Why don’t you look like a fitness model?

December 26th, 2008  |  Published in Inspiration, Reality check  |  86 Comments

Some time ago a reader emailed me to ask why I did not look like a fitness model. She proceeded to suggest that perhaps my advice was not good if I did not provide evidence that said advice had worked. I assume that the evidence in question was a shot of me posing awkwardly in high heels and a bikini. She didn’t seem overly interested in evidence which consisted of me lifting large heavy things while dressed in oversize sweatpants and army boots. Amazingly, my video entitled “Sweaty Krista Covered In Chalk and Plate Dirt” just isn’t selling too well. Perhaps I should try the fetish market.

Anyhoo, this question raised some issues for me that I’d like to discuss.

Not all fit women look like fitness models.

Actually, 99% of them don’t. There are all shapes and sizes of fit women and female athletes in the world, from 90 lb. gymnasts, to 150 lb. sprinters, to 200 lb. shotputters, and everything in between. There are female athletes who are mentally or physically disabled but could kick my ass from here till next Tuesday. A great example of an elite athlete who doesn’t resemble a fitness model is Lynne Cox, the world’s best cold water distance swimmer. Cox is so hardcore that she swam to Antarctica without a wetsuit, and has amazed exercise physiologists with her ability to withstand near-freezing water temperatures. Frankly, I find her much more inspiring than the airbrushed cartoon bunnies on the cover of Shape magazine.

Here’s an amazing photomontage that appeared in the unfortunately short-lived Sports Illustrated for Women many years ago. It features a selection of female Olympic athletes from different sports. That’s right — Olympic athletes. You can’t really be in much better shape than this.

I think it speaks for itself. (Clicky on the thumbnails to make ‘em bigger.)

Not all fit women want to look like fitness models.

Some do, some don’t. Most female athletes are more concerned with performance and achievement than aesthetics. There is nothing wrong with trying to look like a fitness model, if it’s a goal that you have set for yourself, and a goal you can achieve safely and sanely. But it’s not the only way to be visibly or actually fit. The goal of a fitness model in competition is perfection: good skin tone, nice physical display (which includes costume, hair, makeup, and a smile), pleasing physique, looking good in exercise wear, a swimsuit, and often evening wear. While a fitness model is certainly an athlete, she is not supposed to show the exertion of her performance. The goal of an athlete is achievement, and that often means getting dirty, getting bruised or cut, competing wearing things like tape, bandages, knee braces, and so forth. The athlete’s attire is often unflattering or baggy, because it’s usually designed to maximize the athlete’s capability of movement, not her aesthetic presentation (Brazilian volleyball player uniforms, erm butt floss, notwithstanding). Athletes can guzzle water or pour it over their head to cool off, spit, throw up at the finish line, jump into the dirt, and do a variety of unattractive things in the course of their endeavours. So, while I do not mean to suggest that fitness models are not athletes (because their training usually necessitates a wide variety of activities), I do mean to suggest that fitness models are not the only ideal for female physical fitness. In fact they are a somewhat poor one for many types of athletes.

We don’t all aspire to the same aesthetic goal.

Some women want big muscles. Some want to be super-lean. Some women with low bodyfat have breast implants; some prefer the sleekness of small breasts. Everyone’s values about physical appearance are different. Moreover, people have different genetic gifts. A small, stocky woman is going to waste her life if she tries forever to look like a female basketball player. A big, muscular woman is likewise going to experience a world of disappointment if she directs all her efforts towards being little and cute. Many, many fit women and female athletes don’t look like fitness models and are very happy with this state of affairs. People who write me to tell me that they find my legs too big are barking up the wrong tree. I want my legs to be bigger dammit!

We’re all individuals.

Given your training parameters and genetic gifts/limitations, you’ll end up with the appearance that is suited to YOU. Human biological variation is incredible and wonderful. Don’t try to look like someone else. Try to look like yourself, only fitter. If you have big muscular legs, use them to squat with. If you have narrow hips, take up running. If you have wide shoulders and big hands and feet, enjoy beating the hell out of everyone else at swimming.

The world does not need more pictures of women in bikinis.

People who want to see fitness models can go to the bazillion fitness model sites online. I don’t bother with that shit here because it takes space away from lifting information, and frankly I get enough email from lecherous weirdos already. Furthermore, beginners often get very turned off by images of apparent “perfection” (I use that term advisedly) because it seems so unattainable. It’s much more inspiring for many people to know that fitness is something which anyone and everyone can do to see benefits. Plus, I’m not good enough with Photoshop to airbrush in bigger shoulders and better thigh definition.

Even fitness models don’t look like fitness models.

The fitness industry is about as truthful as the sideshow industry. Let’s break this down.

