“Getting your lady to train”

Posted on January 14, 2013

12


She clearly needs to bench press more.

She clearly isn’t bench pressing enough.

So I’m on facebook, stalking a hot girl (this is really my only use for facebook), and I come across this article 3 Steps to Getting Your Lady to Train.

Upon seeing this I’m immediately giddy with excitement because 1) T-Nation provides endless entertainment and 2) I’m assuming this is going to be written by a man. The second of which is important because it seems to be a prerequisite for males in the fitness industry to have a history of being awful with women.

Over and over again the way men in the fitness industry talk about themselves it’s like they couldn’t get laid in a brothel. It reminds me of the movie Funny People:

Adam Sandler’s character:  “Is your act just designed to make sure no girl will ever sleep with you again? All you fucking talk about is jacking off and farting. You think a girl’s going to come up to you afterward and be like “Oh, would you just jack off for me and then fart in my face?” That’s fucking insane. Do you want to get laid, ever?”

Much to my surprise though, the article is written by a woman. Therefore, my expectations were immediately risen…only for me to be quite disappointed.

When referencing things a guy should do to help get his girlfriend / wife / significant other start working out,

“Buy her a gym membership, a new gym bag, or a gift certificate for some workout clothes. It’s part of the investment; investment enhances commitment.”

I feel really bad for all the poor schmucks who follow this advice. They aren’t going to be having sex any time soon and or their balls are about to be cut off.

In almost all circumstances, getting a gym membership for your significant other is a terrible, terrible idea. I can’t remember where I saw it, but this is right up there with a girl getting her man a football jersey with HER last name on it.

This isn’t mentioned in the article, but I hope to god the impetus for buying a membership is the woman has mentioned something in the vicinity of getting into shape. If you’re just buying a membership because you want your girlfriend to be in better shape you might as well break up now. You don’t go into a relationship hoping the other person will eventually get into better shape. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you go into a relationship where the other person is already in the shape you desire.

For discussion, let’s assume the woman has brought it up:

Yes, I realize your girlfriend may have told you she wants to get in better shape and is thinking about joining a gym, but I also realize she told you “I don’t care about Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to get me anything.”

That, of course, does not mean you don’t buy her anything for Valentine’s Day.  You do that and think you’re “listening” to her, but she’s thinking “Wow, he doesn’t even love me!”

I can’t believe I ever made the Valentine’s Day mistake. Seriously, it’s seven years later and the girl still holds it over me. Don’t any of you go judging; I was a 19 year old male. I was only a few years into understanding how my own penis worked, never mind the female brain.

So, you buy her a gym membership and think you’re a good listener, while she goes “My boyfriend thinks I’m fat.” The whole time she’s bringing up not feeling in shape, etc. she very well could have just been looking for you to say, “You’re beautiful. I love you the way you are.” Meanwhile by buying her a gym bag you just confirmed one of her biggest insecurities. Good job, dick.

(Imagine how many gym memberships would be sold if every time a girl went “I feel fat” a guy went and bought one?)

This is often a proxy for something called “fishing for compliments,” and don’t act like you’ve never done it. I know I do it all the time.

Me “I feel so short today.”

Kate Hudson (my girlfriend) “No, no, you’re the perfect height.”

Me [In my head] “Whew.”

Next,

“Go with her to the gym and lift together, or suggest ways to find a lifting partner. This is important especially in the beginning when she doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

The author saves herself by saying “or suggest ways to find a lifting partner,” because one of the biggest things I’ve learned over the years is spouses working out together works Once out of Don’t Bother. It’s to the point I don’t allow it anymore, and absolutely never recommend it.

A few reasons why:

  • Most people are horrendous at teaching others how to workout

There is a reason personal training is its own profession.

  • Most guys just end up getting frustrated with their girlfriend

Some guys have been in the gym for years, and they’re all of a sudden trying to teach someone who has never been in a gym or lifted a weight. They simply can’t understand what’s going through the woman’s mind. Although, I suppose you could make an argument that’s the usual.

  • Who is this guy to teach anyone anyways?

There is a lot I disagree with in this article; the most pressing thing is the author makes a (massive) assumption this theoretical girl’s boyfriend / husband / significant other actually knows what he’s doing. Considering this is an article directed at men who regularly read T-Nation, I can unequivocally say this is a false assumption. (BOOM! Roasted.) This is ironic since the author also makes the assumption the woman in this instance knows nothing.

  • The guy inevitably has the girl do his workout, or the exercises he does, instead of what’s best for her

This is one of the biggest issues with people and health / fitness and it certainly extends to personal trainers: They think everyone should do what they do. You do CrossFit? Then the whole fucking world should do CrossFit. You’re a powerlifter? Everyone should bench, squat and deadlift. You lift weights? Then anyone who only does yoga is clearly a pussy.

I can give you a better example. Let’s look at the small bio of the author of this article:

“Joy Victoria is a strength & conditioning coach at St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, VT. Besides training her athletes she is a competitive powerlifter, and most recently won her division in the USAPL Massachusetts State Powerlifting Championship of 2012.”

So, Joy is a powerlifter, and trains athletes. It’s no coincidence the majority of the exercises in her proposed programs are:

-Bench Press, Deadlift, Squat (the powerlifts)

-Chin-up

-Push-up

This completely ignores the fact barely any women can do push-ups or chin-ups. Never mind a girl who has never trained! (Further indicating the bias towards athletes, the few women who can regularly do these exercises.)

