Yeon Woo Jhi

Yeon Woo Jhi is a South Korean bodybuilder and IFBB physique pro. Yeon was born in 1984 in Seoul. She began competing in 2010 and has made quite the impression. She won her first competition the Korea YMCA. Her other wins include the Muscle Beach International Classic (2011) and the Arnold Classic Europe Physique (2013). The year 2013 was her true athletic break out competition. She presented a powerful and symmetrical physique that made fans and judges take notice. It is clear that she is going to be a force in the physique category. The excellent part of Yeon coming to a level of prominence in the bodybuilding sports is that it highlights the international nature of competition. It also opens the door for South Koreans who want to compete internationally under the IFBB. Thanks to the internet and the copious amount of videos of her, she has gained mainstream exposure. Yeon has appeared on various South Korean television programs. The TV viewing audiences and internet users became intrigued by the woman with a model face and massive muscles.It has in a way broken a small barrier on the public’s attitude in regards to women and muscle in Korea. img_13631323109589 Yeon  is actually the first Asian bodybuilder to compete in the IFBB. This is a positive development, because it can inspire others to get involved from Asia. Yeon has been working out for ten years to build her body. Her reason for working out was to deal with depression and a panic disorder. Before she stated on The Star King  show, that “she was very skinny and had little stamina.” Yeon said that reactions to her body differ. Foreigners may consider her body attractive, but are shocked that someone like her exists. There could be some prejudice related to certain perceptions. Asian women are viewed as either weak or submissive in the Western mind, but this does not represent reality. Yeon has in her own way challenged some racist stereotypes. There are also some Koreans who believe she is excessive, but have a more traditional view of women in general. The studio audience seemed positive mostly. When Yeon started out she was only 48 kg . Now she is a much bigger 65 kg standing at 5’7. Yeon’s  offseason weight is 71 kg (157 pounds). Yeon was able to overcome her anxiety disorders through working out. She enjoys her new found strength. Yeon said on her appearance on Star King that it used to be difficult to carry groceries.  Not anymore she proclaimed to the audience. Her muscles are not just for show. Ten years of training she has gained immense strength and loves to demonstrate it. 1093866_325162950952985_142239438_o

1074099_325162917619655_302045305_o1077063_325162870952993_206377309_o Yeon has like other strength sport athletes appeared on Herbiceps.com , which features athletes doing posing videos and strength feats. Yeon has arm wrestled and beaten many men in their video challenges. Her latest TV appearance she took one of the hosts and lifted them up. When he attempted to do the same he ended up falling down. Yeon continues to appear on stage. Her recent competitions were the IFBB Vancouver Pro show (2015) and the Women’s Physique International (2016). She came in 4th in 2015 and 11th in her recent competition. These are minor setbacks, because it is clear that she will be competing for quite a while. Yeon also joined APS Nutrition. This is a positive development getting sponsorship from a company. APS made a great decision making her a representative.

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Yeon made a statement during the APS announcement through a translator. She said “I try myself to live without regrets.”  She explained further that ” from my perspective, to not have regrets is to become one of the most beautiful and memorable bodybuilders ever.”Yeon  also said ” as a woman, I want to live as happily as a passionate and lovely person.” Yeon basically means that just because she is a strong woman, it does not make her less feminine. The great part of her rise is that it gives the physique division credibility. Many observers claimed it was too similar to figure or was a way to abolish the hardcore bodybuilding division. The difference can be demonstrated in Yeon’s physique.

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13596131_121e853a4fdc821d20d018  At first Yeon competed in the bodybuilding category. She appeared to be more like a lightweight bodybuilder. Her transition marked a change in her body which represents the model physique should follow. It still is a more muscular physique, but not sleek with some development of fitness competitors. Both the upper and lower body she presents are balanced. The body she presented in her bodybuilding category her upper body was more pronounced. The physique she has shown from 2013 onward gives fans an idea of what physique competitors will look like. This category is still evolving, so athletes have to be experimental in their physique development. The physique category as Yeon has shown works well for women in the mid-range of muscular development. They are too big for the fitness or figure  category, but not large enough for the top female bodybuilders. Yeon improved upon her legs allowing for a more balanced upper body. This balance she struck is what earned her a pro-card. It is a major shock that she did not at least place in the top five in her latest contests. Judging has always been inconsistent in the IFBB.

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This normally frustrates competitors, but Yeon just enjoys the fun of competing. Although the IFBB does not promote women or value their participation as much, fans appreciate exceptional athletes such as these. This support can be seen across social media. Yeon Woo Jhi’s facebook page has a total 29,223 likes and 25,648 people talking about it on the world’s most popular social media site. Video clips of her competitions have become viral in Korea and around the internet. For being involved in the sport only six years, she has come a long way. She is a great member to the IFBB family. Yeon has a bright future ahead of her as a professional competitor. Certainly as the years go on she will be a formidable physique competitor.

Yeon Woo Jhi

Health Recommendations For Women Entering Combat

The 1994 ban on women in combat has been lifted. Women are soon going to be entering physically demanding positions in the US army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force. Sex integration is becoming a reality. Besides the other considerations in regards to standards, what is often ignored is the health of the soldiers. This includes physical and mental well being. If women are to enter combat they should know how to avoid injury and keep their bodies at peak physical condition. There are health concerns that women face in larger numbers than their male counterparts. Musculoskeletal injuries are a huge issue for women. For all soldiers doubtless of sex, these injuries  are becoming more common sue to the fact gear and armor is heavier. A more disturbing revelation is the prevalence of sexual assault in the US military. It has become a bigger health and crime crisis over the past decades. The most ignored is the problems in regards to mental health. A soldier may survive war with no physical ailment, but mental scars are harder to detect. Even though these health issues are numerous, there are solutions.

