I was five years into my fitness journey when I first experienced the below listed negative behaviors and comments from other women. At the time, I was personally offended. I even second guessed myself and scrutinized my body. But, as the years passed, and I continued to get more fit and gain more muscle, I stopped caring about the reactions of others. Negative behaviors and comments kept coming; from co-workers, random women, and even family members. I soon realized that there was a pattern. A predictable pattern, that if you’re a fit woman reading this, you can expect to receive from other women — women who are disgruntled by your personal success. I call these women, “standard-issue females.” They hate others for what they have. They pour energy into hate and complaining about their situation, and put 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 in your direction: We know this as the evil eye
- Modeling: Yeah, women who believe they can compete with you will model for you. 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. You may notice them within your line of sight all the time. That’s how you know they’re modeling for you — a silent challenge. These women are usually “mantelpieces”, my way of saying girls with pretty faces, but nobody (a skinny or average build) and a short shelf life. Their pretty faces may get the adoration of many men, and as a result, these women believe that every inch of their bodies are perfect. They believe, falsely, that they can compete with women who have superb physiques as a result of hard work. Well, they’re wrong.
- 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 fail 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 feels pretty tough and hardcore; walking 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. And 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 like CrossFit and boot camps to show up and workout. With her inflated ego, she thinks she can go head to head with a woman who has worked out for years (in my case, 15 years). 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 an 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. She clearly doesn’t know (or appreciate) that it takes time and dedication to achieve a certain level of strength/fitness/conditioning to master certain physical skills. A more experienced person wouldn’t follow someone else’s routine on a whim. They know that individualized training based on their specific fitness level, experience, and goals is superior.
- 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 accomplish this, 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 refuses to listen to things I say, and instead cuts me off; either assuming she knows what I was going to say 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 do so are themselves lacking in intelligence.
- Downplaying your hard work (minimizing): “I know [insert name of random friend] who has more muscle, is leaner etc.” As pointless as saying, “I saw a model on TV with a beautiful face. I might as well not look in the mirror anymore. Maybe I should stop washing my face while I’m at it, cause my face isn’t as good as hers.” That’s the kind of all or nothing logic a woman like this is using. This is an attempt to undercut or minimize all the work you’ve put into your physique and your level of fitness. Someone making this comment has clearly never had a solid relationship with fitness. Else, they’d know that it’s not all about looks. There’s a myriad of benefits to good nutrition and exercise. A nice physique is only one of them. Aside from that, everyone has their own unique shape. The attractiveness of one body over another is subjective, making the above comment frivolous.
- Fit body-shaming: “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 such 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. My response to the comment above, see the images below:
- Finding fault: This is when a woman’s roving eye scans your entire body, seeking fault. 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.
- Random outbursts of laughter in your presence: A classic tactic used by jealous, insecure women 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 towards each other? Isn’t this the age of women’s equality, female superheroes on big screens, female CEOs, and women running for President (Hilary isn’t the first)? The answer is insecurity. Even in this age with women shouting for equality to men and girl power, obtaining a fit, lean physique and maintaining an ideal weight is still a struggle for most women. Instead of supporting a woman who has overcome these problems and seeking to learn from her, it’s the impulse, and perhaps instinct for other women to find some mode to belittle her and her hard work. And 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, magazines, and quick fix articles in product-driven online sites for guidance, instead of turning to a more logical source; 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 mitigate 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.