Low bodyfat. By and large, fitness models are photographed only when they are in “contest shape”, which means that they have dieted down to a low bodyfat for a short period of time. In the “offseason”, most carry a higher bodyfat level because extremely low bodyfat levels are physiologically unmanageable. Many fitness shows hosted by models are filmed only a few weeks out of the year for this reason. And by the way, dieting down to 10-12% bodyfat is much, much less exciting than you would think. You do not feel sexy and attractive. You feel hungry. All you can think about is how crappy you feel, how hard it is to concentrate on anything, and how you would kill your own momma for a bag of Cheetos.

Photographic tricks. Start with the basics of lighting, angles, and posing. Posing in itself is an art. Posers must learn how to present their body so their “flaws” are hidden or camouflaged, and their best features are emphasized. Ever wonder why we don’t see too many “after” shots where the subject is posed slouching and photographed with a cheap flash camera? Things also look different in reality than on film. Davin’s page on bodybuilding photo tricks illustrates this beautifully, as do others such as Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty video, and Bigger Stronger Faster, in which filmmaker Chris Bell fakes his own before-and-after shots. We all know people who are “photogenic”, which means they look good in pictures, and we all know people who are attractive but don’t photograph well. Many photogenic people look too angular or “imperfect” in person, yet their face comes beautifully to life through the camera lens. Add the magic of Photoshop and airbrushing. Hell, a good computer graphic artist could make me look like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (although they probably couldn’t help my little problem of being incapable of sinking a basket).

Extreme dieting. I’ve already mentioned dieting. However I should add that this isn’t your run of the mill eat-celery-sticks-for-a-few-days kind of diet. This is a diet that spans up to 20 weeks at a time, and involves a highly regimented eating pattern. We’re talking food scales and measuring cups which dole out precise amounts of brown rice and chicken breasts. We’re talking Shaolin monk level of spiritual and physical discipline.  (Scott Abel refers to fitness models and bodybuilders as “competitive dieters”, and speaks very frankly about the metabolic and psychic damage done by such extreme regimens in his blog.) We’re also talking about mommy’s little helper: drugs.

Drug use. Many  fitness models use anabolic steroids, just like female bodybuilders. Other drugs used are thermogenics, diuretics, appetite suppressants, amphetamines, and the plethora of “gray market” bodybuilding supplements.

Wardrobe, hair, tanning, makeup. Pretty standard stuff for a fashion shoot, really. Tanning is crucial because it emphasizes muscle definition, as does applying something shiny like oil or an iridescent powder. Often a topical bronzer is applied over a base tan. In person it sometimes looks like a weird orange colour.

Tricks of the trade. This means stuff like aluminum or painted wood plates so it looks like the person is lifting a ton (I have aluminum and wood plates at my gym; they’re designed to be the height of 45 lb. plates but lighter… I don’t mind people thinking I’m lifting 135 lbs. over my head!). Duct tape or masking tape is a must. Drag queens and models alike know that it helps prop up cleavage and can be used to pull back skin to increase visual definition. Two-way tape or Bikini Bite helps stop the inevitable wedgie or embarrassing exposure which is a risk with tiny bathing suits. Pre-photo dehydration (achieved usually with the help of drugs) is crucial for optimizing definition, flattening tummies, and leaning out faces.

Surgery. A nip here, a tuck there, a little fat sucked from here, a little collagen added there. Breast implants and lifts, tummy tucks, calf implants, nose jobs, chin jobs, etc. etc. etc. Nothing wrong with surgery–after all, it makes sense if your face and body is your living–but let’s not pretend that it’s Ma Nature’s handiwork.

Again, this isn’t to denigrate the hard work of women who work as fitness models. But it’s a job like any other. Fitness models don’t crawl out of bed with a hangover and raging PMS and immediately have someone snap their picture with a cheap Instamatic. Their representation is a carefully planned event and construction of an image, which has little to do with them as people.

Frankly, I’m sick of other people telling me what I should look like.

As women we get subjected to lots of commentary on our physical appearances. Male strangers tell us to smile, they ogle our breasts, they scream “Nice ass!” or “Hey fatso!” from passing cars. We’re all well aware that we are judged every day on how our bodies look. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t care about how I looked. BUT we should look good on our own terms, without other people feeling that they have the right to judge us or tell us how we should look. My ideal for myself is different than many other people’s ideal for me, which is fine as long as they keep it to themselves. Besides, according to the media ideal we’re never good enough anyway, so ya might as well divert all that negative mental energy you waste on worrying about it. In media ideal terms, there’s so much wrong with me that the only thing to be done is burn the whole house down and start again! Hahaha! Oh wait, my teeth are straight. Those can stay.

I am a normal woman. I am not a fitness model. I work out in slobby gym wear with no makeup, and I get dirty and sweaty and messyhaired. My breasts are not lifted and separated; they are mashed onto my chest by my cheapo sports bra. When I forget to shave my legs I don’t really care. I am in there to work hard, to lift some heavy shit, and to forget about how my body looks in favour of thinking about what my body does. After having had a few injuries and illnesses, I am happy that the old girl works at all! Can I get out of bed in the morning without pain and make it to the coffeemaker? If so, then yay body!