         Women suffer more musculoskeletal injuries than their male counterparts in the US military. There are biological reason for this disparity. Men have denser bones, ligaments, and tendons. The male body contains more muscle mass. Women have a lighter bone structure and more body fat. Stress fractures cause long term health issues. Although men do get injured it causes more problems for women. Detractors use the higher injury rates  as a justification for maintaining the ban on women in combat. The average woman will struggle as an infantry soldier marching with packs that are 80 to 100 pounds on their backs. Spinal cord and connective tissue injuries have increased during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new gear soldiers acquire weighs more and it is clear they are being overloaded. According to a study “Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women” they have up to 52% higher injuries compared to 26% of males injuries in basic training. It is true men are stronger than women, but the injury rate is still high for that sample of males. One would expect it to be possibly around 5% to 16% under favorable conditions for males. This means that it may not be beyond women’s  physical capacity . The reason males had lower injury rates is because they had more strength natural  strength initially  ( no weight training )so overloading or  training in an incorrect manner   would not effect them as much. Women who have less natural strength would get injured more. It is critical that women build their strength as much as possible before entering an physically demanding military position.

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Building upper body strength is a requirement for these jobs.

 These injuries can be reduced with a change in policy. The Army Science Board had concluded that soldiers were overloaded and that it hindered speed including mobility. Armor and boots must be designed to fit the female body. This can solve some of the burden in mechanical action. Women will need to train harder and longer due to physiological differences. Even with training most women will not perform to the same level of an equally trained man. Males have a larger cross section in separate muscle fibers . This explains why there are not large numbers of women in foreign armies, besides the more obvious presence of discrimination. The problem of heavy gear must be addressed to avoid drop out rates among soldiers. The UK has a similar issue with overloading. The average UK soldier carries more gear than what they would have during the war in the Falklands. UK soldiers may have it worse carrying up to 145 pounds in equipment. This is causing soldiers to fatigue faster than normal. The US soldier’s gear has different weight depending  on the specific role. Weather specific gear also causes some problems. Cold weather gear is close to 101.5 pounds, while warm weather is 88.3. Rifle platoon soldier’s load is 91 pounds.Loads must be tailored to a particular mission. Unnecessary items have to be discarded. The comfort items will have to go for the sake of bone health. Lower back pain, scoliosis, and stress fractures can ruin careers for soldiers.Seeing as women have less bone mass these can be major health issues. Scoliosis is particularly troubling due to the fact the spine with develop curvature and could require surgeries.

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 If the US military does not make the needed changes disability compensation will increase. Bone spurs and arthritic conditions become permanent for some soldiers. One third of medical evacuations from Afghanistan and Iraq between 2004 and 2007 were due to spinal and connective tissue injuries. According to the study by a Johns Hopkins University researcher that is more than double the injuries from actual combat. It has been estimated that the Department of Veterans Affairs had exceeded $ 500.000,000 in disability payments for these injuries. It has been proven that even the strongest woman or man will get some form of injury when carrying a 100 pounds for just a year. Pain killers are a temporary solution, but this has a risk of an individual becoming addicted. Other methods such as acupuncture, message, and chiropractic care should be considered. Having an understanding of ergonomics and lightening the load of gear can reduce injuries . Musculoskeletal injuries are described as harm or damage to the muscle or skeletal system due to rigorous or strenuous physical activity.

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There is a difference between these types of injuries. Fractures are when the bone has been broken. Dislocation refers to the disruption of a joint from where it is suppose to be. Sprains refer to the tearing of the ligaments. Strains are when muscles are stretched  or torn. Repetitive motion can increase the possibility of individuals acquiring these injuries. The solution would be to have women train in gear to simulate what daily activities will be like. Their bodies must adjust to rigorous activity. Lowering gear loads will be a big help. A change will not only make healthier soldiers, but reduce medical expenses.

          Conditioning and physical strength are essential to the health of military women. Strength makes it possible to perform particular tasks in military occupational specialties. Although men would have more physical strength, women may also have some useful physical advantages. Women have more body fat, but may be better at burning it as energy early on during periods of physical activity. This means their physical endurance could be higher. Men’s higher amount of muscle and free circulating testosterone means they are using more energy. Men would fatigue earlier than women. It has been speculated that it is because women recruit muscle groups in a more efficient manner according to the Journal of Applied Physiology. The gap in physical strength and speed has raised concerns, but it can be narrowed. Men can on average have 26 pounds more skeletal  muscle than women. Smaller hearts , lungs, and  a wider pelvis means women have slower run speeds.The automatic assumption is that biology limits them. This is not true because weight training can not only build muscle, but increase bone mass. Stronger bones and muscles means carrying tank shells or performing casualty drags will not be an issue.

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Diet is also critical. Soldiers need to be fed healthy meals low in sugar and saturated fat. There are some cases in which soldiers may gain weight from a poor eating habits. Weight management programs will have to be put in place to prevent this. Obesity is a growing problem for American society and it is caused by certain life style choices. Most Americans would need some type of weight management program if they wanted to join the US military. Women also need to have a healthy diet, because the way metabolize food differs . Estrogen stores more fat and it is harder for women to lose weight. Extra body fat only acts as dead weight when carrying loads. Type II muscle fiber is has more explosive power than body fat. Women must meet the same standards as men. The US military has changed standards over the years, but this is to reflect the environment of battlefield tasks . Sit-ups, push-ups, and two mile runs may be emphasized less as compared to casualty drags or  loading 25 mm shells for guns on Bradley vehicle. Regular exercises   should not be phased out. These prevent injuries and diseases. The assumption that women cannot do this has been proven false, when the three pull-ups requirement controversy was challenged. When women stopped doing the flexed arm hang, only then was there improvement. If women were never shown how to do this correctly, it would be ludicrous to assume they could get it right the first attempt.

