Memes and Motivational Posters # 24

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Memes and Motivational Posters # 24

Battle of the Sexes: Men Work out More Than Women

Battle of the Sexes: Men Work Out More Than Women

This article from Shape magazine reveals a health disparity between the sexes. According to a study from Preventive Medicine  the average man gets more physical activity than the average woman. To people familiar with gym culture, fitness, or sports in general this is no surprise. However, it does indicate that women would disproportionately suffer negative health consequences due to inactivity. Osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, and even neurodegenerative diseases are risk factors for inactivity. Oregon State University too a sample of 1,000 men and women According to the data which was not self reported women only got 18 minutes of moderate to intense exercise, while men went to 30 minutes in a session. The data was collected from accelerometers recording total physical activity. It has been recommended that people should get at bare minimum 30 minutes of exercise a day. The problem is women are not getting enough which puts them at higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even depression. One in three women as suffer from metabolic syndrome. What are the possible reasons for this disparity? This question can be answered through sociological and biological factors.

        The text cites “some evidence indicates that women, compared to men, have less confidence in their ability to overcome exercise related barriers.” At first a reader would be perplexed by what that means. To elucidate their is a prejudice and sexism against women who show physical strength, skill,  and power. Simultaneously, women who do seek to improve physical fitness do have a lack of confidence at the beginning of their program. The weaker sex stereotype is still in the consciousness of many and some women are more vulnerable to it. This makes them believe their are certain activities they cannot do, simply because their biology does not allow it. The female body has been regarded as biologically and physically inferior, even though exercise physiology has discredited this notion. The gym and physical activity has been for a longtime thought to be solely a male domain. Gradually, with more women in sports this dated idea has diminished. Yet, sexist stereotypes and traditional gender roles still remain, even in an atmosphere of change. The idea that women can excel at something physical or athletic is considered unladylike. When a strong man shows his skill he is congratulated; when a woman does this she is condemned.

Unfortunately society judges women who are physically strong more harshly than men.  

Muscle and physical fitness are seen as something male only. This effects the way women view exercise throughout their lives. Women may internalize such negative attitudes. While it has been known that weightlifting has more benefits, women may focus on cardio for fear of “getting too big.” With little encouragement and a negative atmosphere women may just stop an exercise regimen all together. There is a segment of  the fitness industry that promotes weight loss for aesthetic purposes rather than health. The impact of body image is powerful, especially is one body type is constantly promoted in various media. If one is surrounded my one image or idea it can distort a person’s thinking. Too many women are attempting to change their bodies to an unattainable or unrealistic body ideal. Extreme cases lead to anorexia or bulimia, which occurs more in women. This is no accident and it is understandable why such a psychological disorder is prevalent. Women who have different body types are either disparaged or ostracized. Women who look different or want to alter their bodies are made into outcasts. If body image pressure is hard on the average woman it is even more intense on the female athlete. While there are sociological barriers, there are some that are biological. Male and female bodies are different, which means there will be a number of outcomes in fitness regimens. Women may have to adjust training to suit their endocrine and musculoskeletal attributes depending on what their goal is. Women on average have less muscular strength and aerobic capacity compared to the average man. Looser joints mean women could be more susceptible to injuries such as ACL tears. This does not mean women cannot handle exercise, it means it should be tailored to prevent injuries and enhance results. Some assume that women cannot gain strength or enhance fitness levels due to sex differences in physiology. Being female does not limit potential,because women can increase their strength and cardiovascular status.

 This will take longer for women to achieve. There are women who get discouraged when results do not happen immediately and quit. Like weight loss regimens, if one is not consistent it will fail. There is a constant inferiority complex that some women might feel that if it is anything physical or sports related, they will fail at. This psychological barrier has to be overcome. Men do not have this problem, because they are not taught to view their bodies as weak. There are differences, but this does not indicate inferiority. Body composition, lung as well as heart size, skeletal and muscle mass just indicate that men have higher physical fitness levels. While women have shown they are capable, that does not mean they have acceptance in the gym space. Traditionally, women were excluded from these areas.

There were only some exercises that were considered acceptable for women. Most were directed at making sure childbirth could be easier. The professional  medical community in the 19th century was not concerned about women’s health, just as long as women could produce children. They though rigorous exercise was bad for the female body and could harm her reproductive capacities. Such falsehoods were promoted by eugenicists and physical educators with the purpose of discouraging women from using their bodies. Although women had been participants in sports since ancient civilization, there has been a constant theme of women being discouraged from the use of their body.  The exercise related barriers are present to this day, even starting at an earlier age. Girls are not taught to throw or  learn other physical skills. If the do receive such instruction, it would only be in physical education. Even in that atmosphere the expectations are lowered. The physical standards for boys and girls in terms of the President’s  Council on Physical Fitness Award differ.

benchmarks_presidential_largeIt makes no sense that the standards are different between the ages of  6 to 13. The reason being is the endocrinological changes from puberty have not occurred. Some standards on the chart are the same, but others are not. Men do not start getting their strength spurt until the age 13, when testosterone production increases. This effects both the muscular and skeletal system giving men more strength. Early on girls seem to be viewed as not capable of playing sports or physical skill. This explains why “you throw like a girl” is used as an insult. There is a subtle sexism that remains in physical education and  is much ore vicious misogyny in sports. Childhood experiences mold what type of person one will be as an adult. If girls at at young age are told they are not capable, they will not attempt try. For both boys and girls their experiences in physical education will influence how they feel about exercise and physical activity. If a PE teacher makes the class unpleasant or dull students will take that negative attitude into adulthood.

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Exercise becomes associated with a chore or a pointless task, when it is essential to your health. The same can be said of children in youth sports. If soccer moms and football dads are too aggressive and pressure their children too much. This will only turn  them away from such activities as adults. They should get from such activities how to work in groups and discover the joy of play.  These exercise related barriers are influenced by environment and culture. Biology may also have influence as well. Boys seem to have more energy and it is harder for them to sit still. Girls seem more sedentary. It is unclear how much is this is cultural or biological. This may explain why to an extent more men gravitate to sports or physical activity. It has been suspected that their is a link between competitiveness and higher testosterone levels. These difference in behavior could be evidence of a human evolutionary past. Men’s desire for physical activity could have been essential in early hunter gatherer societies. Biology is important, but environment has just as great an impact.