That is the point of this site: weight training and fitness in general are for everybody and every body! Yes, you will look better and feel better with weight training. I know that I do. But sorry, you’re not going to see pictures of me stuffed into a bathing suit. Let’s just deal with it and move on.


  1. Christina says:

    February 18th, 2009at 1:30 pm(#)

    Yeah, big legs rock!

  2. Allie says:

    February 18th, 2009at 2:08 pm(#)

    Awesome Krista! You should sell “Stumptuous” t-shirts (preferably tight or tanktops to show off my non-Fitness Model physique at the gym). I’d totally advertise!

  3. Denise says:

    February 20th, 2009at 2:43 pm(#)

    Probably my favorite web article of all time. Thanks so much!!!

  4. nancy says:

    February 22nd, 2009at 8:10 pm(#)

    Amazing. You say so many things I wish I’d said first! Thank you thank you thank you!!! Keep up the great work, Krista!!

  5. Debbie says:

    February 23rd, 2009at 12:04 am(#)

    Thank you for a fantastic article and for providing such great information/inspiration via your site! I’m a 38yr old nurse and have been weight training for 5 months. I love it and wish I’d started sooner.

  6. Kylie says:

    February 27th, 2009at 1:20 pm(#)

    Hey, I just wanted to thank you for this. I’ve been working out for most of my life, and I’ve never achieved the look I want. Recently I’ve gotten up to running 17 miles at a go, which is something I never thought I’d achieve, and I’ve been going to the gym more regularly than ever before in my life. And yet I’m still not happy? What does this say about my unrealistic expectations?

    It’s just good to be reminded that what I see in the magazines isn’t necessarily something I should think is the only definition of success. Thanks again!

  7. Sonya Williams says:

    March 29th, 2009at 11:03 am(#)

    AMEN sista!!!

  8. Molly says:

    March 31st, 2009at 9:43 pm(#)

    The sexy body is the healthy, strong body. Thank you for helping me remember this.

  9. Lee says:

    April 3rd, 2009at 9:52 am(#)

    thank you, i want big legs, was telling the guy at the gym today, he said ‘why’! but then he showed me the proper way to do squats so he’s ok!

  10. Ben K. says:

    April 22nd, 2009at 6:03 pm(#)

    A woman who lifts heavy things ends up with a body better than a fitness model IMHO.

  11. KatieMae says:

    April 26th, 2009at 11:38 am(#)

    Great Article!! Having had an eating disorder an an ongoing struggle with self image I really need to read articles like this at least every other day ( ;
    I am not a little person I am 5’10 big boned and big cheasted. I feel conspicous at times and just too damn big. Lifting weights and being a competitive powerlifter helped me tremendously with my self image. I appreciate my body more for what it can do.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    May 1st, 2009at 9:16 pm(#)

    This website was just suggested to me and I think everything you have to say is amazing and just reestablishes everything I believe. It’s more about giving your body what it needs and deserves (by means of nutrition and fitness) to thank it for taking some of the abuse it tends to incur by ourselves, rather than how you look in your skinny jeans. I am constantly surrounded by people who’s total lack of concern for their health just baffles me. But every now and then my consciousness for nutrition and fitness inspires someone to make a change. And that makes it all worth while.

  13. Sarah says:

    May 8th, 2009at 1:46 pm(#)

    Can I just say “holy crap, thank you so much for this?”

  14. Jana says:

    May 16th, 2009at 5:24 pm(#)

    What issue of SI for Women was this from? I would like to see if I can find a back copy or original for a more high quality version of the article.

  15. Mistress Krista says:

    May 17th, 2009at 5:27 am(#)

    I believe this would have been Oct 2002. If you can find it, let me know. I actually owned that issue once.

  16. Liz says:

    May 19th, 2009at 1:11 pm(#)

    I was just referred to your site by Randy, a local RKC who I met on Twitter and then worked with at a kettlebell clinic he held. After checking out your site upon his recommendation, I stumbled across this article…and realized I’ve seen it before! Some of my friends at Turbulence Training had pointed me in your direction in the past. I’m going to have to bookmark your site now! You have a great wit and a ton of amazing insight and excellent advice.

    Can’t wait to see what else you have to offer. Would love to hear your personal story as well. Maybe it’s here somewhere?

  17. Kelli says:

    May 26th, 2009at 11:20 am(#)

    Thanks so much for this. I have been researching what it means to reach your full potential with physical capability in a natural way. The explanation and pictures you provided sum it up perfectly. A woman’s perfect body is as varied as a fingerprint.

  18. Hodge Podge « A Mountain Mama says:

    May 27th, 2009at 2:25 pm(#)

    […] I have to share this website with you.  Why Don’t You Look Like a Fitness Model? I have been seriously thinking about what a naturally capable and fit woman’s body should […]

  19. Bianca says:

    May 29th, 2009at 6:35 am(#)

    I love you for this.

