I was five years into my fitness journey when I first began experiencing the below-listed negative behaviors and comments from random women. At the time, I was personally offended. It was new to me, and I was taken aback by the potency of what felt like anger, hatred, or frustration emitting from the eyes and mouths of these women. Their comments sometimes caused me to scrutinized my body. But, as the years passed and I continued to get more fit and be more in love with fitness, I stopped caring about reactions of others. So, negative behaviors and comments kept coming, from co-workers, random women, and even family members. Then, I noticed a pattern. A predictable pattern. I wasn’t the problem, they were. And if you’re a fit woman reading this, you can expect to experience the same negative patterns of behavior from other women — women who are disgruntled by your personal success. I call these women “standard-issue females.” And I call the negative comments they make “regurgitations” because they simply can’t control the rude, involuntary eruptions from their mouths when they see you; a woman who has mastered what they have not: her body, her fitness, her health.
They hate others for what they have. They pour energy into complaining about others and/or their bodies, while putting no energy into taking steps to resolve the insecurities that drive them to negativity. Women who take charge and conquer challenges, in this case, fit women, are their arch enemy. Below are some of the standard things these standard-issue women say and do when in the presence of their enemy.
Non-Verbal Negative Actions
- Hard stares: AKA, the evil eye in your direction
- Modeling: Yeah, women model for each other. Weird, but reality. Women who have a particular obsession with the superficial and fancy themselves as hot, sexy, choose your label, always feel the need to declare their place as the beauty queen of every space she is in. They do this by walking in front of you often; when there’s plenty of room for them to walk behind you, away from you, anywhere. They’re also always curiously within your line of sight. This is how you know that they’re modeling for you — a silent challenge. These women are usually what I call “mantelpieces”; girls with pretty faces, but otherwise standard-issue. Their pretty faces may get the adoration of many men, and as a result, they believe that every inch of their bodies are perfect. When she sees a woman who has worked for her physique, she is threatened; often because she lacks the discipline to build her own physique. And being so accustomed to being the most beautiful creature in every room, she does all that she knows how to do in an attempt to remain queen of her immediate space: she gets in your way to make sure you can see just how magnificently beautiful she is—at least in her mind. A perk of being a woman with a hard-earned physique, is we’re not easily made jealous. We know what we have is miles out of reach of most, and a mere pretty face cannot compete.
- Attempted physical competition: Usually, it’s a fitness newbie with an inflated sense of their own physical abilities who falls into this type of behavior, and it’s always an epic failure when chanced against an experienced athlete. This usually happens at a gym. Here’s the scene: a woman who has been exercising for a month or so believes she is strong and tough. She likely walks around with graphic tees that say something about working out like: “I ♡ dumbbells” or “Little Tough Guy.” You know that type. She believes she’s super fit because she’s managed to workout for more than one month. But, more than likely, in order to make any real progress, her boyfriend has to babysit her at the weight rack and hold her hand through easy exercises like bicep curls. Or, because of her lack of self-motivation and self-discipline, she requires the motivation and reassurance of group exercise, and in order to show up and workout, is enrolled in one of the plethora of group exercise programs that exist today (CrossFit, boot camps). With her inflated ego, she thinks she can go head-to-head with an experienced female athlete. She’ll try to mimic the same exercises at the same intensity. But this goes bad for her from the onset when she discovers, after embarrassing failure, that she can’t do even one rep and lacks the proper form and/or conditioning to perform exercises at the level of a seasoned athlete. This insecure creature clearly doesn’t know (or appreciate) that it takes time and dedication to achieve a certain level of strength/fitness/conditioning to master a given physical skill. A more experienced person wouldn’t follow someone else’s routine on a whim. They know the logic of individualized training based on fitness level, experience, and goals.
- The Lost Puppy: This is the woman who follows you around the gym with lost puppy dog eyes. While this is not offensive or rude like previous non-verbal actions I’ve described, it’s annoying as hell. With her wide eyes and constant dawdling around you at the gym, she’s screaming “help me, help me. I want to be like you.” These women are annoying simply because they are lost in the first place. I mean, take a moment to read a book or something before signing up a the gym. The key to success isn’t following random people around and hoping they are willing to stop what they’re doing to rescue them. I have helped one or two of these women/girls in the past. But, their strategies to reach fitness goals: following random people they want to look like around the gym and joining a gym with no game plan, should have told me that they weren’t going to stick to anything I took the time to show them. Additionally, these irritating interlopers, often eventually have wishy-washy fits of negative regurgitations like the rest. They are best left to roam aimlessly around the gym than bring negativity into your gym time.
