I Am a Woman And I Have Muscles. Deal With It!

By Protima Tiwary

2011 seems like a different life altogether. On 2 days of the week, my dinner was made up of pizza and whiskey. I ate my feelings. I was in a strange town, with strange people, living strange experiences. Fitness was never a part of my to-do list. And why would it be?

I had a plethora of things taking priority – from getting to work on time after cooking early in the morning to finding the cheapest means of living. I needed to save, I needed to socialise, make new friends, I needed to do well at my job, catch up on sleep – there was always something to do. Who had time for fitness?

Things started changing in April 2013 when my professional life got better, personal life got a little complicated, and I had some free time to dedicate to myself. There was no one to share pizza and whiskey with, so my diet got better. I started running.!

 A couple of people inspired me to continue, sharing their running and fitness stats with me, egging me on to set and achieve my goals. Since I had a lot of free time in my hands, I dedicated time at the gym.

Please note that I had not realized the importance of fitness yet. I was simply killing time, accepting fitness challenges out of pure boredom.

I started concentrating on my runs and realized I enjoyed it because it was my “me time” I could cook up stories in my head while running, think of new blog topics, have a near-perfect conversation in my head with someone, fantasize about a moment, anything!

Running was that one thing that allowed me to be myself without feeling the need to invite other people to join in. At a time when I was at a personal low, I started looking forward to this me-time.

On days I’d get lost in my chain of thoughts, I realized I was clocking in a good 7-8km. I now consciously started looking at my timing and started setting goals. Next thing you know, I had completed a 10km in 55minutes, my average time for 5km was 27minutes, and gym clothes constituted 70% of my cupboard.  I was THRILLED.

2016 was a great year for fitness – I maintained a weight of 54kgs for a good part of the year and concentrated on getting a tone. HIITs became a part of my life, and seeing results, feeling the sore muscles, pushing myself to the next level, all of this gave me a high.

I started taking fitness seriously enough to make people join the movement. Not for me, not for something I’m trying to achieve online, nope, I wanted people to be fit and happy because everyone deserves to be.

Women And Muscles

In 2013 I worked out to be skinny because I belong to that generation that didn’t discuss body positivity or body image issues. I ran my way to a 50kgs from 65kgs. I should have been happy, but I felt weak. I fit into all the clothes that I had my eyes on, but my mind wouldn’t feel calm.

It was in June 2017 that I started lifting, and that is when my love affair with my muscles started. This was the time I realized what fitness really meant. I fell in love with food, with my body, with my muscles. I gained back all the glow that I had lost, and I was standing proudly at 55kgs again.

I started building strength, I started putting on muscle, and I started understanding the relationship between physical, mental and emotional health. I started challenging myself. One more push up, one more pull up, yes, that was it! I had broken a new personal record…and that is what gave life a new meaning. I was strong.

What people thought was “muscular” was my way of telling myself that I knew I could handle so much because I had come this far. “Muscles make you look manly” and other such bullshit fell on my deaf ears as I progressed from benching 5kgs to 20. Today, I lift to feel good, to feel confident and secure, and to flex when I need to let them know this little girl can take care of herself.

Yes, women with muscles exist, because you need some strong women to shut up anyone who says “muscles make women manly”, before proceeding to toss them into the trash cans.

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