  20. Trishy says:

    June 1st, 2009at 11:49 am(#)

    I would buy a Stumptuous tank top too … maybe you should think about offering some.

  21. Adria says:

    July 26th, 2009at 3:37 pm(#)

    Boy would I ever shell out to be able to buy posters of those pictures.

    Thanks for making important points in the clearest and most accessible way possible.

  22. dave says:

    August 1st, 2009at 6:37 am(#)

    I concur. The look is whatever the best capability is. Some of the most impressive humans in your photos are potentially some of the least “sports model”. If I as a heterosexual male was looking for someone to conquer the world with, the sports models would not get a look in – seven days without food and they would be useless. Thanks for a look at real performance athletes of all kinds.

  23. MoxyThunder says:

    September 5th, 2009at 11:03 pm(#)

    hells yeah!!!!! love this article!

    and i second the idea of stumptuous t-shirts. i would proudly rock a few of those around town!

  24. Tiffany says:

    September 30th, 2009at 5:57 am(#)

    I enjoyed reading your article and would like to add my own thoughts on women and body-image. While there is no need for every woman to look like a fitness model. In fact, most men are not attracted to the overly muscular, angular physiqued female figure so common among fitness models. That said, I think there is no reason for women to look like a slough either. Physically activity can be as simple and easy as walking 1 hour a day or choosing to use the stairs instead of the elevator. The way a woman dresses also affects the way she carries herself. There is a wide range of clothing specifically designed for fitness activities even for those for whom skin-tight lycra spandex strikes terror in their heart. And let’s face it… We want men to look at us, though leering is not appreciated, when we go about our daily lives. Admit it… You check out the cute guy seated beside you on the bus or walking down the sidewalk.

  25. Mistress Krista says:

    September 30th, 2009at 6:07 am(#)

    Tiffany, you’ve hit on an important point: all or nothing thinking. We often feel as though if we can’t be “perfect” (again, whatever THAT is), we are awful. There’s no in-between. But what if we aimed for “as good as we can be”; “pretty good” or even simply “healthy”?

    I once heard an IFBB pro give this advice to a newbie: “Don’t worry about all the other stuff when you’re starting out. Just get into really good shape.” Probably one of the best, most practical pieces of advice ever. Just get as fit as you can. Take the best care of yourself that you can. Let the rest sort itself out.

  26. Linara says:

    September 30th, 2009at 11:19 pm(#)

    Thank you so much. I am a professional actor and I feel that the same applies for actors. We are all different, and beautiful. I will never be a size two and 110 lbs; my body just doesn’t work that way. Rather, I could be a size 2 and 110 lbs, but it certainly wouldn’t be anything to look at. I like being strong and looking strong. I have thick legs, too. I so appreciate your words and insight and am so happy I happened upon this as it just made my day. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

  27. Leela says:

    November 22nd, 2009at 12:48 pm(#)

    Loved reading this. I’m a short-waisted, big-chested, hyper-curvy bellydancer and new Crossfit convert and I love being strong and muscular like my Eastern European ancestors. I struggled against my own body for so long, wishing for a long waist and a small chest, but finally realized that I love my broad shoulders, tiny waist, and huge honkin’ leg muscles. My entire build makes me a very good Modern Egyptian style dancer (you need serious glutes, not a pansy butt, to power some of those moves, and big hips make great hip isolations). And having big, strong legs only means that I catch that train I’m sprinting for (I once successfully ran for a bus that was blocks away while wearing ridiculous platform heels and carrying a hot cup of coffee, thanks to these quads…I like to think).

    I’d totally wear a Stumptuous tank, too! I love this site and all the inspiring words and images here. Strong women are so much more interesting to look at than starved waifs in pastel velour track suits! Thanks for all the great information and inspiration. I’m currently 9 months pregnant and have been reading through the archives in happy anticipation of returning to working out full-steam!

  28. Lena Shore says:

    December 7th, 2009at 6:27 am(#)

    I love the photo of all those women and their different shapes. To me, they all look like fitness models — all beautiful, strong, and healthy. However, your point was not lost on me. It made me feel good to realize that my vision of “physical awesome” isn’t completely dependent on the latest Jennifer Nicole Lee cover photo. Great article!

  29. melanie kelly says:

    December 30th, 2009at 7:20 pm(#)

    Thanks for this article. This is the kind of encouragement women need in their lives – permission to be themselves and not to strive for a cookie cutter look. I have three young daughters and want them to be exposed to more of this healthy thinking and less of the crap women are bombarded by daily. Like Lena, I too enjoyed the pictures of the female Olympic athletes. It is so good to make visible and celebrate the variations of healthy strong female bodies rather than hide them away because they don’t fit the male ideal. Thanks again, you rock!