  Major General Mike Murray and Staff Sergeant Terry Kemp   who tested a group of women volunteers at Fort Stewart in 2014 noted that women acquired physical skills with just a month of training.  This experiment found that women utilized their core and legs more in tasks requiring strength. This small army study helps with designing a fitness program for women. Upper body exercises need to be emphasized. Doing more push-ups and pull-ups can reverse some disparity between the upper and lower body. There is a specific method for building upper arm strength for a woman. Bicep curls are effective. When beginning a training regimen always consult your doctor. When doing this start with the lowest weight and over a period of time add more.Only add more when you can easily do the current weight level over a series of weeks. Tricep kickbacks are also recommended . Bench dips can also add to upper arm strength. These are only a few of some practical solutions.

Some women are going to be stronger than others. The most athletic ones will find doing physical tasks easier. Even at that level they will still have to push themselves to their full athletic performance level. Chareece Moore for example has a military career, but her devotion to physical fitness lets allows her to perform better. Many still believe women are not capable of lifting heavy objects or grown men from a battlefield. Cahreece would have no problem doing this if there was a need for it. The NPC bodybuilder projects and demonstrates  immense strength. There is the concern that women would struggle with moving the injured in combat gear.

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If the combat gear is reduced in weight as the military promised, this can be solved too. If women self-pace managing loads they can successfully remove a fellow comrade. Besides moving people or objects physical strength is pivotal to ones safety. If ammunition runs out or weapons are lost hand to hand combat is needed. Just being strong does not make a person a great fighter; skill is the most important component. Then there is a physiological element of remaining calm in stressful situations.The average woman has less upper body strength and is slower in running speed, which means building strength and emphasizing fighting skills is critical. Women attempting to fight a man with just her bare hands would leave them at a disadvantage. Knowing self-defense techniques and martial arts can reverse some, but not all of the disparity. Hand grip strength is vast among the sexes. This is quite significant for a person in a fight considering fists are that primary part of the body used. A study of women Judo martial artists and handballers examined hand grip strength with athletic males and non-athletic males in the European Journal of Applied Physiology in 2006 . It showed that 90 percent of women scored lower than 95 percent of men. The athletic women score 75 % worse than men on the same task. The result of this may be that men have lager hands, therefore being able to exert more force. The athletic women were still stronger than non-athletic women meaning training can build some strength.

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Women can reach at least an average male’s level of strength through training, but rarely perform at top levels of athletically trained males. Here Amber Betchel  arm wrestles a man with no training. If she did not have any she would not be able to beat him.

 Women in combat will most likely be fighting other men. Knowing judo, karate, or taekwondo may help women who are smaller be able to fend off an enemy when disarmed. While strength is important to the job, mental strength has to be built up with it. Any recruit could pass the training, but may not be psychologically prepared for possible dangers. This could cause a person to be paralyzed with fear when a situation is critical. That feeling has to be controlled so that self-defense moves can be executed. Also, there needs to be a level of confidence in the performance. Just because women are smaller does not mean they are not able to inflict physical harm. There are instances in which people who were underweight or smaller could be just as good fighters. Audie Murphy at 5 7′ and 130 pounds when he enlisted in the Marines. He was rejected, but at the end of World War II he ended up with many medals for his combat service. His lower weight did not stop his combat capability.

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Christy Resendes  weighs up to 142 pounds ( 170 in the off season). As you can see it is mostly muscle and it can be assumed that she would be stronger than Audie Murphy. The diffrence is he would not be banned from combat, because he is male. Christy if she wanted to joined would be banned even if she could perform the same tasks.

Soldiers come in all different sizes. There is the common image of the large hulking male soldier that has been seen in fictional depictions and popular entertainment. Physical strength does win wars.Technology, tactics, and a lucid understanding of the enemy determines ultimate success.  If physical strength was a major factor then the United States would have won Vietnam. The average US soldier weighed more and was taller than the average Viet cong  fighter. Yet they were victorious by using guerrilla  warfare against America’s conventional strategy. It is forgotten that women fought in the Viet cong  and their sex did not hinder their objectives. They had less training and less resources compared the US soldier. What was demonstrated was a high level of mental strength. This requires a soldier to accept harsh conditions, be resilient, and continue no matter what the circumstance. The Vietnamese communist believed in their cause and were willing to sacrifice themselves for it.  The National Liberation Front wanted to see Vietnam united and free from foreign rule and influence. This type of mental strength must be developed as much as the physical.

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The assumption is that the US Army woman would automatically be the better fighter. This is not the case, because the NLF fighter may be more willing to fight to the death. A scenario in which these two fight it is clear to see the advantages. The US Amy woman has more strength, but it would only be useful if she were disarmed. The NLF fighter has more mental toughness living in a hostile environment.

Being in peak physical condition helps with certain tasks. However, there is a growing issue in regards to mental health.