       Environment and duties were cited as another reason women had difficulty getting involved in exercise. Childcare was cited as the main duty that women had to do, which effected their exercise pattern. The world has advanced in some ways, but in others it has not. Women are still expected to do all of the child rearing, with minimal help. Life is harder for single mothers who face both stigma and lack of sympathy. There is another problem. Everyone may not have money to afford a gym membership or have access to particular facilities. It should be remembered that conditions vary around the world, even with rapid technological advancement. Women in other nations not only have to deal with childcare, but also financially supporting the family. This is the case in lesser developed nations in which the economy is agriculturally based.Women are to an extent privileged in the West. Daycare services may not be present in certain regions of particular countries.

While there are challenges for the global south nations, the first world nations have another problem. Modern society has caused a new set of health issues. Being overweight  or obese has become more prevalent, seeing as technology has eliminated many manual labor jobs. A majority of occupations or professions do not require much physical activity at all. There are few remaining ones, yet these will gradually disappear when artificial intelligence and robotic automation become more advanced. Combine with a more competitive, fast paced, and regimented workplace severe stress and depression are ubiquitous. The slow paced labor of agricultural and artisan society was eliminated by the industrial revolution. This changed the health of populations , which can be seen today. People are living longer, but the price is that the chances of getting a chronic disease have increased. Abundance is not always a positive development. The surplus in food has made it so that eating out of boredom is a common activity. Unhealthy habits become stress reducers in a society that is too uptight. There are still large numbers of people who smoke and consume alcohol to excess, even when they know the health risks. Rather than just making time for exercise, mentality has to change. Dedication and discipline must be maintained to change habits. If you environment does not encourage will power or self control then  it is more difficult. Time should not be the enemy; we make to for matters that are important to us. This can also be circumvent if a busy schedule gets in a person’s way. Using the stairs or standing can be enough to burn some calories. Short periods of exercise is better than nothing. Doing push ups or sit ups before bed could be useful.

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Environment can effect health and exercise habits in a population. Increasing exercise can help improve health, but these gains could be lost if pollution and climate change effect the population.  The daily routine of most people seems to involve too much sitting. A sedentary lifestyle causes numerous health issues. For women who on average live longer it can harm the quality of life.

         As we age the body becomes more vulnerable to disease. There can be prevention through exercise and diet. Women have lower bone density. As people age ossification slows and cannot rapidly build bone mass as it used to. Women would be at higher risk for osteoporosis if they are not doing some form of load bearing exercise. Building bone mass is critical to skeletal health. Doing so allows people to be more mobile in old age.  weight training exercise can also maintain muscular strength. Women would lose more considering they have less in terms of body composition. This can also be reversed through physical activity. Maintaining a functioning circulatory system also is essential to health. Heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure do not only harm the circulatory system, but the entire body. Blocked arteries can effect organs, which need blood.

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It has been hypothesized that being active protects the brain from neurodegenerative disease. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease  have been increasing in elderly populations. Their causes are not entirely known or understood, but symptoms such as death of neurons and the loss of memory are common. This causes cerebral atrophy and the widening of the brain  ventricles. There is a possible connection that a compromised circulatory system damage could contribute to neurodegenerative  disease.  There have yet to be precise studies, so it remains speculative. Having some physical activity may actually be good for your nervous system than previous thought. Not only that learning and keeping the mind active is just as pivotal. Excess body fat can put strain on the skeleton and possibly a risk for certain cancers. Joints are also put under intense strain from excess weight. Women are more at risk from gaining excess weight due to how food is metabolized in their bodies and the function of estrogen. Estrogen produces higher levels of fat, which means it is more difficult for women to lose weight. Even the slimmest or most muscular woman has a higher fat percentage compared to a man of a similar somatotype.

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Body scans of an overweight person and a person of normal weight show how excess weight can negatively effect health. 

Other than the personal risk to  individuals, there is the question remains of healthcare systems. If the population of a nation lives longer and does not have an adequate healthcare system, there will be a crisis. A huge population of sick people means it will be a public health crisis. Another troubling problem is that children are also having weight related health issues as well. Obesity continues to rise in the US and UK. This could be reversed not only with a change in diet and the reduced use of high fructose corn syrup, but simple exercise. It does not have to be intense. Simple walks or jogs could  be effective. High fat and sugar diets are creating health problems in youth as well as adults. Women getting less exercise is a urgent health issue. Women’s health commonly focuses on pregnancy, diseases or conditions of the reproductive system, and differences in how the female body reacts in certain health and medical conditions. There should be more study and expansion to include women’s physical activity. The reason is that the health risk of physical  inactivity  would be too high.

Battle of the Sexes: Men Work out More Than Women

The Camelita Jeter Story

Carmelita Jeter  is an three time Olympic gold medalist, who holds records in sprinting. She was born in 1979 a resident of California. Her talent was revealed early in her life. Prior to excelling in sprinting events, she was a skilled basketball player. During high school she began to be a track athlete. From there, her skills and talents only grew. Jeter is a graduate of California State University earning her degree in physical education. She remains the school’s most decorated track and field athlete to date. Her professional debut was in 2007 in the World Championships. This competition brought her a great victory in which she won her first medal in the 100m. That same year she won a silver medal in the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships. The year 2008 was a turning point in which she changed her coach and running technique. Jeter stands at 5-4 and a weight of 135 lbs. Her athletic credentials are immense and impressive. Her runs times include 10.64 (100m), 22.20 ( 200m), 10.92 ( 2008 London Grand Pix), and 10.83  (2009 World Championships). Faster than the Flash or Sonic the Hedgehog, she has become the ultimate sprinter. Besides her athletic endeavors she also is involved in philanthropy. She continues to be involved in fund raising for breast cancer research. She was in 2014 the official ambassador for Susan G. koleman ‘s California Circle of Promise Initiative. This program was designed to raise awareness about breast cancer in the African American community. Track and field fans however are more familiar with athletic feats.