Joy uses the word “big” to describe exercises 6 times in the article. “Big” -another powerlifting / athletic bias- is not a word you want to use with your typical female trainee. Just think about this scenario:

New female trainee “I want to tone up. I really don’t want to get big or bulky” <- This is the FIRST thing nearly every woman will say to you. I have women in their 70s who have said this to me.

Me “Ok, no problem. We’ll just focus on a bunch of big compound exercises. These big lifts will be great. They’ll really help you go through some big movements.”

New female trainee [thinking] “He doesn’t get what I want.”

I realize I’m being extreme here, but it’s only to illustrate Joy’s bias in how to train people. Joy is approaching all new women as if they should want to get much stronger and grow muscle. Or all men want their girlfriend to get stronger and grow muscle. It’s just not true.

In general, I’m pretty tired of hearing women HAVE to lift weights. You always hear this sentiment from people who make a living teaching people how to lift weights -they lift weights so everyone should lift weights. It’s as if women cannot be attractive if they don’t deadlift with their eyes bleeding.

Because women who only do yoga are so repugnant.

Jennifer aniston body yoga

Hideous.

jennifer aniston workout

Just gross. Sooooo unhealthy looking.

There’s only one person I know who has ever called Jennifer Aniston unattractive, and I’m still waiting for him to come out of the closet. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” (Only Seinfeld fans will understand why that’s in quotes.)

I can tell you my last girlfriend, who is quite tiny at maybe 125 pounds, couldn’t do a push-up even if I put a pound of chocolate in front of her, and she looooooves her sweets. But, she has an oh so pretty face, a waist so small I could practically wrap my hands around it, and about 110 pounds of her is stored in her butt. (Yes, I know, you have many other qualities as well.)

In other words, I still run into her on a frequent basis and it hurts, viscerally, to look at her. Like my pupils dilate so much you’d think my eye color was black.

I just outlined a few of the biggest qualities men look for in women (looks wise) i.e. lean, small waist relative to hips, symmetrical face, etc. I don’t, nor do most men, care whether a woman can squat their bodyweight. Nor does this ability insure looking like I just outlined.

And you know what? Women already know this! They know full-well what men like.

There is a reason the first thing women say to me is “I don’t want to get bulky,” because I’m sorry, me and most men really don’t look for women who can throw us over their shoulders.

Evolution knows this too. There is a reason women lost fat from there hips last.

Do women focus too much on weights potentially making them bulky? Yes. I wrote a whole thing about that.  It’s not like I’m against women getting strong:

But this whole notion women HAVE to lift weights, particularly they need to “go heavy” in order for them to see results, is ridiculous.

Back to motivation,

“Do it for me.” Reminders of how much you love her attitude when she looks and feels good, how hot her body can be, and a bit of a “do it for me” strategy can work wonders.”

There is a fine line between being an ass to a girl and being an asshole. Being an ass is a great way to build tension, have fun, etc. Being an asshole is a great way to get slapped in the face.

These methods of motivation are going to make the girl put you in the asshole category. You know how I know? It’s not just because I’ve been slapped more than once; it’s because I emailed this article to multiple female friends and asked for their input.

Without a doubt, the section on motivation is what rubbed them the wrong way most.

Responses from them include,

“This is risky. I hate the “Do it for him” part. She should be doing this for herself!

Another girl,

“I don’t like their whole “motivation” bullshit points. At all. I read it and was offended…Telling men they should suggest the gym to their girlfriend or wife is not a good idea. The majority of men aren’t going to be able to pull that off without a huge fight.”

Another,

“I honestly laughed at the whole “how to approach.” I don’t see a woman wanting to do this unless they have the drive to do it. If I was approached this way I would 1) Be offended, 2) Become self-conscious, and 3) Laugh in his face.

And another,

“That guy is a sexist asshole. He makes girls out to be helpless puppies. If someone is going to get in shape, they’re going to have to motivate themselves…They can’t be persuaded by new clothes or a gym bag…He’s making girls out to be a doll that you can play around with and train to become your dream Barbie doll, which isn’t right.”

The last one is particularly noteworthy because she didn’t realize it was a female author. (I’m not sure all the other girls did either. It’s pretty common to read an article and then maybe look into the author.) It brings up a good point, how would you view this article if you thought a man wrote it? I bet the backlash would be even greater.

Or forget that. If these women are getting this offended from a random author how do you think they’re going to feel if their actual boyfriend says this to them???

I wrote about motivation in Why you’re still having issues with your weightand talked a lot about the “This has to be for you” aspect. Without rehashing all of that, all I’ll say here is this: Say your boyfriend / husband successfully motivates you; you end up getting in better shape; you’re doing a lot of things for him…What do you do if that relationship goes sour? Your biggest motivator just disappeared. It’s the equivalent of X amount of day diets. What do you do when the timeline is over? (The answer for most people is go right back to all their bad habits, if not worse.)

Finishing up: I always hate when people criticize a method but don’t offer a different solution. I’m not going to do that here, but I will do it in the future. For now, at the least, understand some of the ways to NOT go.

If you don’t believe me, believe all the women quoted above.

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