         The US military has ignored the growing problem of declining mental health of soldiers and veterans. Health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder and severe brain injuries are reaching astronomical levels.  A study conducted by the military in 2014 found shocking results. Soldiers have higher rates of mental illness than do civilians.Another part of the study claimed about 14% of soldiers had contemplated suicide . Other mental disorders such as depression, intermittent explosive disorder, and addiction were common. Dependence on alcohol and other drugs became prevalent. The soldiers that decided to commit suicide would not do it overseas, but instead did it when they returned home. This has been the unseen trouble with a military career. It leaves mental scars from carnage and brutality. This has been seen though out history. During World War I soldiers suffered from “shell shock.” It was a term for soldiers who were having mental turmoil from the violence they witnessed. The United States after World War II had to invest in mental health programs to get former soldiers to adjust to civilian life. The troops that went to  fight  in the Vietnam War received very little assistance. Even worse they were blamed for what corrupt leaders in both the Democratic and Republican Party did to Vietnam. Many of the Vietnam veterans suffered from mental health issues, drug addiction, or had to deal with homelessness. The mistakes of the past should not be repeated. Outreach programs must be developed to prevent serious social consequences of a health epidemic. Troops should be given reasonable tours of duty, so they can have enough rest and be rejuvenated  when they return. Younger soldiers could be at risk more so, because it may be their first time away from home. Family and friends are a support structure that a recruit must keep in contact with. Older soldiers now how to deal with the loneliness and long periods away from loved ones. For anyone entering the US military, you must understand the difficulties and challenges. Most experiences will not be pleasant ones. Women  veterans are likely to suffer from more metal health issues. This is related to military sexual trauma, which includes rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. Women are becoming a growing section of the homeless veteran population. The solution to this is not only having outreach programs, but encourage soldiers to get help. People with mental illness may not seek help, due to the societal stigma surrounding it.There is no shame in seeking help. The US military teaches soldiers to be tough regardless of the situation.Even the strongest people need emotional support. women-marines-570x342

It has to be known that it is necessary to seek mental health assistance. Therapists must employed in higher numbers to address mental health issues. Simply discharging soldiers will not solve the problem. Traumatic brain injuries are also on the rise. Soldiers should have mandatory screenings to make sure they have not sustained concussions. This could have a link to increase in mental illness, but so far it is only speculative. The symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury include headache, dizziness, blurred vision, inability to concentrate or retain memory, fatigue, lethargy, erratic sleep patterns, constant mood swings, and a bad taste in the mouth. A severe traumatic brain injury has symptoms much more intense. These include vomiting, nausea, headaches, convulsions or seizures, confusion, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and   anisocoria. These injuries are related to harm inflicted by improvised explosive devices. The symptoms may appear soon or later depending on the level of harm inflicted. Developing methods to detect IEDs can prevent these injuries and deaths. The US military must treat mental health as important as physical health.

          Another major issue that needs to be addressed is rape. This is a criminal and health problem that plagues the US military. Women are afraid to report these cases for fear of being attacked again or having their careers terminated. This must stop for the sake of the soldiers that serve and the image of the institution. The US is already guilty of war crimes in numerous conflicts and there should not be an expansion of criminal activity. Even though there are more men in military and they also face sexual assault, women are dis proportionally victims. Unwanted sexual touching or bullying has become a common practice. The result of these attacks include mental and physical damage to the victim. The problem is that attacks are dealt with through a chain of command. Commanding officers either do not care or fear their careers will be in jeopardy. This must change, because commanders clearly do not see rape as a problem. Former Secretary of Defense Leon Penetta  formed a special victims unit and a 24 hour hotline for service members, but that has not been effective. A crime unit for sexual assault should be established in the military police and be reported there, instead of depending on commanding officers. From that process the offenders can be court-martialed  and then be tried in a civilian court as well to ensure enough punishment is given. This will require much structural change and work with advocacy groups. Women cannot wait for bureaucracy to make changes. A proactive method is for women recruits to learn self-defense before entering the service. Not only will you have to fight another army, you may have to fight people in your unit.

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There should be no fear in retaliating against an attack from a colleague.  Learning new fighting skills and using them in a hostile environment is critical. The 2013 annual report revealed that 26,000 service members experienced sexual assault. Women composed 12,100 compared to 13,900 of men. Less than half of these attacks involved alcoholic beverages. This is not just a “female problem.” Anyone entering the US military could become a victim to a criminal in their ranks. The increasing numbers could be the result of people reporting sexual misconduct and violence. This should not be a shock, seeing as rape has been an unwritten policy of the US military. Everywhere the United States has invaded there have been cases in which US service members have directed sexual violence against the population. This culture of rape needs to be dismantled through law enforcement and severe punishment.

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Never be afraid to strike at someone who is attacking you.

These types of rapes are probably acquaintance rapes. This means the assailants are someone the victim knows. There is a common myth that criminals like these appear in dark alleys waiting for victims. That is not the case. Women are not “asking” to be attacked. What a woman wears or does will not deter a violent individual. That prevalent sexist fabrication has been used to make excuses for brutish behavior. Attitudes and policies must be revised to ensure a crime free environment. The prevalence of rape may explain why one and five women experience some form of mental illness after serving in the US military.