      The 2012 Olympics was an event in which Jeter amused audiences. She was the pillar of the 4X100 relay. Carmelita Jeter became the first athlete to win medals in both the 200m and 100m race  at the Olympic Games. These spectacular feats come as no surprise. During the mid-2000s she had been gradually improving. Jeter has successes in the World Championships of 2009 with a record time 10.67. That made her the third fastest woman in history. The 2010 saw Jeter win two gold medals and silver in the World Championships. At this point was clear that her performance could only increase.

That was what made her performance so special. Jamaica produces great runners, but their dominance has been threatened by US talent. Her performance earned her a Jesse Owens Award one of the most prestigious track and field accolades. Jeter has revealed many thoughts and feelings about her career, sports, and live through various interviews. Her views on the student athlete are different from the common perspective. She once said “enjoy college and high school because you don’t get those years back.” Jeter delineates further ” you have plenty of time to become professional.” Too often the student athlete is regimented so they miss out on the simple joys of youth. Carmelita Jeter felt she made a sacrifice at the expense of the care free times of being a young adult. She also emphasized that education is the main goal of being at a university, even if  you are an athlete. If an athletic career does not work out she explained, you need to have a back up plan. Jeter believes that it is best to balance your life, athletic activity, and school work. Jeter revealed that getting to the 2012 Olympics was not a simple task. She admitted “that nobody thought I could make it at my age.” This was around the time she lost her beloved aunt Brenda Washington to breast cancer. This caused her much distress. She was able in her own words turn negative events into positives.

Normally, athletes have a person that inspired them in their career. Jeter said it was her aunt who was her inspiration. Her aunt was not an athlete, but a person that was close and encouraging in her life. The women in her family were her role models. Jeter described her aunt as ” whitley of the family ” ( from the TV show A Different World ). Carmelita Jeter revealed that “the women I look up to are every day women.” However, she does have favorite athletes she likes to see compete. She is a fan of Serena Williams, and Candace Parker. Being a former basketball player she love watching the WNBA. Jeter has much respect for Becky Hammon assistant coach of the Spurs. She is not just an athlete, but also a sports fan. This should be no shock. Carmelita Jeter recalling her childhood stated ” I grew up in a sports household.” She would play basketball with her dad and brother on the weekends. Her beginnings were humble as she revealed ” I didn’t come from a family with a whole lot of money so if we knew we weren’t going to be super smart in the class room we had to be athletic and get scholarships.” Track and field gave Jeter more of a competitive drive and a desire to push herself further. At the 2013 World Championships in Moscow she was able to compete with a torn quadricep. She won a bronze medal in that 100m race.

          Carmelita Jeter during her athletic career followed a particular training and diet regimen to enhance performance. When preparing for competition her diet consists of vegetables and some baked goods. Eating three meals a day with two snacks in between, rest was also important. Jeter claimed that her focus was intense starting her day early and being in bed by 9:00 pm.

London Olympics Athletics WomenJeter said staying hydrated is also critical to her training. Also Carmelita Jeter incorporates weight training into her fitness program. Her schedule goes as follows : in the weight room from 6:30 to 7:45, trains in UCLA, and has cryotherapy. Jeter does this to have her muscles relax from exercise and completes this six hour a day training by 12:30. Jeter also likes doing pilates saying ” that’s why my abs look the way they do.” This training regime produced an impressively powerful body. As she said “when I hopped on the scene I was very fast and very muscular.” She also believed in her own assessment “that it turned people off.” She did not let dated and old fashioned beliefs deter her. To Jeter there is nothing wrong with women being strong. The track and field athlete has embraced the movement of physically strong women saying “I love that women want to strong not just mentally, but physically.” Carmelita Jeter  also clarifies ” it is definitely  inspiring to see the movement to be strong is relating to women and is trickling down to young girls.” Her philosophy is “that is okay to be muscular and it is okay to be buff.” She has started from humble roots to Olympic champion. She certainly will inspire many young women athletes.

        Currently Jeter was set to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Unfortunately, injury pulled her out of the trials. It was clear that if she was not sustain the injury to her quadricep, she would have been excellent. Carmelita Jeter at age 37 is still in great shape. Normally athletes reach there physical fitness peak around this time frame. Jeter has made no indications about whether she will continue to compete or attempt to appear in the 2020 Olympics. The year 2017 she did not run at all instead focusing on mentoring young athletes. It seems that quadriceps issues continue to be a hindrance to her competitive streak. It is too soon to say that she is retiring or done with the sport. If 2016 was the last year fans see her actively compete, she went out with an impressive accomplishments.

The Camelita Jeter Story

Marcie Simmons Discusses Lift and Carry Fetishism

Marcie Simmons produced this video a year ago discussing the fetish of lift and carry.There are many reasons why men and women would find this activity arousing or attractive . This fetish involves a person doing various carries of another individual. There is a connection with cartolagnia and stenolgania, but this fetish could be classified as something different. Marcie speaks about this more from a personal perspective and her experiences. Being an athlete herself and a part of the bodybuilding subculture, this provides a rare glimpse from a woman’s perspective. Sometimes this is not sexual in nature as Marcie states. It could just be ludicrous fun. This may be a strange form of entertainment, but amusing to some. The biggest mystery is why does this arouse some individuals ? It could be that some are exposed to certain things in youth that mold their predilections or tastes as an adult. There is something unique about a physically strong woman, which may add to this attraction. Then it has to be realized that their is an element of sexual expression. Society ignores and tries to repress that people have different ways of expressing themselves sexually. Other than the more taboo element, these acts seem to be more entertainment based.

        Marcie explains that women physically lifting men up can be comedic. She did this to a man in her gym and posted it on Facebook. The reason was just to entertain viewers. The internet has created the age of instant entertainment. Videos that are unedited and raw can be spread rapidly. Marcie says that there are different cases of who is carried in videos. This could be a woman carrying a man or woman carrying another woman. The woman carrying a man seems to be the most popular type of video. This fetish is not exclusive to men, but women also have it.

