Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creepy Situations

Bodybuilding and physique sports may not be in the mainstream, but you wouldn't know that by talking to the fans. Whether its buying magazines, supplements, website memberships, t-shirts, or simply going to bat for the stars on blogs, message boards, or even on facebook, the fans pull all the stops for the athtletes they look up to most. But some fans go a little too far. And some athletes either run for the hills - or - they capitalize on the sludge.

For many years, Women's Bodybuilding, was considered to be dying on the vine. Industry insiders did their best to ignore the Division, meanwhile the sport's talking heads (most notably Bob Cicherillo) took cheap shots at the sport and its economic viability. Nonetheless, no matter how tough times were, some Women Bodybuilders were still making the big bucks. If you're not familiar with Lift & Carry, Wrestling for Hire, or raunchy paid website features, any ole google search will educate you on the matter. Other women, like IFBB Pro Cathy LeFrancois, refused to degrade themselves. They kept marketing themselves, got kickass sponsors like Gaspari Nutrition, kept competing, and kept living in the sport they loved so much.

But just because the ladies don't welcome - or appreciate - the comments, some fans just keep dishing out the unwanted comments and behavior.

It's no shocker that out of half a dozen champions I polled, only one brave woman participated in this article. Let's see what she had to say!

"As a woman that ventures beyond the cardio row and group classes at the gym and regularly weight trains, I hear a lot of stupid comments from men. Perhaps men are unprepared to interact with females in a male dominated atmosphere making them appear ignorant. Or maybe they really are as dumb as they come across (I hope for their sake that this isn’t the case).

For example, once a man tapped me on the shoulder, mid-set (PLEASE DON’T EVER DO THIS!), while I was doing curls to ask me “Are you curling twenty pounds?” I finished my set and simply said “Yes”, although what I really wanted to say was – Does the dumbbell have a 20 on it? Do you think that means 20 pounds? Use your brain dimwit.

Or there was the time when a man stopped me while jumping rope to ask me if I was on a jump rope team. Do jump rope teams existing outside of elementary school? Perhaps there is an idea for a new Olympic sport (sarcasm). He then proceeded to ask me if I could teach him how to jump rope. Seriously? All you do is jump over the rope. If you are over the age of twelve and don’t know how to jump rope, you need more help than I am able or willing to provide.

And my all time favorite ridiculous comment from a man at the gym –

-Man: “Hey, how do you build all of your mass? You’re jacked!”
-Me: “Um, thanks…I just eat right and work hard” (While thinking MASS?? I’m not that big….I’m a bikini competitor!)
-Man: “Wow, you’d be good for breeding linebackers!”
-Me: Speechless….

I hardly think that my 5’4” 130 lb (offseason) frame would be ideal for breeding NFL linebackers. On second thought, this is a wonderful income producing idea…I could quit my job and focus on producing world class athletes! (JOKING). I’m sure the man meant his comment as a compliment but I doubt that any woman out there would like to hear that she would be an ideal for “breeding” anything, especially linebackers.

These are only a few of the many comments I’ve heard over the years. I know most women say that if you wear a hat and headphones people will leave you alone. I’d say this only works about 50% of the time. You will always have those few “new” men at the gym that haven’t figured out the social rules and don’t have a clue that we are there to work, not chat about breeding prospects. My best advice for women that kill it in the weight room is to be prepared for the looks, comments, and questions and keep a sense of humor about it. We’re breaking into a world that was once male dominated and they just don’t know how to interact with us yet."

Janessa Mitchell
NPC Star

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