         It should be noted that certain concerns about the menstrual cycle and pregnancy are unfounded. There is a common myth that is held that the menstrual cycle will negatively effect women’s physical  performance. The claim that women lose half of their strength has no biological or physiological basis. Women may have feelings of being tired during different phases of the cycle, but it does not mean they become weak. When examining women weightlifters it explains that there are some changes. During the luteal phase and the follicular phase knee injuries increase. The solution would be to move training regimes for legs later in the week. The luteal phase causes an increase in appetite. The metabolic  rate increases to about 11%. PMS also occurs during this phase and could accompany lack of energy and endurance. The consumption of magnesium can assist with this problem and it is found in foods with high fiber. The body uses glycogen has an energy source. The body will spare the glycogen during the luteal. This is important due to the fact that using glycogen stores it can help burn fat faster. The luteal phase causes a woman’s body temperature to increase, pain tolerance lowers, and some studies have shown that their is a level of higher cardio vascular strain. During the follicular phase pain tolerance goes back up. This does not mean women cannot do strenuous tasks; it means they will experience more pain. This does not paralyze a woman. Soldiers are used to discomfort, so this is only minor. Women’s muscles will not weaken from the menstrual   cycle.

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Physical strength is not lost during the menstrual cycle.
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Women will have to deal with some physical discomfort that men do not have to.

  Pregnancy has to be discussed. There are regulations for women soldiers serving to ensure health in regards to fertility.  It is unreasonable to ask women to fight if they are pregnant.First a woman must let her commanding officer know she is pregnant. This will result in a counseling session discussing rescheduled work duties. If the pregnancy has no complications, women can continue to work. Women must seek medical care at a military facility. If a military facility is out of reach a civilian hospital can be used. Physical training will have to be modified. Pregnant soldiers can be exempted from training or chose to do modified training. This should be done only when a physician or doctor  is consulted. Women are exempt from taking the physical fitness test 180 days after pregnancy. Abortion policy is dated. It is only allowed at a military medical facility in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger. If there is to be true gender equality in the US military, women should have the right to choose. Reproductive rights are critical to women being equal in society. The state has to right to control a woman’s body, especially the soldiers fighting for it. This could become another major health issue in the US military. The policy should be changed to prevent any further crisis. Having knowledge of the biological functions of a woman’s body can help develop specific training programs to counter arising injuries or health problems.

           These recommendations can make gender integration of the US military more effective. There could be potential failures or road blocks if they are not implemented. Mental and physical health issues will cause major financial issues for the Department of Veterans Affairs. As the US declines as an economic power, returning veterans will have very little benefits. They could face homelessness, unemployment, or be forced to resort to crime to support themselves. A revision in foreign policy can place the US in a better position. The United States was never meant to be an imperial power and should seek to avoid war. Nation building and interventions around the globe has caused serious destabilization. It also has put an unnecessary burden on the US military. While the foreign policy shift cannot happen overnight, improving the health of soldiers can.

 This would best be described as the integrative approach. That means mental and physical health maintenance will be part of the training. There also has to be an adjustment in mind set. Women need to have a paradigm shift when entering a combat position. They will have to learn to love physical activity and strength. There are women who reject strength training for fear of gaining muscle or looking “bulky.”This occupation will require some muscle. It is a necessity, when marching under load. Women struggle with this because they did not train themselves for it.   Women will also have to learn to have confidence in tasks that require physical skill. This will not be simple, because it requires deprogramming gender norm expectations. People assume woman means weak, but as it was seen with the Army Ranger School graduates it can be done. Commanders should have high expectations of their recruits regardless of sex. Having low expectations will only produce failure. This must be prevented when the first group of women trying out for front line infantry enter  this summer.  When examining problems with biology and physiology health issues among women in combat can be solved.

Further Reading

Scarborough, Rowan. “Army Colonel: Physical Strength Not the End-all, Be-all of Combat Service SIGN.” Washington Times. N.p., 12 Aug. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

Giannangeli, Marco. “British Soldiers Suffer Injuries from Too-heavy Weights.” Express. N.p., 25 July 2010. Web. 4 Apr. 2016. <http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/188986/British-soldiers-suffer-injuries-from-too-heavy-weights&gt;.

Chidress, Sarah. “FRONTLINE.” PBS. PBS, 10 May 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/why-the-military-has-a-rape-problem/&gt;.

Byrant, Jordan. “Heavy Loads Could Burden Women’s Infantry Role.”Military.com. N.p., 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. <http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/04/10/heavy-loads-could-burden-womens-infantry-role.html&gt;.

Ghose, Tia. “Women in Combat: Physical Differences May Mean Uphill Battle.” Live Science. N.p., 7 Dec. 2015. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. <http://www.livescience.com/52998-women-combat-gender-differences.html&gt;.

Bernton, Hal. “Weight of War: Gear That Protects Troops Also Injures Them.” The Seattle Times. N.p., 12 Feb. 2011. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. <http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/weight-of-war-gear-that-protects-troops-also-injures-them/&gt;.

Hoffman, Micheal. “Study Evaluates Soldier Load Weights.” N.p., 6 Aug. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2016. <http://www.defensetech.org/2012/08/16/study-evaluates-soldier-load-weights/&gt;.

Ehrlich, Robert. “Soldier’s Load and Combat Readiness.” Global Security. N.p., 6 Mar. 2009. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/call/call_01-15_ch11.htm&gt;.

Health Recommendations For Women Entering Combat

RIP Chyna

There is more lugubrious news to be reported on top of the death of Prince. Joan Laurer known as Chyna was found dead in her apartment in Redondo Beach. There has not been official announcement of the cause  of death.It has been alleged that it could have been a drug overdose or a reaction to insomnia or anxiety. Chyna was a true WWE legend wrestling men and women throughout the 1990s to early 2000s. She had in many ways broken a barrier for women in professional wrestling. She was part of a golden age of professional wrestling in which storylines were outrageous, wrestlers performed excellently, and stunts were spectacular. There was one element of Chyna that was overlooked. She presented female muscle to the mainstream in a popular entertainment format. Normally, it is believed that such a woman could not become popular . That was the opposite when wrestling fans saw Chyna in action. They enjoyed her strength, talent  and beauty. Chyna may be gone, but her impact on wrestling is eternal.