This is entertaining mainly because it is rare that a woman is physically capable of lifting up a full grown man. Fireman’s carries, piggy back rides, over head lifts, and calf raises the strong women perform to the amazement of many. Although wrestling is not a part of this fetish that provides a level of humor. A woman dominating a man on a physical level is a event that does not happen everyday and the fact even large men can be woman handled becomes a viral video.Marcie posted such a video showing her lifting a man with minimal effort. It seems to bring grown men and women back to a time of early childhood play. At this stage it is fine for boys and girls to engage in physical play together. When children mature into adulthood such play or simple fun is no longer acceptable. When strong women lift and wrestle men it takes them back to those carefree days.

There is little time or acceptance for adults engaging in enjoyable activity. The responsibilities of adulthood demand that work comes first and fun second. This almost becomes more of a stress reducing activity. Work or family may cause distress, which may explain why men seeking such fetish sessions. Men are under more stress and pressure from society to either be leaders or pillars of the community. There is little room or outlets for emotional catharsis. Men have to in a stereotypical fashion, not express and emotion or vulnerable state. This creates a level of mental distress or lugubriousness. Men going to sessions who are married may do this to have the stress of life be gone for a period of time. Other men may like the idea that a woman can challenge and defeat them on a physical level. The session may actually be more of a workout session testing  both participants athletic skills. Men who go to sessions come from all walks of life and some are former athletes themselves. They are impressed that women can give them that challenge. Simultaneously, it is possible they like that their are women who have an intense interest in fitness and sports. Lift and carry is not entirely sexual. It is a type of entertainment to a section of followers. There are whole websites now devoted to lift and carry solely. Also in a similar fashion there are websites devoted to scissor holds alone. Then the majority is mixed wrestling. While there is multiple demonstrations of strength feats, including arm wrestling , wrestling holds, or others some prefer just one.

The fetish seems more complicated than previously thought. Classification is important to understanding this sexual fetish. While it could be said there is a general fetish for women of strong and muscular bodies, there is one for women who are just strong. They may not have muscle, but are physically capable of doing strength feats. It seems more important to the lover of lift and carry strength has value rather than the look of muscles. The rise of websites devoted to this shows that their is an entertainment value to this. It is however, still underground and part of the fitness subculture.

         Human sexuality is both biologically and culturally based. There is also a psychological element to this. Human beings exhibit a level of sexual expression in their preferences in terms of beauty and sexual behavior. Lift and carry as Marcie Simmons reveals could be a form of role play. Role play used in the context of sexual behavior refers to practices two individuals do prior to intercourse. This is done to fulfill a sexual fantasy. Relevant to this context, there are men who love the idea of strong women. Marcie explains that there are a portion of men who like the idea of being rendered helpless when confronted with a strong woman’s physical might. Women might also get a level of arousal from the fact they can overpower a man. Women may experience psychologically a new sense of power and control that rarely have in their lives. Roles are in a sense briefly reversed with women taking a dominating status. May be it is not so much being made weak and helpless, but acting out a role play fantasy. Some men who engage in session report loving the concept of female hero. The muscular woman almost embodies these qualities and this could be from a person’s childhood.

There could be men who were as children and saw a muscular woman in real life or in a form a entertainment which sparked this interest. It could have been watching a sporting event or reading a comic which featured women with powerful physiques.Comic book characters like Wonder Woman or professional women wrestlers on television may generate interests. There may be some contact with a tomboy in a man’s childhood, that created a fond memory. Sigmund Freud believed that sex was a large motivator for human action. While it may be a part of it, that is not all as he assumed. Some of his theories of course are questionable. According to surveys by sexologists and psychologists more men may like foreplay than women. This may cause frustration in women who rather get directly to the point copulation. These activities between two people never follow a linear path. Foreplay and the cat could happen in random order depending on the situation. It should be noted that role play differs from foreplay. Role play involves the people in question acting out a particular fantasy or scenario. Session wrestlers may act as bully or hero depending on what a client wants. The sexual arousal comes from the feelings of being astounded that a woman can do such feats. However this is also a arousal from women who may physically struggle to lift a man. It is not so much that they are successful in the feat, but rather showing exertion.

This also explains why some who love lift and carry are also  impressed by women of slim body types who can lift them. The fact they can do that with little effort, but not look like they could creates a feeling of magnificent wonder. Marcie Simmons articulates that this is not a psychological problem. It would not be classified a paraphilia either. This is just a  a sexual fetish and another way in which people express their sexuality. This may also as Marcie explains why people consume pornography. When asked many would say they do not watch or consume such material simply out of embarrassment. Yet, it could be an outlet of sexual expression for some people. Such taboos relate to people being afraid of sex and sexuality. This reveals why some deny that their are multiple sexual orientations or that urges are biologically based. Such extreme though also harms public health by either eliminating sex education form public school curriculum. Having knowledge about the human body and its function is neither inappropriate or immoral as religious fundamentalist claim. Culturally, there has been a liberation in the West known as  the sexual revolution. Contraception, sex positive feminism, and the acceptance different sexual orientations were a product of that. Women had more rights and control of their bodies than in previous centuries. Humanity has reached a point in which sexual behavior is being accepted and openly discussed more so than ever before.  The word fetish will someday will not have a negative connotation.

       The muscular woman and athletic woman is unique in many regards. the idea of strong and woman are still opposite concepts to many. It has become a new form of beauty to devotees and followers. This is a revolution that few realize is happening. There has not been a point in human history in which women have developed themselves physically to such a high level. Muscular women did exist prior to modern sports, but the women of today surpass them. This has become another paradigm of beauty. Traditionally, the image beauty for women in the 20th century was slender and to an extent some shape. Celebrities and models such as Lena Horne or Marlin Monroe emphasized such a body image.

When women got involved in professional sports  a new form of body image emerged. There was no longer a concern of fitting a particular standard of beauty. Women began choosing it for themselves. There are women who love the look of a muscular physique and diligently work to attain such a body. Power is in both a mental and physical sense is an attractive element. Power from women was at one time believed to be unfeminine, but attitudes are gradually shifting. Physical power in women is still criticized by the wider society. A woman can be strong,but looking strong generates ostracism. Claims of being “too big” or “unladylike” are constant dated and   subtlety sexist beliefs that are propagated. The muscular woman is no different from other women, yet they are rare. The average woman do not have such immense  physical strength. This demonstrates why some may either be shocked or repudiate such a woman of a certain physicality. It may not be something they are used to. Those who embrace the look think seek out women like this.