  30. Why You Don’t Look Like a Fitness Model « CrossFit Portland Girls says:

    January 11th, 2010at 11:56 am(#)

    […] “Why You Don’t Look Like a Fitness Model” is a great example of her passion and a message every woman should hear and know. […]

  31. Claire says:

    January 12th, 2010at 7:07 am(#)

    Thank you so much for this. I knew this already, about models being airbrushed and so , but for some reason did not think that this also applied to fitness models.
    Thank you very much this frank and in depth talk and the pictues are pricless. I will look at these when I am next feeling useless aboy not being able to train enough and also.
    Als, its true athletes are more concerned with acheivement than with aesthetics and that should be the focus.
    Thank you and thanks again.

  32. Jasmine says:

    January 22nd, 2010at 4:39 pm(#)

    Hell ya huge quads!
    I enjoy your articles. I find them to be thoroughly educative and humorous. Frankly I think there are far too many people out there who want results without all the work. I’ve had my relatives ask me how I encountered this miraculous weight loss transformation and then whine about how too hard it is, after I tell them that I run and lift heavy weights to burn it off and keep it off. It’s unfortunate because I come from a Asian family where the common desired aesthetic is to be unrealistically thin without any hint of muscle. Regardless, I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as I can dead lift more than my body weight and run for miles I’m doing myself in the favor in the long run. Sometimes I forget this and I want to thank you for being a constant reminder that you should see yourself as how you want to see yourself, regardless of others.

  33. Anna says:

    February 6th, 2010at 4:52 pm(#)

    Fantastic article, a very refreshing read. I’m sick of people try to dictate to me how I should look in order to be fit according to their definition of the word.

  34. Stephanie Vincent says:

    February 12th, 2010at 1:26 pm(#)

    Great POST!! It is so important to remember being healthy doesn’t have to correlate with how you look by societies standards. We did the 300 workout at my crossfit affiliate and the rumor was that all the buff dudes from the movies couldn’t finish it. Guess what…I did. Thanks for the post…more women need to read it.

    I just did a Q&A on my blog, that def mirrors the sentiment that health comes in all shapes and sizes…check it out…


  35. Margaret says:

    March 6th, 2010at 1:25 pm(#)

    Wonderful! I was gifted with a powerful figure (5’10 and lots of muscle) and sometimes I forget how awesome it is. Thanks.

  36. Erin says:

    March 8th, 2010at 4:04 pm(#)

    I enjoyed the artical. I am a female trainer, and even I need a reality check from time to time.

  37. Stacey says:

    March 11th, 2010at 2:07 pm(#)

    Love this so much!

  38. Bodies « x lyssa says:

    March 16th, 2010at 10:58 pm(#)

    […] from http://www.stumptuous.com/why-dont-you-look-like-a-fitness-model, an article worth reading as […]

  39. Actually, no, I don’t hate you because you’re thin « rhubarb crumble says:

    May 26th, 2010at 7:37 am(#)

    […] some inspiration? Visit Krista’s site and look at these photos of amazing Olympic athletes, medal-winners in all sorts of disciplines. I love how their bodies are so different, how the […]

  40. Leo says:

    May 29th, 2010at 8:29 am(#)

    Girls… don’t let magazines(i didn’t know that shape magazine, i looked it up on my mate google) fool you about what’s sexy and what’s not. I think all normal, masculine guys would much rather prefer a female sprinter with those yummy strong legs than a chicken-legged-ready-to-collapse “skinny” women on the magazines. And yes, big legs rock. I am planning on giving up my upper-body weight training for a just-leg weight training combined with sprints. Cheers

  41. Supplements for Women says:

    June 7th, 2010at 11:22 pm(#)

    Very well written article.
    Well, isn’t beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    People come in different shapes and sizes and skin tones too.
    Let the natural be natural.
    Any enhancement should be just on mild make up, nothing more than that. Artificial stuff including plastic surgery will show when time comes. Our face and body is designed to grow old gracefully one day.


  42. Juicy Lifter says:

    June 28th, 2010at 1:00 am(#)

    Awesome. “if you have muscular legs, use them to squat with”…..for so long I despised my “Big legs” and felt so genetically unlucky. Now days it’s a completely different story. Weight lifting has given me more than I could ever have imagined.

    Now, I feel damb lucky to have the strong legs that I do, and I take that “lucky genetcis” all the way to the squat rack, and load that bar up to the limit, squating more than any women in the gym, and more than most guys.

    People always ask me “What are you training for”? “What sport do you play?”. Trouble is I don’t play any sport. I just train to push myself, and each time I go to the gym I get damb excited to see how much more I can lift than last time.

    A girl who attends my gym saw me in town the other day and said “I just wanted to say you have the most amazing legs!”. Are you a professional Skiier? What do you do? How many times do you work out per week? She had been dying to know my “secret”. Turned out that I spend less time than her at the gym. She was also amazed to discover that I was a “normal person” (her words).

    I first started working out to get the “dream body” and while I have re-shaped my body in ways I never thought possible…I now do it for other reasons….it keeps my mind & body strong.

