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May 31, 2016

“You’re HUGE and scary!”: Thoughts on Women with Muscle

This piece should really be called, Call Me Anything and I’m Fine With It.

Because it’s really about how to own your “look” and actually like it. When you do, anyone can say anything and it rolls right off. Certainly that was not always like that for me (far from it!), but I recently had a lightbulb moment where I got to discover that man, it feels good to be a gangster.

I spent the past week in Austin, TX where I was hosting a 2-day JillFit Business Mastermind with my Best of You women and speaking on #moderation365 at the Paleo f(x) conference.

It was a whirlwind, but I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to spend time with likeminded women who want to elevate in all areas of their lives.

Chances are you’re also like that—you have a desire to grow, change, learn, ask tough questions, get out of your comfort zone and ultimately get better.

And, if you’re like me and my homies, you also like to pick up heavy shit and put it down. Lifting is the best!

I had a few funny (yet insightful!) scenarios come up in Austin related to lifting, and I want to share them here with you:

On Friday night, I met up with Jen Sinkler for the Speakers’ Dinner for Paleo f(x). But before the dinner, Jen had a nail emergency (as one does), so we headed out for a quick polish change.

Jen and I were joking around with the aesthetician about something, when she says out of the blue, “I’m scared of both of you! YOU’RE HUGE!”

Now, she meant is as a compliment. Like, we’re buff. We’re fit. We’re strong.

And the best part of the whole situation was that at the exact same time and without hesitation, both Jen and I answer, “Thank you!!”

Not one second of doubt, insecurity, or feeling like we were somehow being insulted.

Never crossed our minds.


It hit me that maybe even as recent as a couple years ago, I might have been really upset by the comment (even if I intellectually knew she meant it kindly). I’d wonder, “Gosh, does that mean I’m fat?? Maybe I really am scaring people with how bulky I am?! Should I tone it down?? Maybe I should try to lose some of this muscle. I don’t want to be seen as huge and scary.”

The truth is, I don’t think I am huge, objectively. Nor do I think I’m all that scary. But I also don’t mind being called it.

I’ve been called everything from enormous to emaciated (and I looked the exact same, ha!). And I’m 99% sure I could be called small, big, skinny, overweight, scary, weak, buff, butch, skeletal, enormous, ANYTHING, and I’d actually be fine with it.


Because I like the way I look.

And when I get comments on social media (or even in real life, ha!) about my looks, I literally just write, “Thank you for the feedback, but I like how I look.”

It’s the truth. And it’s actually just a choice.

I am not the leanest I’ve ever been, but in all ways, I like myself a thousand times more now. If happiness with your body (and yourself) is all about needing to be lean, then how can that make sense? It doesn’t. Which just confirms what we already know:

Liking yourself is actually just one choice away.

And HOLY! That is a huge realization and win!

Definitely was not always the case. In fact, even at my leanest, 10% body fat, I didn’t think it was good enough. I never, ever felt like I liked the way I looked. There was always something that needed work.

So realizing that I can appreciate being called “huge” and “enormous” and not flinch was a magical moment.

Something similar happened again on Sunday (must be in the water in Austin!), when my friend Tara and I were walking down Rainey Street—which I refer to as Frat Row. Lots of bars, lots of college kids and lots of drinking.

Tara (who also lifts and has muscle on her frame) and I passed a group of intoxicated younger guys and while I am sure they just wanted to get our attention, they did it by yelling, “Whoa, watch out, these girls could kick our ass!!” Looooololol.

I don’t know that lifting weights equates to being good at fighting, but again, I took it as a compliment. Could I kick their ass?? Probably. Lmao!


I don’t make it mean I am somehow not feminine, or “too much” or “too big” or “too buff.” It makes me feel proud. Again, was not always the case, so I just loved this whole experience.

Walking around in a dress that shows off my hard work in the gym makes me feel gratified. I feel like a walking billboard for my belief system. And that feels really good.

It’s actually okay to like the way you look and not need to consider the opinions of others. It’s okay to not worry about how you’re perceived. Who cares? If you like you, then bye!

And it’s okay to have muscle.

It’s okay to showcase the body you’ve worked hard for.

It’s okay to be buff AF.

Personally, I think muscle is extremely sexy. It’s subtly sexy. It’s effortlessly powerful. It’s alluring.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and aesthetics are individual. I certainly think muscle on a woman is an acquired taste. But I love it.

And chances are if you’re here, you appreciate it too.

And I appreciate THAT about YOU!


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