Lifting Like You Mean It

Today I have a guest post from Brandon Morrison of We’re exchanging posts — I recently wrote about how lifting big and eating big isn’t just for the guys on his blog.  Here he shares his take on women who lift like they mean it – even if it means they don’t look like a waify little lady “should.” 

I, for one, wouldn’t trade my substantial quads and glutes for skinny legs, especially if it meant I lost even a pound on the weight I can lift. I mean to squat 200 pounds this week, and I am thrilled to have the kind of strong, muscular legs and backside that will power me through it.  So amen to Brandon!

Even amidst the overwhelming feeling in our culture that women should be weak, frail and subservient, there is a counterculture that is attempting to tell women the opposite. With slogans like “strong is the new skinny” and other empowering taglines, some women appear to have embraced this philosophy of self-empowerment.

Or so it would seem.

As a trainer, I hear and see these slogans all the time. My own personal favorite is my own creation: “Squats do a booty good”. The problem that I see is not in the slogans themselves, but in people’s reaction to them. At first women seem to jump all over the phrases and plaster it on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. But as soon as any real muscle starts to appear, the old way of thinking forced upon them by society, seems to take hold again. Whether it is fear that men won’t appreciate the new curves or be intimidated by new muscle growth, I cannot say. I can, however, offer an example to challenge that belief. Take a look at the following photo:

This photo has been on my fan page for less than 3 weeks. Since I posted it, it has received 393 “likes”, 118 comments, and has been shared 131 times. The commenters were equally men & women, all of whom expressed deep appreciation for this woman’s body type. This clearly shows that men appreciate the increased muscle mass that appears when a women lifts weights. I can’t speak for the crowd of men who wear skinny jeans and long v-necks, but I wouldn’t consider them real men anyway.

A real man is someone who wants to his wife or girlfriend become as strong and as empowered as she can be. A real man wants her to get off the elliptical where she is wasting away, and instead start squatting with 1.5x her bodyweight on the bar. He doesn’t want her to have that “skinny-fat” butt that plagues society; instead he wants her to have a butt that fills out her jeans perfectly. A nice pair of hamstrings to go along with that wouldn’t hurt either.

Who would you rather be?

As a married man, I love that my wife can squat and deadlift over 1.5x her bodyweight. She hasn’t become any less of a woman, I just love that she has become so strong. I think I speak for a great deal of grown men who would rather be with a confident woman than someone who is always worried if she looks too big. Unless you are supplementing with synthetic testosterone, you will never have to worry about looking like a man.

Ladies, this is a call to arms for all of you. It’s up to you to step off the treadmills and put down the 5lb dumbbells. The time has come to become empowered and leave the most sexist area of the gym that is designed to keep you weak: the cardio section. It’s time to pick up a barbell, build a beautiful set of shoulders and a big sexy ass. That’s what a real man wants, and deep down, that’s what you want too even though Cosmo tries to convince you otherwise.

The time has come to walk the walk and start lifting like you mean it. Now go set a PR!

Brandon Morrison is a Crossfit coach at O.G.E.R. Crossfit, a fitness coach at Seattle University, and is the founder of He has made it one of his life’s goals to help empower men & women through weightlifting and breaking the social constraints that have been put on them. He is currently pursuing a degree in Sports & Exercise Science at Seattle University.

Visit his site at:

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