Only Clueless Women Would Rather Be Skinny Than Strong

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woman runningTurns out aspirations to be "model thin" has consequences we may not have even thought of ... New research from Australia claims that not only is our generation of humans not as strong as our parents' or grandparents', but women, in particular, are physically weaker than ever before and "may struggle to complete basic physical tasks." Uh, whoa. Crazy, right? The researchers say that muscular endurance -- the ability to repeatedly exert force, such as doing crunches -- has declined by 8 to 10 percent since the mid-1980s. And they blame the fact that women would rather be thin than fit.

Or more specifically, we're supposedly freaked out to hit the gym and build muscle, for fear of "bulking up."

While I'm balking at the idea that we're all sooo much weaker than ever before, I wouldn't be surprised if our desire to be "skinny" actually is preventing some of us from getting involved in exercise programs that build muscle. I've spoken to a couple of personal trainers recently who either tried to reassure me that I wouldn't "bulk up" if I followed their plan or lamented that women come to them all the time and that seems to be their #1 worry.

Not to mention that so many of us fall victim to the "skinny fat" trap -- hitting the elliptical or treadmill instead of weights, because we're afraid we'll turn into way-too-ripped Madonnas overnight. It's nuts! And apparently, some women pass on exercise altogether, because they'd rather just "look thin," according to Ken Fox, professor of exercise and health sciences at the University of Bristol.

He tells The Daily Mail:

The majority of young females want to look thin. They don’t eat much, they don’t exercise much, and because of that they have weak musculatures -- it’s really not a healthy way to be.

So sad ... As for that fear of bulking up, as the researchers point out, women don't even possess the physiological makeup to get manly muscles. (Unless you're Madonna, I suppose.) And what's more, we need to build muscle if we want to prevent a slew of medical issues (like back pain, joint problems, osteoporosis, etc.) now and later in life.

It really is reason enough to turn our aspirations from getting skinny and slim to lean and fit. The latter is not only sexier -- it's healthier.

Do you make a point to build muscle strength at the gym?


Image via lululemonathletica/Flickr

weight loss, exercise, general health


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nonmember avatar LizzieBorden

If most women "hardly eat" in attempt to stay thin then why do I see so many overwight and obese women? Seems like if you're going to talk about physical health in America then obesity & inactivity would likely have a bigger impact on our strength and vitality as whole since more (way more) Americans are obese & overweight than skinny/under fed.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I'm all for building muscle but I know a lot if women who aren't. I used to work with a woman who insisted on sitting down all the time so her thighs wouldn't bulk up. She wouldn't walk across the office or go out for lunch, it was ridiculous.

the4m... the4mutts

While i dont go to the gym (though i plan on getting a membership) i have heard this from women, and i always thought it was nuts!

I do yard work, use tools, do heavy lifting, use weights at home when i feel the need, and do lots of other muscle toning/building activities like hiking, swimming, climbing.

I would love to be thinner, and do need to lose about 20-25lbs. But i would rather remain a bit chunky than to be a twig with no muscles. You know, if i only had the 2 to choose from

the4m... the4mutts

Lizzieborden- ive seen women that weigh 300lbs, who barely ever eat. But because of that, their body goes into starvation mode, and store it all as fat. That, mixed with their inactivity = obese person who never eats.

I do agree we need to have a larger focus on health as a whole though

nonmember avatar blue

I wish we could (as a society) not focus on what a healthy person looks like. Rather, what MAKES a person healthy. What we thin looks healthy (thin,) is not always.

SassB SassB

You have to do what works for YOU.  Everyone's body, motivations, needs and abilities are different.

Further, making generalizations about broad groups would tend to put the author in the same boat as the Bimbo in the White House, who professes to know what's good for everyone, but clearly does not.  (no generalizations there now, are there ;)


mamaw... mamawidup

Articles like this make me mad. I am 5 ft 2 and the most I've ever weighed in my life is 113 pounds... and that was when I was pregnant. I am not unhealthy, I don't starve myself, but I have suffered with anemia with the exception of while I was pregnant and breastfeeding. My whole life I've wanted to have more weight on me, skinny people are insecure too. But its rude to jump to conclusions that skinny people are automatically doing something wrong health wise. People are born in all shapes and sizes.

nonmember avatar melissa

I love building muscle at the gym. I notice im always working out with the dudes and women are usually in a class/elliptical. I learned from a young age that more tone muscle = more fat burned daily. Id rather be a calorie burning machine all the time not just when my butt is in the gym!

SassB SassB


We have all heard the 300 pounder that doesn't eat(that we see).

If you look at the feeding regime used at WWII concentration camps, there were no obese persons.

Bottom line is if you reduce caloric intake, you will lose weight.

nonmember avatar LizzieBorden

@SassB, LOL! Amen.

@4mutts, I'm not intending to discuss the various ways that individuals may become obese. I'm stating that in America obesity & being overweight are much more prevalent than the phenomenon of skinny women starving themselves thin and being weak. Maybe in certain areas under fed and thin is more common, but in general inactivity and obesity are more prevalent and more common as a problem. And people who are obese are often just as malnourished as a starved person, due to inadequate diet (malnutrition!).

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