Lift and carry from this stand point could be some men embracing women’s new found power in terms of strength. While it is okay that women can show physical skill to an extent showing large muscles still seems to frighten or disgust others. This is not repulsive, just women who are different from what society thinks they should be. The image of the passive, frail, weak, and scared female has become a anachronistic stereotype. However, there still  is a strong emphasis on gender roles. Men and women are forced to con form to these unwritten rules. This sessions of lift and carry some what overturn these rules by doing role reversals. Women during these sessions have in a way become in charge, while the man gives away some of his power.

There could be more to it than just reversal of power relations. The thrill of seeing a unique type of woman up close could just be another dynamic. The only time fans of muscular and strong women may see them is through images, TV, or websites. Actually witnessing something is different from a mere record.Seeing a muscular woman in person could be just that awe inspiring to a fan. From this perspective it may not have to be either roles whether submissive or dominant. It could just be seeing an interesting person for the first time. Looking at lift and carry in narrow terms of submission and domination may be ignoring other factors. This could just reinforce sexist prejudices or ideas. The assumption that if it involves men and women doing an activity together it must be automatically sexual is false. Sessions rarely involve sexual exchange, but that does not mean it has not happened in some cases. This is a subculture that has developed and it is still evolving. The arousal comes from numerous factors which include past experiences in youth, personal preference, and environment. There are obvious biological reasons for sexual response. Lift and carry  is one of many fetishes that both men and women have. It can hardly be described as being abnormal.

Marcie Simmons Discusses Lift and Carry Fetishism

Can Women Build Muscle Mass ?

It is commonly believed that women cannot build muscle. This does not seem to be accurate when examining the matter for an exercise physiology perspective. Women can in fact build muscle, because muscular hypertrophy does operate in the same manner in the female body. The level compared to men would be less in relation to size. There is a fear that some women have of “bulking up.” This term bulking also is not accurate either. The word bulky can be defined as ” taking up much space typically inconveniently” or ” a person that is heavily built.” This description  could be used for various body types if applying these definitions. A person who is overweight could be bulky according to that definition. The best terminology would be muscle mass gains. It seems what is bulky can vary depending on what a person’s aesthetic preferences are. The term bulky just like the term tone has limited scientific basis. These terms are either used to deter or encourage women specifically in their fitness goals. There is a taboo against women with muscular or strong looking bodies. Ideas about women’s physical capabilities are still based on dated notions that the female body was not designed for strength or endurance. Popular fitness literature states that women cannot “bulk up” through heavy weight lifting. Basically this is saying that women cannot build muscle. Fitness literature does correctly state the health benefits, but denigrates the muscular look on women. The ability to gain muscles mass does not only depend on sex, but factors such as body type, genetics, exercise regimen, and age are also factors.

         Muscular hypertrophy is the process in which skeletal muscle will increase in size including the associated cells. This does not only increase muscle mass, but the cross sectional area. Individual muscle fibers increase in size. Cardiac muscle can even adapt to increased work load. The heart can become more efficient at squeezing blood out of the chambers of the heart and the skeletal muscle can push more force through the tendons of the body. Skeletal muscle must contract to produce body movement, but also functions in maintaining body posture. When doing progressive overload intermittent levels of stress is applied to the skeletal muscle. This allows for the muscle to adjust for the enlargement and amount of contractile proteins. This effects the myofibrils in each muscle fiber.

Women have the same muscles as men. Anatomically and physiologically the muscular system of women is similar to that of  males. To understand the nature of muscular hypertrophy one must examine satellite cells, growth factor proteins, and immune system responses.   The satellite cells are responsible for repair of damaged skeletal muscle tissue and they are facilitators of growth. Their location is on the surface of the muscle fiber between the sarcolema and basal lamina.

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These cells contain one nucleus which has most of the cell volume. They are only activated in the case of injury or trauma. Resistance training only cause some micro-trauma. The daughter cells respond, while there is an increase in satellite cells. The daughter cells merge to the damage site. This results in the increase in myosin and actin proteins. Simultaneously the daughter cells will donate nuclei. Muscular hypertrophy can be induced by high intensity anaerobic resistance training. The changes it causes result in neural adaptations, muscular endurance, and strength. The total amount of satellite cells differs depending on the type of muscle fiber. Oxidative   fibers have at least six times the satellite cells. These muscle fibers are in use more frequently. They have an are larger blood and capillary supply which explains this function. This physiological process is the same for people, but potential varies when considering other factors. The initial fitness level and natural strength capacity are critical. People of ectomorphic body types will struggle to build muscle, while mesomorphic bodies can easily gain. Endomorphic body types would benefit in terms of weight loss, because muscle burns fat.  This means that women can vary in the level of muscular gains they can make depending at their starting point before hypertrophy.

Somatotype plays a major role in physical fitness potential in terms of muscular gains. Proteins actually have the ability to govern growth rates.

      Growth factors include hormones and cytokines. Growth factors maintain division and various characteristics form the original cell, which are acquired . This process is known as differentiation .  The major growth factors of skeletal hypertrophy include insulin growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, and heptocyte growth factor. Insulin growth factor regulates protein synthesis including insulin metabolism. This growth factor appears in two forms which include IGF I and IGF II. IGF I must proliferate the cells as well as cause differentiation  IGF II must spread the satellite cells. IGF responds to progressive overload during resistance exercise causing it to increase in level.

Fibroblast growth factor is present in the skeletal muscle. FGF has nine forms, but only five cause the proliferation and the differentiation of satellite cells. The amount of fibroblast growth factor is proportional to the degree of trauma or injury.  Hepatocyte growth factor has numerous cellular functions and is also a cytokine. The role of HGF is to get the satellite cells to migrate to the areas of trauma. Besides cytokines, the endocrine system and hormones also contribute to the growth of muscle.