    After spending so much of my life hating my legs, they are now one of my favourite body parts. The very fact that I can say that proves just what weight lifting can do for women. It really does deliver miracles.

  43. Angie says:

    August 17th, 2010at 2:40 am(#)

    Thank you so much for posting this! Practically EVERYONE I know needs to read this. Very well-written and thorough, with a balanced perspective.

  44. Neville says:

    August 19th, 2010at 10:12 am(#)


    Great insights here. I wanted to say though that another reason fit persons may not be be sporting the shape of a fitness model is past obesity. I lost 115 lbs about a decade ago and have kept it off, but I know very well that loose skin will prevent formerly morbidly obese folks from ever having a “perfect” physique outside of surgery. It’s something I have elected not to do. I’m mostly beyond caring, but I guess it bothers me on some level that I don’t look as fit as other folks who are at the same level of fitness.



  45. Matt says:

    October 14th, 2010at 11:34 am(#)

    “Sweaty Krista Covered In Chalk and Plate Dirt”

    Maybe I’m in the choir that you’re preeching to but this video sounds kinda sexy :)

    I don’t really care when my girlfriend meets a goal on the scale. I certainly encourage and congratulate her, but not nearly to extent when she pulls a new deadlift PR.

    Stay strong!

  46. Autumn says:

    October 26th, 2010at 12:32 pm(#)

    I loved this article. People think I’m odd because I go to the gym, and I don’t need to lose weight. I just want to be strong, but most women don’t understand that. I’m trying to raise my daughter with the belief that a strong, healthy body is a beautiful body–no matter what crap the media puts out there!

  47. Nina says:

    November 24th, 2010at 12:27 pm(#)

    THANK YOU. This is a fantastic read, very affirming! I’ve been lifting heavy for years and struggled for awhile with the fact that I was getting larger, laying on the muscle. I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to be able to dead lift and squat my body weight more than I wanted to look “good” (for a socially-sanctioned value of good) and I haven’t looked back.

  48. Abi says:

    November 24th, 2010at 2:48 pm(#)

    Thanks for the lovely article! You inspired me to do some research, so I dug up the original source, photographer Howard Schatz (FULL COLOR!) It was a pill to find, but here’s a little glimpse.

    Those photos, and many more are in his book, /Athlete/.


  49. Kosana says:

    December 6th, 2010at 5:07 pm(#)

    Thank-you Krista for this article it is a breath of fresh air to read this article and look at the photo’s of some real female athletes and get back to what it’s all about… being yourself.

  50. Jeff Smith says:

    December 17th, 2010at 8:46 am(#)

    I am a father of four daughters ranging from 22 years old to 15 months old. Thank you for this article. It WILL be printed and posted in our home.

  51. Mar says:

    December 17th, 2010at 11:22 am(#)

    One body type u did not include was a figure/fitness model type. I appreciate your article for what it is, except for the view of figure/fitness models. I am a figure competitor and i too wear baggy sweats to the gym with no make-up, and I too wear a sports bra and have no implants. I have never taped anything and have had minimal editing done to my photos. I have many that have none. I also go to the gym to lift heavy, and i have huge legs. I am not saying that the “tricks of the trade” you mention are not used, I am only saying that there are athletes that worked hard and end up looking like a figure competitor, and that it is an athletic body extremely capable of many sports and I disagree that it is a “somewhat poor” bodytype for many other types of athletes. I understand that not everyone wants to, or should, or even can look like a figure/fitness model, but not everyone does the things you are suggesting to do so either.

  52. Elly Carney says:

    December 17th, 2010at 11:24 am(#)

    Workout attire. Definitely. Awesome article. I will save it for my granddaughters.

  53. Ashley says:

    December 17th, 2010at 12:05 pm(#)

    I do not know how to convey my appreciation for this article any more than to run around screaming “thank you” at the top of my lungs. Finally! Someone understands! While I do no weight lift I do small things to keep myself in shape. I used to play sports and I was in physical shape, but you didn’t see me looking like a super model or anything. Good health and being physically fit is on a whole different level than being slender and oiled up and beautiful for a camera. :D Finding ways to be healthy and fit and loving yourself for the way you are are the best things anyone can do!

  54. Lexica says:

    December 18th, 2010at 9:56 pm(#)

    Awesome post — thank you. It’s so great to see photos of all these kick-ass women. (Although there were some odd effects that I assume were induced by the photomontage, like the way Tara Nott and Tara Lipinski are both listed as being 5’1″, but Nott looks noticeably taller than Lipinski.)

    And thank you for the phrase “the sleekness of small breasts”. What a happy way to reconceptualize it! *big smile*

  55. georgette says:

    December 23rd, 2010at 2:14 pm(#)

    Single best blog post I have read all year. THANK YOU!