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RIP Chyna

Muscle Worship

Muscle worship describes a fetish behavior in which an individual admires a more powerful person. This is not to be confused with mixed wrestling or session wrestling, but it could be involved.The major emphasis is on massaging, touching, or feeling the strength of the stronger person. Normally the one being worshiped is a bodybuilder, fitness competitor, or wrestler. Muscle worship can involve both men, women, and people of various sexual orientations. Bodybuilder both male and female offer muscle worship sessions. These types of sessions sometimes fund the cost of competing. It is still unknown how wide spread the practice is. There seems to be more information on women who participate in sessions than men. Although there is limited data, it appears there are more people willing to worship the muscularity of a woman. For the admirer the point is to get aroused by the bodybuilder’s greater strength. Some wonder if this practice is equivalent to prostitution. Not really, due to the fact that sex rarely happens in these sessions. That does not mean however it never happens. This practice is fascinating, because it demonstrates the nature of sexual behavior.

           When attempting to understand this practice  one must ask  what is the definition of sexual fetish. Sexual fetishism can be defined as ” the erotic feelings for an object, body part or activity.” Here the definition is applied to the muscles of a woman’s body in muscle worship sessions. The women being worshiped are not objects,so the first part of the definition would not be applicable. Males tend to make up the largest amount of fetishists in existence. That does not mean women do not exhibit fetishism as well.

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 It still is a mystery why people have certain fetishes. They probably develop around the time of puberty or earlier. This is a period in which hormones do not only change the body, but change behavior. Teenage boys and girls start to have sexual interests. Sexual fetishes also focus on fantasies. This could involve some form of role play or other activity that causes arousal. Fetishes can exist on a spectrum. This means people could have some level of fetish attraction or high amounts. There is a level of sigma to the term, due to the fact people associate it with perversion or sexual predator activity. The more extreme ones are considered pathological. The truth is a majority of sexual fetishes are either harmless or to other observers comical. Sexual fetishes can involve a number activities such as high heels, toys (not the children’s type), or something more extreme like BDSM. To simplify the categories are vast. Some people have a particular type of body which they are attracted to. Muscular women would be an example. Sexual fetishism is not considered a mental disorder, but some behaviors are. Bestiality, pedophilia, and exhibitionism are severe mental disorders and criminal acts. Other fetishes are obviously not like those cases.

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Liking muscular women would not be considered a mental disorder, just a preference.

 The foot fetish for example does not attempt to induce harm to anyone. The distinction is made when a fetish falls under what is known as paraphilias. What this means is that individuals will engage in abnormal and extreme activities to attain sexual arousal. This condition becomes so obsessive individuals can hardly function. Paraphilia occurs more in men than it does women.Theories have been postulated, but still there is not definite answer. The basic definition of sexual fetish and the nature of it was developed out of studies in psychology, biology, and sexology.

        Muscle worship overlaps with other activities and fetishes. Session wrestling and mixed wrestling are different, but are related to muscle worship. They are part of a muscle worship session, but not its main feature. The participant wants to feel the woman’s muscles and admire them, rather than test their strength. Stenolagnia  is a fetish that puts emphasis on the presentation of muscular strength. The type of muscle worship session that caters to the stenolagnic, buts emphasis on presentation, rather than strength demonstration. This would mean the client would do oil rubs and massage the woman’s muscle. Clients with cartolagnia  put more emphasis on strength feats.

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This man prefers stenolagnia.
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He prefers cartolagnia.

    These strength feats involved arm wrestling, wrestling. or another fetish referred to as lift and carry. Lift and carry is another fetish that is separate from muscle worship, but also overlaps. This fetish arouses individuals who like to be lifted over the shoulder or used as a human dumbbell. Being cradled  as well is favorable. This fetish does not always require a muscular woman to do it. To a person who enjoys this any woman capable who can pick them up is preferred. It just happens that a physically fit woman is more capable. Other times some women are naturally strong. Smaller women have been seen to perform such lifts of men who are bigger than they are. There are some methods to lifting a person larger than another and it may not just be completely based on strength.

arm wrestling is the most basic. The stronger woman challenges the man in a simple contest. The client is not trying to win per se, but to feel the force of the woman’s arm and grip strength. Most of the time the client would be physically weaker than the one being worshiped, so even if maximum effort was given it would be futile. There are of course men who don’t fit the image of typical muscle worshiper. Male bodybuilders themselves do seek out women of immense strength. Many times they are most frequent participants. This really is not a surprise considering they are around and active in the bodybuilding subculture. Men from different ethnic backgrounds and classes engage in muscle worship. The age range could be from 24 to 65 for males who find this practice gratifying. The exact number of men who do this is not known. There is even less data on women who seek men for muscle worship. There are scholars who have attempted to pinpoint just how popular sexual fetishes are. Around 2004 a research team led by Claudia Scorolli  at the University of Bologna  examine hundreds of online fetish sites and published their findings. The most popular fetish were related to feet and toes. Body type or size was third most popular according to the study. Muscle worship would fall under body type. Looking at these overlaps are confusing for the layman and professional alike. What it reveals is that human sexuality and behavior is not as simple as previously thought. When examining the practice of muscle worship fantasy wrestling cannot be ignored. This can fall under session wrestling or mixed wrestling. The difference is the challenger does not attempt to win. The client wants to feel the power of every wrestling hold. This involves headscissors, bodyscissors, and camel clutches.