         The endocrine system has the function of directing hormones in the body. Hormones are a group of chemicals, which are designed to regulate activities in organs or cells through out the body. Hormone function can be effected by nutritional status, food consumption, and lifestyle factors. Life style factors include stress, amount of sleep or rest, and general state of health.Testosterone is an androgen that also contributes to muscular hypertrophy. The sex hormone is produced more in males which effects the nervous system, skeletal muscle, bone marrow, skin, hair and sex organs. Women produce more estrogen, which effects the body composition to produce more fat. The endocrine system contains ovaries in women which is responsible for the ripening of eggs and the thickening of the uterine wall. The reason men find it easier to build muscle or lose weight is because they are producing more androgens  in the testes. Testosterone has anabolic effects on the body and can generate more protein synthesis. This explains why it is harder for women to build mass. Even when the training regimen is the same for both sexes male absolute strength is higher.

  However,  it is not the total amount of  testosterone in the body. The amount of free testosterone that is not bounded in the body.  As confusing as this can be it explains that a woman who trains can be stronger than a man, even though their is a hormonal difference. Hormones are not the only factor involved in muscular hypertrophy. It should also be understood that other hormones such as growth hormone and cortisol contribute to the endocrine elements. Growth hormone is classified as a peptide, which causes stimulation in IGF. It has been suggested that GH is more responsible for enforcing connective tissues. Growth hormone also needs to be involved  in the process of activation, proliferation, and differentiation. Cortisol is categorized as steroid hormone, produced in the adrenal cortex and kidney. This stress hormone causes gluconeogenesis. The process allow for formation of glucose from other areas such as amino acids and free fatty acids. Cortisol has the ability to stop the use of glucose by cells of the body. Protein catabolism can be caused by this, which allows amino acids to focus on more protein production. If this process happens too much it can inhibit skeletal muscular hypertrophy. Steroid hormones are critical because they have a nucleus than can transport through the cell membrane without a receptor.

 The endocrine system is a combination of glandular tissues and glands within organs that manipulate hormones to regulate the body. The endocrine system and the interactions of hormones do plat a role in muscular hypertrophy. These hormone interactions are complex and simply saying women cannot achieve muscle gain would be incorrect. Testosterone does provide an advantage, but IGF and GH add to the anabolic role to compensate for lower levels in women. Estrogen may also be helpful in some regards. Studies have shown that estrogen can aid in muscle repair and may have the ability to protect joints and bones from injury. Estrogen and testosterone are both important to the health of the human body.

       Women have the same muscle fibers. There is a belief that there are “men’s muscles” and  “women’s muscles.” The force than can be produced from muscle fiber is dependent on size and particular composition. Slow twitch and fast twitch fibers are different in terms of metabolism, contractile velocity, neuromuscular activity, glycogen stores, and capillary density. They do respond differently to hypertrophy. The fast twitch type II fibers are capable of more force production. Type IIa fibers are oxidative glycolytic fibers, which can be a combination of type I and IIb fibers. They need both need anaerobic and oxidative metabolism to support contraction. This type of fiber can be the product of both endurance training and resistance training. Type IIb fibers have the ability to convert into type IIa fibers. Fast twitch glycolytic fibers require anaerobic metabolism for energy needs. Contraction in this circumstance requires an amount of glycolytic enzymes. The reason this type of fiber generates more force is due to the enhanced size of the nerve body, axon , and the muscle fiber. The conduction of velocity of alpha motor nerves becomes higher, while simultaneously causing more of a response in terms action potential. Although this type of muscle fiber has more power, it has less long term endurance.

 Depending on the sport there are muscle fibers that are more helpful than others. Fast twitch fibers would be more helpful for weightlifting and slow twitch would be useful in running. The slow twitch muscle oxidative muscle fibers contribute to maintaining skeletal support and body posture. These fibers have more endurance and can generate tension for longer time periods. Slow twitch fibers have the ability to use fats and carbohydrates better compared to fast twitch fibers. The require less excitement for the sake of muscular contraction. The explanation is that oxidative metabolism provides an efficient means of breaking down fuels from energy with the help of oxygen. Type I fibers can grow with progressive overload including resistance training. Aerobic exercise to a small extent can cause hypertrophy in type I fibers. There is no difference in structure and physiology of the muscular system of women. Men have can develop larger muscles in terms of total body composition. Muscular development comes from a training regimen and the result of that particular stimuli.

        The type of exercise and training method also influences how women gain mass. There are numerous types of exercise. Weight training is the most effective method to building muscle mass. cardio vascular exercise, while still good for health will not cause mass gains. This is also true of aerobics, which does not aid in significant strength increases.

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The muscular system of women contain the same muscles as men.

   Women either avoid weights for fear they will “bulk.” Basically, it is a fear of becoming muscular, which is very possible. Looking like a professional athlete or female bodybuilder takes decades to achieve. Thinking that such strength and power can be acquired with minimal effort is ludicrous. Such athletes have a genetic advantage unique to their physiology, a strict diet, and train over a number of the years. Some athletes resort to performance enhancing drug use to reach fitness or performance  targets. There still is a huge amount of cultural bias against women who do not fit a societal body image paradigm. Women have various body types and the ability to enhance physical fitness capacity. There still continue to myths about women’s bodies that were based on 19th century eugenics and pseudoscience. The female body was thought to be too weak for vigorous activity and  exercising would cause infertility in women. These concepts have been disproved, but research is still needed in terms of training of the female athlete. Exercise physiology has not examined female athletes as much as men, so it still may be a mystery about women’s total physical fitness capacity. This makes it more difficult to figure out what is the best training method for women. There are two factions that emerge in this debate. The first claims women should not train like men and the other advocates similar methods between the sexes. The one reason some argue women should not train like men is due to endocrinology. Estrogen can help women recover faster from training and reduces fatigue. Women would need more isolation work in the upper body to gain strength in that section of the body. Adding muscle to the upper body would be the most challenging element, which means there may need to be adjustments in exercises. When women do bench presses they use more of their triceps compared to their shoulders and back. Seeing as women are closer to men in lower body strength, they respond just as well to a mix of high volume and high intensity squats.

Other advocates say that women should follow the exact same regimen as men. That means lifting heavy and doing this at high intensity.  Both positions have their well argued positions, but may be there are some deeper considerations. The choice may not be either selection, rather a combination of both methods. Individuals vary in somatotype and this will effect on the results of training stimuli. The only way to find out the best training program is to determine your body type and experiment with a regimen. The only practical way would be to document or record changes to see if it is fully effective. Training should be tailored to the physical characteristics and attributes of an individual.