  56. Why Don’t You Look Like A Fitness Model? | Grapelo says:

    December 23rd, 2010at 10:51 pm(#)

    […] I ponder powering up a 2011 women’s team for 3rd Law BJJ, Georgette Oden reminded me of this great article from Stumptuous.com. One of the things that distinguishes grappling from many sports is that such a […]

  57. Why don’t you look like a fitness model? :: stumptuous.com | Fitness and Exercise says:

    December 26th, 2010at 7:04 pm(#)

    […] Why don’t you look like a fitness model? :: stumptuous.com. This entry was posted in fitness. Bookmark the permalink. ← Red-Carpet Fitness Routines […]

  58. depressed says:

    January 17th, 2011at 4:15 am(#)

    Well this was depressing. So even working out, eating healthy, and getting to a high level of fitness won’t necessarily make you look good. Great.

  59. Mistress Krista says:

    January 17th, 2011at 5:18 am(#)

    Yeah, don’t bother with any of that shit. There’s totally no point.

  60. Simma says:

    January 17th, 2011at 10:23 am(#)


  61. tanya says:

    January 30th, 2011at 10:24 pm(#)

    jesus you’re awesome, krista. i come back and re-read this article periodically. love, love love it.
    i also liked your reply to ‘depressed’ though i suspect the irony is wasted.

  62. Lycaea says:

    January 31st, 2011at 2:40 pm(#)

    Great article! I love your sense of humor. ;)

    There’s so much emphasis on women in our culture to work out to look “sexy, “toned” or good in a bikini, blah, blah, blah. Or, on the other hand, to look like an overbaked, steroid-ed up bodybuilder type.

    There’s so little room for in between – women that want to get stronger and do better at our sports, for ourselves, just cuz we can and wanna.


  63. Susie says:

    January 31st, 2011at 11:36 pm(#)

    Krista… you’ve helped change my life with your website. Especially with articles like this one. Thank you. I’ve spent my 36 years trying to hide my 5’9″ muscular frame behind a shy, accommodating demeanor and countless polite dinner salads. I’ve carried a lot of shame around about being a strong woman, starting with being ridiculed and misunderstood by the same parents who put me on the swim team at age 6, (mindf*ck). Enough already.

    I’m back from the gym, having squatted and dead-lifted more than half of my motorcycle’s weight, 3 x 6-8 times, with some pullups thrown in for good measure.
    I’m not hoping to drop a dress size.
    I’m not hoping to look good poolside in a bikini.
    My husband and I are going to ride motos across the Oregon desert this summer and I want to be able to pick my bike up when I drop it in the dirt. And then pick up his bike… :)


  64. ko says:

    February 22nd, 2011at 1:08 am(#)

    I routinely beat myself up for not looking like a fitness model. this article shows me just how unnecessary this is. I think I’ll just be proud of myself for being in moderately good shape. that seems like a much better idea.

  65. coach_andrew says:

    April 6th, 2011at 7:29 am(#)

    MOST excellent– *shared on fB*

  66. Tenacious Ginger says:

    April 6th, 2011at 12:12 pm(#)

    I kinda heart you. :)

  67. Sophie says:

    June 5th, 2011at 4:41 am(#)

    I’m sorry – I must have missed the terms and conditions when signing up at my gym where it mentioned “must shave legs”.

    I squish my girls into 2 old sports bras – because one alone cannot contain these deflated funbags!

    Brilliant article, laughed out loud at least 3 times.

  68. Ingrid says:

    June 10th, 2011at 7:22 pm(#)

    Nice blog and pictures. I had to share this on FB and Sparkpeople…you get full credit and a link to this blog is included too. I have always had a more athletic build also with the large legs to g with it. My calves and thighs are big and I do squats now too. I think any fit woman, no matter the shape looks good. Some muscle definition is nice and most men will agree..everything in moderation.

  69. Cynthia Newcomer Daniel says:

    June 14th, 2011at 4:59 pm(#)

    Brilliant. I’m a fairly new lifter, and although my body is not perfect, I love my new muscles.

  70. Shannon says:

    June 23rd, 2011at 9:46 am(#)

    Amazing body image article – thanks for writing! I stumbled on this by accident but am certainly happy that I did. I too am more impressed by strength and abilities than dimensions, and I try to teach the young athletes I coach the same ideas – this article has definitely made it into the curriculum!

  71. sandy says:

    June 25th, 2011at 2:08 am(#)

    I think anyone who starves or dehydrates themselves to look good is crazy. I prefer to workout, not pose for pics or competitions. It puts people in weird frames of mind and they do crazy shi*. Women are vain enough as it is.