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12d71b9c30780582613c719bdace41be   Mixed wrestling 14   It is assumed that these practices are solely for the enjoyment of the person being dominated. The stronger woman may also enjoy overpowering a weaker subject. The female perspective seems to be ignored. Scholarship focuses on male motive, which may be evidence of certain sexist beliefs. It was believed that women had no sexual desire and were passive in passion. Only with the advance of sexology and the sexual revolution did this notion disappear. Power whether it is physical or mental is an attractive attribute to men and women. Relevant to muscle worship, this type of physical power can be irresistible.

        There are some possible reasons for why men tend to have more sexual fetishes. It could be rooted in evolution. Nature allows for different reproductive strategies.Species must survive in an environment and spread their genes by having off spring. The desire to spread genes results in different reproductive strategies. One model is the theory of male competition for females or multiple partner mating in the animal kingdom. The clues come from examination of gibbons and gorillas. Gibbons tend to be more promiscuous as a mating strategy and the sexual dimorphism in terms of size is small. Gorillas compete for access to females and are physically larger. The reason for the difference is that the males will fight. Human beings share a common genetic ancestor with apes and it is not impossible that millions of years of biological evolution still effects behavior. Paleo- anthropologists have speculated that mating  behavior of early hominins could have functioned in a similar pattern. Certain looks or attributes could be signals to potential mates of reproductive fitness. Subconsciously, the mates in the animal kingdom search for these attributes in mates. Mammals do not spend most of their time copulating. This only happens when females of a certain species are in estrus. This stage means females are ovulating and eggs can be fertilized. The human sexual cycle does not have a specific sexual receptivity  phase. It can be described to be more constant. Applying this to sexual attraction allows for a more lucid explanation. Men and women who like a particular body type could want to exchange genes with a partner  to increase the chances of better equipped offspring. This is only part of the answer. Biology does not only play a role, but sociological elements as well.

        There may be a sociological explanation into the desire and love of muscle worship. The consumption of images in popular media is powerful. There has been in recent decades an image of the strong woman presented in entertainment. Female heroines are being embraced in TV, film, and electronic media. There is a new Super Girl show and a Wonder Woman movie in development.Strength is not seen as a negative attribute in women. The rebooted version of Mad Max  featured the female protagonist more than Max himself. Even cartoons are presenting women as more than just stock characters. The Legend of Korra  did this excellently. All these images have not only an impact on adults, but most importantly children. It may change their perspectives as they reach adulthood. Being surrounded by such images could foster a love of the strong or muscular woman. Many participants who engaged in muscle worship say there was something that sparked their love of it. They either saw a magazine, read a comic, or saw on TV a muscular woman.

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This is Wonder Woman from a DC comic. Normally she is drawn to be athletic looking.

   There may be some novel fascination at first, but this could develop into attraction. It may not always develop into a big attraction, rather a small amusement. For some when this spark is ignited they begin to crave more. While popular media provides occasionally a few powerful strong women in its content, sports has more in comparison. Women are presenting much more powerful bodies in sports than in the past. The bodies of track and field athletes, weightlifters, and bodybuilders delight the lovers of female muscle. To them it is their fictionalized heroines in popular culture coming to life. Although society seems to be not entirely accepting of a physically strong woman, there is a portion that is embracing it.

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The “strong is the new skinny” zietgeist  has gained traction. Now women are involved in crossfit  and other strength sports. Although this could be just another passing fad, it has gradually changed some peoples mind about what is attractive. There are a portion of people who find a woman with some muscle ( although not to the degree of a female bodybuilder) attractive. Some newcomers to the world of fitness are just discovering this for the first time. Other who have been involved in the fitness subculture were already ahead of the mainstream. The humorous aspect of this is that some women who are involved in fitness  recently think of it as something new. Kacy Catanzaro  of Ninja Warrior fame stated “men are definitely noticing strong women.” She explains further “I’ve never had issue with a guy dating  who was intimidated because   of my strength.” Anyone familiar with bodybuilding culture knows that women in the sport have die hard fans. Schomes which is sometimes used as a pejorative, but not always describes the most loyal of the fandom. It is not entirely clear how it emerged, but most are men who just love the look of the physically strong woman. Since the late 1970s there are schmoes who have sought muscle worship and session wrestling. Men all of sudden did not discover the beauty of female muscle. The idea was subcultural and underground in small fitness circles. It is now being repackaged in a mainstream format to a wider audience. However, elements of this muscle movement for lack of a better term, still remain subcultural. Female bodybuilding has never gained mainstream acceptance, because of negative stereotypes and prejudice. The sport of bodybuilding  was never really meant to be mainstream . The extremely muscular woman is then marginalized. If a woman has an “acceptable” amount of muscle then there is no ostracism. This will gradually be discarded , because women coming in sports are not longer bound by societal expectations of femininity in competition.

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7b550376097cde34_452485578.xxxlarge_2x   Women have learned to define femininity for themselves. The major change is that it can be compatible with strength. Muscle worship from this sociological perspective can emerge from material culture. The consumption of media and have strong women present could make it possible. Biology does play a role in sexual attraction, but environment is also critical.