      Nutrition and diet are also critical to building muscle mass. For women, this becomes more complicated due to differences in how food is metabolized. If one is to consume more calories activity level should be high enough to utilize them or else it could become extra fat stores. An active woman should consume close to 2,400 calories per day to maintain mass. A diet should consist of protein and carbohydrates. Protein is required for muscle growth and repair. Foods that should be consumed for required carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. It is best to consume carbohydrates prior to and after workout sessions. This diet must be consistent to be effective in producing results. This may be the mot challenging aspect, other than the training itself. Dietary proteins can be found in meat, chicken, fish, eggs,whey, and dairy products. There is another limitation here in terms of knowledge. It is not entirely clear how much protein an active sportswoman should consume. The recommended suggestion is 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This may require a level of modification. Besides food, there are supplements that can gain in strength and muscle mass gain. Creatine  has been shown to be very helpful with women in their training regimens. Supplements and diet can allow women to build muscle mass.

        Genetics plays a role in how muscular a person can get. There is not one gene responsible for a single attribute, but a combination of genes. Eye color can be affected by  15 different genes. A gene is a single unit of DNA required to form a protein. They consist of sections of DNA that code for all the amino acids of a particular protein. Lengths of DNA are referred to as introns and exons, which transcribe  to form immature mRNA.

ADN gene

The mRNA has sections that are made from introns, which will be removed. After the removal the mature mRNA  will remain for the purpose of translation. Regulatory DNA sequences code for their own proteins and this affects the gene transcription rate. Introns can be sliced out, leaving the exon section. That remaining section will allow for protein production. Relevant to muscular hypertrophy, the MSTN gene plays a significant role. This gene provides directions to the protein myostatin. Myostatin is part of the transforming growth factor beta super family. This protein is active before and after birth and is found mostly in the skeletal muscles. It has the function of  regulating muscle growth. Athletes with low myosatin could therefore find it easier to build muscle compared with individuals with higher levels. The often used phrase ” they have great genetics” actually does have credibility. A natural physique suited to a particular sport does provide an edge in certain competitions. Genes are not a compete explanation either. Organisms interact with their environments and it can also influence biological states. There could be an athlete with great potential, but they do not work as hard. There could be women of high potential that do not have the opportunity to enhance physical skills.

 Humanity is a combination of genes and environment. Muscular potential from a genetic standpoint is inherited to a degree. Whether it can be extended further is determined by dedication, access to certain facilities, and nutrition. As science continues to uncover the nature of the human genome and gene interactions,  there still are unanswered questions.

        Age also does play a role in how much mass can be gained. The muscular system like other organ systems is effected by senescence. The aging process changes the skeletal and muscular system at different stages at life. Girls  during puberty attain their full natural skeletal and muscle mass growth faster than boys. The growth process for most people ends by age 25. Men may be slower to grow, but when it is done they are taller and have more total body mass. Muscles can change depending on use and level of exercise. Muscle will reach its full potential in size, strength, and contraction rate by the mid-20s of the human life cycle. When the muscular peak reaches a certain level, it will decline with age. Body fat  will increase throughout life. Muscles by middle age become weaker and stiffer, which can affect voluntary and automatic body movements. Bones have a more difficult time with reconstruction, leaving people more vulnerable to osteoporosis. Age causes muscle mass reduction. Between the ages of 45 to 70 muscle strength declines about one third. However, exercise can prevent muscle mass and bone loss.

 Linda Wood Hoyte started to compete in her 30s  and in her 70s still has a good physique. 

Load bearing exercises can build strength and bone mass. Besides those benefits, it might also aid in keeping a  healthy circulatory system and controlling blood pressure. It is true it would be difficult for an older person to build muscle, but not impossible. Doctors once believed that the elderly should not engage in vigorous exercise,because it could be too much for them. Seniors should be physically and mentally active to improve the quality of life. Seniors can see an increase in strength and bone mass.

        When examining these factors the question becomes to what extent are women’s capabilities? Growth rate in muscle gain for women does not differ. Women respond to training stimuli, but the difference is starting point. Men will appear that they grow more, because they have more lean body mass to start with. This may not be the case , because appearances can be deceiving, without precise measurement. Studies conducted show that women can enhance their physical fitness over a number of weeks.

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Both male and female subjects gained 10 lbs of muscle.
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Women saw dramatic increases percentage wise in squats and bench press. Arm curl percentages were lower because of the vast difference in upper body strength.

Women seem to see higher percentage increases. This does not mean they go beyond men in absolute strength, rather they gain more because the have less natural strength to begin with. It seems that women have more endurance than men when doing an exercise session.  Studies suggest women can utilize fuel reserves better and are less reliant on carbohydrates during training regimens. Women can burn more body fat relative to their size. Understanding these biological and physiological differences can contribute to making a training program more effective.

          There still is unscientific and incorrect ideas about women gaining mass. Some of these views are simple misconceptions. The term “bulky” is nothing more than a colloquial term that does not accurately describe the athletic or muscular female body. The athletic female body can come in numerous forms being either smaller or larger.

Their bodies look a particular way depending on which sport they compete in. A gymnast will not have a body of a weightlifter. A track and field athlete will not have a body like a swimmer’s. Women are still scrutinized more about appearance and body image. Even athletes have to be subject to such ridicule and derision. The irrational fear about becoming “too big” or looking “mannish” still plagues women in sports and fitness. The fitness industry promotes mostly weight loss plans to women, rather than programs that enhance physical conditioning. There are guarantees of “you can never bulk up from weight training” or “its simply impossible for women to build muscle.” There is a bias against women of different sizes. Muscular women or physically strong women face these biases. Critics either call it unnatural or unattractive. Most of these sexist claims are based on pseudoscience from 19th century  Victorian Age  medicine. Women were thought to have naturally frail bodies and rigorous exercise could harm their health. At  this time, women’s sole purpose in the eyes of Victorian society was to direct all her energy to childbirth. Getting an education, working, or doing physical activity would according to medical professionals would take away body energy for childbirth. This was false, but these myths were designed to control women’s bodies and deny them reproductive rights. Women developing their bodies to the highest physical condition has become a major statement about what a woman can be and achieve. Although the concept of female biological inferiority has been proved false, prejudice remains.

