How to lift weights without looking like a man
This morning (the morning of writing this not posting it that is) I was training one of my personal training clients and pointed out just how far she’s come. In today’s session, she did 95 reps with 80% of her starting max within a 10 minute timeframe which anyone who knows lifting knows that is a huge amount of progress in a short period of time. It only took us 13 personal training sessions to get here.
She was surprised then asked “This won’t make me into a man will it?” This is a common concern I’ve heard over the years and no, I’m a personal trainer, not a gender reassignment surgeon.
And for the record, I’m cool with whatever you identify as. He, She, They, Them it’s all cool with me.
Now what she’s talking about is body builders like the one below.
First, the amount of work body builders do is insane. It takes years of super-hard dedication where everything you do is toward the end of building as much muscle as possible and being lean as possible on competition day. More than likely can’t get to that level without a whole lot of PED’s as well.
Now even then it doesn’t happen over night. The reality is there is where you are which we’ll call point A. Let’s call Point Z the point at which you are winning every bodybuilding competition out there. At some point in your training journey if you ever get to a point that is too muscular, let’s call it point T or U or V or whatever. Just switch to maintenance at a point you’re happy with like point Q…maybe even as little as point D.
And in reality, you’re not likely ever going to get to a point that you are too muscular for your own liking so you should still train to become stronger. It’s the best way to improve your strength and your physique.
This is a picture of Bret Contreras’ Glute Squad, a group of figure competitors. Bret Contreras has been a big influence on my personal training methods because he’s a mix of a scientist and a coach in the trenches working with real people and getting real results. That’s what I’m about.
Are they overly muscular? Well tastes differ I guess but not in my opinion. They’ve got the toned physique many of my female personal training clients strive for. They’re drug free, and they’re strong. Their average bench press is 135lbs, average military press is 91lbs and their other lifts are impressive too. They’ve been training for years and train to improve their strength and can stop at any point and switch to maintenance mode if they want.
So how do you lift weights without looking like a man? Simple, lift weights and attempt to improve your max strength for reps. As long as you’re not on PED’s you’ll be fine and if you ever get close to the point that it’s too much muscle, switch to maintenance mode at a point you’re happy with.
There’s benefits beyond too. It’ll make you stronger so you can open jars, carry kids or walk down the street feeling safer. Making progress will make you feel happier and more confident. Have a bad day? Take it out on the weights. Have a good day? Celebrate it with hoisting some iron.
You won’t become a man, you’ll become the best version of yourself. The one you’re born to be.
If you need help with this, I have a free trial available at my personal training studio in Boonton. Just send me a text at 973 476 5328 and introduce yourself to get started.
Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and moonlights as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a live show and travels across the country doing presentations on goal achievement for corporations, associations, nonprofits, and government entities as well as for schools and universities. His personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey and is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville, Butler, and Parsippany New Jersey.