🙂

  13. Well put. I’ve recently had someone not want me to train them bc they didn’t want to get “all muscular” like me. I guess I think, it’s going to take a lot of time & effort to get to that point and so you probably wouldn’t unless you wanted to. I’ve been a size 0, I’ve been a 12… At various points in life, for different reasons, but those aren’t where I’m happy with myself. I finally found a place where I am comfortable in my own skin… I wish more people would find their happy place within… then the outside would catch up.

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  19. Bring on the muscle, the strength and the general bad-assery! Great post…We all just gotta find what we love to do and that loves us back and that gets us to our individual goals.
    Anytime someone says a comment like..”You are so muscular” to me, I am like “YIPEE” cuz if I am gonna be this size, I damn well better be strong and fit rather than flabby and weak for the sake of size!
    Again, great article..love it!

  20. Truly wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Excellent article!! I once commented in a 20-women aerobics class how no 2 women had the same body shape, the secret really is to be comfortable in your own skin:) Thank you from the in & outside me!

    • I forgot to say I originally started weightlifting to prevent tendon re-injury, from 1 lb free weights I worked my way up to 15 lb arms. & legs I just started playing around, then really liked how strong I was getting. After a year I noticed I had a new sexy shape & people started to comment how young & healthy I looked, and now I’m still little but mighty 🙂

  22. i think they look good. healthy and strong. not skinny.

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  25. I would gladly let a trainer take my lovely lovehandles (waist) and make it muscular! Half the battle is being comfortable in your own skin…most critical people clearly are not.

  26. I really enjoyed your article. I see and hear this so much in the fitness industry. Since I started doing more weightlifting I have had women say that to me but in fact the weight lifting has totally changed my body composition. Less body fat, more muscle and I can see abs. A size 5 to a 1 and added 12 pounds of muscle. A win in my book and to all the woman who wouldn’t join me because they didn’t want to get bulky, they are kicking themselves now. My goal is to train to compete in the crossfit games next year. Totally out of my realm because I train in a non crossfit gym. Great article, keep up the good work!

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  28. Love your article, people like you inspire me, and at the age of 42 I want to work hard to look my best from now on , ps. Those women look great

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