  72. Sara says:

    July 29th, 2011at 1:11 pm(#)

    Hi Krista- just wanted to tell you I love your website. I’ve been working with a personal trainer for the past year and a half but always did the “bare minimum”. But no more! I’ve cleaned up my eating, upped my cardio, and am seeing results already (although it’s only been 2 weeks since I’ve started anew). My goal is to lose at least 8% body fat. I have never been afraid of heavy weight, and I LOVE getting stronger! So thanks for the inspiration lady :-)


  73. Mistress Krista says:

    July 29th, 2011at 2:22 pm(#)

    @Sara: Rock on! Remember to HAVE FUN and enjoy the ride! You’re more than numbers. Get out there and have some adventures! YEAH! :)

  74. Sara says:

    August 1st, 2011at 10:11 am(#)

    Hey Krista- I plan on it! Did lower body with my trainer earlier, and it was the first time I had done squats and deads in a long time. I did: squat 95 lbs, decline leg press 250 lbs, and deadlift 115 lbs. Not bad for a start! I’m 29 yrs old, 5’5″ and 152 lbs…I don’t really have a weight-loss goal, although getting to 140 would be nice. I just want to get as strong as I can and lose some body fat! ;-) I told my trainer today that I wish I had some “end goal” to work towards…something to train for. I couldn’t think of anything, but maybe I should…

  75. Sara says:

    August 1st, 2011at 12:57 pm(#)

    Ok have to rant a little here. I’m trying to find a goal…something to gear my fitness goals towards (although I already have some goals for body composition). Kind of like a person who likes to run training for a marathon. I stumbled upon your article on powerlifting and thought hmm, this may be fun! I texted my trainer (whom I’ve known for 2 years) and asked if this could be something to work towards. He said “yeah if you want to be fat. they don’t have any definition, it’s all bulk”. I don’t think that’s true. I’m not really interested in figure competitions or anything like that. Any suggestions Krista? :-)

  76. Mistress Krista says:

    August 4th, 2011at 4:35 am(#)

    @Sara: Your trainer could use some informing. A good strength & conditioning workout combined with a solid and consistent nutrition plan that focuses on food quantity AND quality will get you lean and fit. But what is most important for goals is that you go towards what brings you JOY. Try powerlifting. If you love it, fabulous. If you don’t, try something else. Remember that the real world of physical adventure and living actively is a lot bigger than “fitness rules world”. Ignore all the well meaning people who don’t share your energy for things that inspire you. Do what YOU want. Do what brings YOU joy, and what feels truly good in YOUR body.

  77. Sara says:

    August 4th, 2011at 8:19 am(#)

    Thanks for the encouragement Krista! I can’t fault my trainer really- he’s always pushed me, especially since I’ve started “taking things seriously” 4 weeks ago. I love lifting and gaining strength, although my goals right now are more in the “lean and fit” area. I’ve been trying to expand my horizons as far as fitness is concerned and have fallen back in love with cycling. Would love to take up hiking once the weather cools off here in San Antonio! I have also realized how good healthy eating makes me feel. Love your real world, covered-in-road-dirt approach. You’re awesome! :-)

  78. Katie says:

    August 24th, 2011at 12:11 pm(#)

    When people go along the track of thinking your trainer did I show them pics from my powerlifting days and that shuts em’ up real quick.

    I powerlifted for years and ate a pretty clean diet and ended up being pretty lean and definitely looked fit, never got skinny and uber-cut just achieved pretty close to what was the optimum for my bodytype. I’m tallish 5’9″, a friend once described my physique when lean as like a basketball player with boobs. If you powerlift and eat excessively you’ll get big with no definition, just like you would if you didn’t powerlift.

    Another important thing for me was that I was, before waylayed by injury and life, starting not to care how big I got, because I felt so good and had so many goals I wanted to accomplish.

    Good Luck!

  79. Janine says:

    October 27th, 2011at 10:43 am(#)

    BRAVO!!! I love this reminder!

  80. Why Don’t You Look Like A Fitness Model? | Open Mat Jiu Jitsu says:

    December 5th, 2011at 5:20 pm(#)

    […] I ponder powering up a 2011 women’s team for 3rd Law BJJ, Georgette Oden reminded me of this great article from Stumptuous.com. One of the things that distinguishes grappling from many sports is that such a […]

  81. Jessica Metaneira says:

    January 14th, 2012at 4:40 pm(#)

    Thanks for this. I’m so over being told how I ought to look. Yes, I’m small, no, I’m not sick, everyone just shut up about it..

  82. Dana says:

    January 20th, 2012at 11:39 am(#)

    Love it! I’m so glad you wrote this.

  83. felicity says:

    April 3rd, 2012at 8:22 am(#)

    I think I actually love you. thanks for this article :)

  84. Renata says:

    April 27th, 2012at 11:03 am(#)

    Amazing article! With that you made me feel much better, more confident and happy with my body and my goals. Thank you!

  85. Ashli Alejo says:

    May 23rd, 2012at 2:26 pm(#)

    Amazing article. Good work done ! I’ll add it to my list now. Thanks for sharing ! :-)

  86. David says:

    June 25th, 2012at 8:46 pm(#)

    these women are the best. Very hard to find. The playboy bunnies runway models are everywhere. Give me the substantive woman any day.

Get "Fuck Calories"

Enter your information below and the magical gnomes that run Stumptuous will send you a copy of the "Fuck Calories" e-book for free!
Email Marketing by Javelin