          The women that are commonly referred to as “bulky” are female bodybuilders. This should be interpreted  from a point of height and weight differences. The women who appear on stage are not as large as they seem. During contests their body weight is lower depending on what weight class. The off season is a rest period in which body fat levels will go back up. The stage body is different from  the out of contest body. Fat levels are low to show as much definition and vascularity  as possible. This condition can only be maintained for a short period of time. When body fat levels get too low it can cause problems for the cell membranes. Specific to women it can cause issues with the menstrual cycle. That is why competitors do not remain in contest shape year long.

A combination of tans and low body fat produce a body uniquely sculpted. The look is different from any other female athlete. Depending on the category, muscularity, size, definition, and conditioning vary. There are numerous weight and height classes in the physique, bodybuilding,  figure, fitness, and bikini classes. These women sculpt their bodies to a particular aesthetic. Bodies can either be lithe with some muscle, a middle range, or the hypermuscular version. While to an extent their is a level of acceptance of some muscle on the female body, there remains a bias in sports and in the whole of the fitness industry. Most fitness magazines for women encourage diets and weight loss rather than specific exercise programs. The fitness industry even blamed female bodybuilders and weightlifters for making women fearful of lifting weights. This is not true, because many publications promoted the thin body as an image of health and beauty. They were the first women to lift and spread this activity. The industry they contributed to now wants to disown them. There is a change with a the rise of crossfit and more women wanting to use weight rooms in their local gyms.

Seeing women in other sports the spectrum is much bigger. On average women are shorter than men and adding muscle to a smaller frame makes it seem as if they are gigantic. Women of this physique are often criticized as being as large as men, but this is not necessarily true. As revealed previously men have more muscle mass and larger skeletal frames. Also depending on which man you are comparing a muscular woman to she may obviously be bigger. Somatotypes vary between men and women. Comparing a muscular woman to a thin man, she would obviously look bigger. Men with endomorphic body types would be larger in terms of total body mass. The mesomorph however would be larger than most women depending on their height and weight.

The one who would be considered  bulky according to the denotation of the word would not be the muscular woman. 

Terms like bulky and toned are gender based fitness constructions. The only utility it serves is to present what types of bodies are acceptable to a dominant cultural perspective. The another myth that needs to be challenged is that some how muscles turn into fat when training or competition ends. Muscle only goes through atrophy meaning they decrease in size. Hypertrophy as discussed earlier is the opposite of this process. Maintaining a muscular physique requires high calorie consumption. Women have to work harder to achieve higher physical fitness levels. Looking like a bodybuilder or fitness model take an enormous effort. For the average non-athlete, how one looks could be completely random. The fitness industry tries to present a claim everyone will look a particular way after a training regimen, but this has no scientific basis. Their main purpose is to sell a training program, not realistic expectations.

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Looking like either one of these women  may not actually happen. However, weightlifting can improve health.

 There are women who think touch a heavy weight will make them a Lenda Murray and the others who think they can look like a smaller fitness model. It is clear that these women are professional athletes who have talent and genetics to produce such appearances. The diligence and number of years required would certainly deter a majority of people. Women who see some muscle develop and do not want it become fearful that it is permanent. Obviously it is not. The body does change when exercise is  either stopped completely or adjusted depending on goals. Muscle atrophy when it happens in women may theoretically go at a faster rate, due to body composition. Former competitors are not as large as they were when in contest. That is because the body is no longer being challenged by exercise stimuli. The only way excessive weight gain happens is when calorie consumption is still high, but physical  activity level is still low.

The photographs above show former competitors Dawn Riehl and Laura Creavalle in their post athletic career stage. Their muscles did not transform into fat, they merely shrank in size compared to when they were competition. The general public has a weak comprehension of science, especially the anatomy and physiology of their own bodies. Having a grasp of basic exercise physiology would make many understand why bulky is really not a precise term to describe a muscular body.

      The term as one can see is relative to a perspective of an individual.Another aspect that should be realized is that the claim women with muscle look like men is false. Simply having muscle does not make women look like men. This is distorted logic, because it assumes that all men have physiques that are like men on the cover of fitness magazines. Another problem is that it ignores the fact that women’s muscular systems can be developed through training. The only reason a woman would exhibit male secondary sex characteristics is from long term anabolic androgenic steroid abuse. This type of performance enhancing drug alters the endocrine system, which can enhance strength and aid in workout recovery. Virilization and other negative health consequences can be a result of use depending on the type of steroid, dosage,  and length of use.  However, it should not be assumed that all muscular people are on some drug. Training and diet are more effective in comparison. Drugs will not produce a quality athlete if training and diet are inadequate.  Women do have the ability to build muscle mass depending on age, type of exercise, somatotype,  and genetics. While much has been discovered, there could be more to learn about the full extent of female muscular physiology.

References

Parker, Steve. The Human Body Book. New York: DK Publishing,2013.

Kravitz, Len. “The Mystery of Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy.” Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy, University of New Mexico , 7 Mar. 2006, http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/hypertrophy.html.

 

Henselmans,  Menno. “The Muscular Potential of Women .” Bayesian Bodybuilding, Bayesian Bodybuilding, 12 Jan. 2015, bayesianbodybuilding.com/natural-muscular-potential-women/.
Jacob Wilson. “Are Women Stronger Than Men?” The Muscle PhD, The Muscle PhD, 25 Sept. 2017, themusclephd.com/are-women-stronger-than-men/.
Samuels , Mike. “How to Bulk Up for Females.” Healthy Living, Healthy Living , 8 Dec. 2007, healthyliving.azcentral.com/bulk-up-females-4067.html.
MSTN Gene – Genetics Home Reference.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 7 Oct. 2017, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/MSTN.
Chee April 01, 2015, Rosie. “Muscle Building: Hypertrophy And Physiology – How To Lift Weights To Maximize Mass!” Bodybuilding.com, Bodybuilding.com , 1 Apr. 2015, http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/muscle-hypertrophy-physiology-how-to-lift-weights-maximize-mass.htm.
Can Women Build Muscle Mass ?