- Revel in the fantasy that we’re all stupid: Our bodies are our only real possession in life. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer to take care of it. However, when you manage to be of that class of people who actually achieve good health and fitness and keep it up, you often become a source of hatred, particularly among women. One of the things these women do in rebellion is act as if you’re stupid. Come on, we all know people love acting like fit people are stupid. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a woman so eager to see this belief fulfilled that she refused to fully listen to things I say. Instead cut me off; either assuming she knows what I was going to say and that it was inept, or that I needed my statement completed by her in order to be correct. Another thing they like to do is state the obvious when speaking to you, or over explain something, hoping to present themselves as the “smart one.” Unlike those who see the achievement of health and fitness as an impossibility or a time-consuming burden, women who manage to maintain good health for years know how to keep a balance. It’s all about education. Oops, did I say education? Yes, I did. Us fit girls are smart after all. Anyone of intelligence should prioritize health and fitness. If you ask me, those who don’t, are themselves stupid.
- Downplay your hard work (minimizing): Here’s a typical sentence, “I know [insert name of random person] who has more muscle, is leaner, etc than you.” Or, extra rude, “I like [insert name of random person] abs/body/etc better than yours.” This is as pointless as saying, “I saw a beautiful model on TV, so I might as well stop washing my face, wearing makeup or bothering improving my appearance because I’ll never be as pretty as her.” Idiot logic. Pointless. The kind of woman who makes such statements is simply attempting to undercut or minimize your physical achievements. This person has clearly never had a solid relationship with health and fitness. This is the kind of statement of a person who thinks exercise is merely a tool used to attain a certain appearance. Newbie. It’s a reality that everyone has their own unique shape. The attractiveness of one body over another is subjective, making the above introductory comment altogether a simple, frivolous regurgitation from an insecure individual.
- Fit body shame: “Ewww, women with muscle look disgusting.” The woman who says this doesn’t really believe what she’s saying. She’s simply unaccustomed to seeing a woman in superior shape. It’s a shock to her ego and blows her insecurities wide open. She lacks the discipline to lose a few extra pounds, let alone obtain a lean mean muscular physique—such is why she regurgitates this negative statement.
- Seek to find fault: This is when a woman’s roving eye scans your entire body, seeking fault; some blemish or imperfection that will put you among the ranks of average women. She’ll pick a specific area or areas of your body and not hesitate to tell you how unattractive she thinks it is—as if you asked her opinion. This is just an effort to make you feel insecure—because she’s insecure around you. These women seem to think that all fit women are arrogant and vain and need to be knocked off their pedestals. They’re wrong. We know we’re not perfect. We just work to be more than average.
- Random outbursts of laughter in your presence: A classic tactic used by jealous, insecure women—and children, in an attempt to make the receiver feel insecure. This tactic is weak and petty, yet it’s wielded by women of all ages.
We’ve reached the end, and I’m sure I’ve left some things out. The question now is: why are so many women so negative toward each other? Isn’t this the age of women’s equality, female superheroes on big screens, female CEOs, and women running for President (Hillary isn’t the first)? The answer is insecurity. Even in an era of women shouting “girl power” and equality to men, obtaining a fit, lean physique and maintaining an ideal weight is still a struggle for many women. Instead of supporting a woman who has overcome these problems and seeking to learn from her, it’s the impulse, and perhaps instinct, of other women to find some mode to belittle her and her accomplishments. Such catty behavior makes me wonder how much girl power can be mustered or how stable a unity women can attain among one another.
Regardless of being dead center in the information age, and knowledge about fat loss and fitness being easily obtainable, many women still struggle to control their bodies. They turn to celebrities (shiny, attention-grabbing objects), magazines, and quick-fix articles in product-driven online sites for guidance, instead of turning to more logical sources: professional trainers, coaches, fitness institutions, and books written by them.
So, if you’re a fit woman reading this, be proud that you’re a rare specimen. You have the discipline and know-how. You have something that most women don’t, and likely won’t. If they give you hard stares and say negative, undercutting things to you, just know that all “standard-issue” women use the same standard-issue tactics in an attempt to assuage their insecurities around you. Their tactics will never stop me from hitting the gym, and they shouldn’t stop you either.
Have something to add to the list above? Contact me.