Don’t You Think You Look Tiny? A Psychological Look Into the Female Brain (Sorta)
I had an interesting conversation with one of our female clients the other day. No, it had nothing to do with why women have such an affinity for Grey’s Anatomy; or better yet, why women tend to do that weird squinty thing with their face when applying mascara. Seriously, I don’t get it. In actuality, it had everything to do with a conversation she (Chris) had with an acquaintance of hers (another woman) a few days ago.
A little back story first, however. Chris started training with us about a year and a half ago. Ironically, she never knew Cressey Performance existed – despite literally living a hop-skip-and-jump away – until one Mr. and Mrs. Eric Cressey moved in across the street from her. After making nicey-nice and presumably borrowing a few cups of sugar from one another, Eric and his wife (Anna) eventually talked Chris into stopping by the facility to check it out.
Like I said, it’s right across the street.
A long-time fitness enthusiast – having been an avid biker for years as well as having hired numerous personal trainers in the past – Chris reluctantly showed up.
I did her initial assessment, and to say she was a little overwhelmed and little out of her element would be an understatement. First off, I don’t think she had ever stepped foot in a facility where there were more squat racks than treadmills. Secondly, it didn’t help matters that there were a bunch of dudes walking around lifting weights with chains attached and stuff, pushing sleds, throwing med balls, grunting, and doing manly things like re-enacting the This is Sparta Kick.
Then, to top it off, here was this big, beefy, obviously way intelligent guy (my words, not hers) telling her that she should nix all the steady state cardio she had been performing for years on end, drop the pink dumbbells, and start training with some intensity and purpose. In short, I told her she would essentially have to do a complete 180 in terms of how she trained.
I remember it vividly. “Give me three months,” I said. “Do what I say for three months, give it your all, and if you don’t see a change in your body, you can punch me in the face…..like, really hard.”
She was down with that.
…….and she did it (not punch me in the face, though. She just did what I told her to do). And has never looked back since.
I know my friend, Nia Shanks, will nod her head in agreement when I say this, but a funny (albeit predictable) thing happened with Chris. Once she started training at the facility and I started stressing to her the importance of getting stronger and how she shouldn’t equate “success” or even progress by what the scale told her, good things started to happen.
Once Chris started noticing incremental improvements in the amount of weight she was lifting, and proved to herself that she could do it, it was like a switch was turned on.
In a way, she was addicted to getting stronger. Every week she would come in and want to put more weight on the deadlift bar, try to eek out one more rep on the bench press, or try to push the Prowler with just a little more gusto. And you know what? She got leaner!
She had done every fad diet, tried every fitness gimmick, hired numerous trainers, and none of them could trump simply telling her to knock it off, put down the yoga mat, and focus on getting stronger.
Sure, we had to make some dietary changes here and there, toss in some metabolic ass-kickery from time to time, but really, she just needed to take a step outside her comfort zone and lift heavy shit.
And, to her credit, ever since, she’s accomplished every goal she’s set out to do.
Deadlift her body weight for reps? Check (and then some).
Perform an unassisted chin-up? Check (and then some).
Be able to fit back into her “butt jeans”? Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Check (yeah baby!!!!!).
Which brings us to that conversation I alluded to above. The abbreviated version is this: the woman, whom Chris hadn’t seen in a while, and after a few minutes of casual talk, basically came straight out and said this:
Don’t you think you look tiny?
As if, in her own backhanded way, to imply Chris didn’t look normal or somehow unhealthy.
I think Chris would have arm wrestled her right there to prove a point, but she didn’t.
Now, comparatively speaking, given that a vast number of Americans are walking around looking rather rotund (to put it lightly), I guess one’s perspective of what looks “normal” is a little skewed. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt there.
But I don’t think that was the case. I kind of think the comment – in a way – was a dis towards Chris. Sort of like this acquaintance was a little jealous and was attempting to bring Chris down a peg or two.
All told, Chris has lost 20 (net) lbs and seemingly looks like a different person compared to when she first walked into the facility a year and a half ago. But she’s NOT tiny. She looks, well, normal. At least to me, anyways. She has shape. She has contour. She has freakin muscles!
Moreover, she’s worked her ass off to get the body she’s always wanted, and I kind of feel like this other woman was somehow intimidated – if that’s even the right word – by Chris.
I don’t know, maybe I’m reading a little too much into it, but I’d definitely be curious to hear from any other women who may be reading and get their thoughts on this. So, what’s the dealo? Am I off-base, or did I hit the nail on the head?