         There has been focus on the clients who participate in muscle worship, but limited focus on the women who are being worshiped.Their thoughts and motivations are  just as important to understanding muscle worship. The first seems to be a common explanation of financial incentive. The sport of female bodybuilding and other strength sports do not pay the women well. It is not just female bodybuilders who do muscle worship, but fitness and physique competitors as well. Those two divisions have grown more in terms of popularity, but are still underfunded. Muscle worship covers some of the cost of competing for athletes. The women basically have to become their own business and navigate a sports world generally hostile to them. This does not explain why some women also choose to do muscle worship for other reasons. There are women who enjoy the feeling of power and being in control. The woman in the case of muscle worship due to her immense strength is able to assert physical dominance.This is something women will rarely experience in their life times. At this stage there is a state of intense jubilation that women experience. While many observe that the muscle worshiper is there for a sexual thrill, it may go beyond  that instinct. The client wants to show respect and reverence for the woman’s power. Often the term goddess is used to describe the women. This means the one admiring submits psychologically to their power. The woman being worshiped could also like the attention. Rarely do women involved in bodybuilding get this much adoration and respect. They do not even get it inside their own fitness circles.

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This is a private space in which men and women can explore areas outside traditional gender roles. Women can be physically powerful, but not seen as undesirable. Men can still be seen as  normal for liking this type of woman. Women who do muscle worship could also experience sexual thrill from the activity. Women do have a sexuality and for a longtime society sought to suppress it. Women are often viewed as passive receptors in terms of sexual behavior. This is not true, because they have erotic thoughts and urges just like men. Men’s drive may appear to be higher due to cultural mores and endocrinology. Testosterone has been known to be pivotal for both men and women in sexual function. Men produce higher amounts, which does influence sexual behavior. Other women who do muscle worship may just like the idea they can challenge men physically. Muscle worship can involve mixed wrestling, arm wrestling, lift and carry or other forms of physical activity.

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Being dedicated athletes the idea of a new experience and challenge is a thrill. Co-ed sports competition  or play is rare due to differences in physiology. This provides an opportunity for women to experience it, at least in wrestling. Here anatomical and physiological differences are not effecting anything, due to the fact most men who participate are not athletes themselves. Women would have the greater physical advantage. The objective is not to win in a fantasy wrestling match, but to experience the strong woman’s full power.This can be gratifying to women who do muscle worship. The only way this practice and be fully understood is when there is complete examination of the women who do it.

           There is a habit to confuse muscle worship with femdom. This refers to a type of  bondage, dominance, submission, and sadomasochism (BDSM).While there could be an element of female dominance in muscle worship it is not exactly  the same. Bondage involves chains, whips, or physical restraints. It is rare that women use these items for muscle worship. Submission requires another to bow to the other’s power. This could be part of muscle worship, but not always. When wrestling is offered in a muscle worship session it can be competitive or semi-competitive. The only element that comes close is fantasy wrestling. Sadomasochism is also different. The goal of that practice is to gain pleasure out of pain or humiliation. A client who is in a muscle worship session may not be seeking harm. Some sessions do not involve wrestling at all, but allows the client to simply rub and oil the woman’s muscle. The point of wrestling the woman is not to inflict maximum damage, but see her total force of her physical strength. Clients are allowed to tap out if it gets too intense and the women are mindful not to harm them. The sadomasochist wants to have pain inflicted as the ultimate objective. Although strange to some observers, sadomasochism is not considered a clinical paraphilia. More extreme cases would fall under sexual sadism disorder. There are times when the lines and denotations are ambiguous when explaining muscle worship and female dominance.

         The root of this muscle worship fetish is due to the fact that the muscular woman is fascinating to supporters. They combined beauty and strength, which was thought to be incompatible. They are a unique group of women, because women this strong are not common. This aesthetic even though criticized  does accentuate the traditional beauty  mark areas of a woman’s body ( legs and posterior). Women who are involved in the sport do say  they feel better about their appearance and feel more desirable.

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09df0eb1558955dc7cbc2b5f2c2d5254    Then the fitness industry does encourage a level of fetish. Many advertisements, magazines, and other entertainment use sex as way to sell products. When looking at photographs in magazines or websites its would be hard not to develop a love a  fetish. Fans are not solely driven by a fetish, but a love a particular sport. They were either introduced to it by friends, a media outlet, or some other way. What started as a simple fascination develops further. The fan does become interested in a particular athlete and if she offers muscle worship they may participate. This is not a disorder unless it stops a person from functioning. The individual will not stop liking different types of women.Clients normally have an eclectic mix of attributes they consider attractive in a woman. What muscle worship reveals is that human desire can be induced by a multitude of factors.

         Muscle worship is still a mystery. While there are some speculative reasons for its origins and practice, there is no concrete proof. Other fetishes seem to be more prevalent like foot fetishes, leather, or BDSM. There are fetishes that are disorders and would be considered clinical paraphilias. The reason there is a level of stigma is due to ignorance and myths that are repeated. Nor all fetishes are harmful or evidence of a mental disorder . Muscle worship is not considered a parahilia  or referenced in the DSM. It is difficult to get an exact number of participants globally, but it does have a far reach. Both men and women from Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania have done this. The academic fields of  psychology and  psychiatry are attempting to understand human sexual practice. They are behind in a sense, because study has not been done seriously up until recently. People are still uncomfortable discussing sexual behavior. Many parents refuse to let there children learn about sex education in school. Human sexuality is something that should not be feared. It is a part of biology and examining it can help comprehend human function and behavior.

Further Reading

Abrahams, Marc. “Sexual Fetish Research Shows There Are Few Limits to Erotic Desire.” The Guardian. N.p., 14 July 2015. Web. 4 Apr. 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jul/14/sexual-fetish-research-erotic-desire-body&gt;.

Weiss LCSW, R. (2012). What’s In A Fetish? Maybe Not What You Think. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 7, 2016, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex/2012/08/what-is-a-fetish/

Muscle Worship