What not to say when you encounter a woman’s bodybuilding page (Guest post)

Recently, when scrolling Facebook I came across a few suggestions for people I might know and pages I might be interested in. As I follow a lot of fitness pages, I often get suggestions for female fitness competitors. One photo really caught my eye of a bodybuilder with an incredible physique and cool hair cut, so I clicked on her profile. As I should have expected, the comments were filled with the usual: “Gross” “What is that?” “I don’t find that sexy” “she’s on roids” etc.

Clearly many people somehow accidentally stumbled across this women’s page and felt compelled to give their opinions. Should you ever find yourself in this situation, here’s some advice on what not to write in the comments section.

“I don’t want to look like that.”

Don’t worry; you won’t. Women, you will not accidentally look like that from doing too many Group Power classes. Men, chances are you will not look like that either. Building a physique for that level of body building takes years of deliberate training and nutrition. It’s hard work. So don’t worry about ending up with an incredible, award winning physique anymore than you should worry about becoming a millionaire because you worked too much overtime at your fast food job.

“Ew she looks like a man.”

Here’s the thing: women might naturally have less muscle than men, but women have muscles. Yes: it is natural for a women to look like that. Sure she might take some performance enhancing drugs, but so do men. So if you think a female body builder looks unnatural, you should feel the same way as male bodybuilders. In fact, you don’t see overly ripped women often, but not because they lack the ability to build muscle. The truth is women have more body fat then men, so even if they are strong, it’s not as well-defined unless they do some serious fat burning.

“I ‘d never fuck her.”

Guess what, you can be 99.999% sure that feeling is mutual. It drives me nuts how often men look at a fit woman and immediately give their opinion on whether or not he finds her fuckable. Why, oh why on earth to men think she, or any other women, cares? Maybe she loves the sport of bodybuilding, pushing her strength and determination to the fullest extent to see what she can create. Maybe she loves the rush from blasting through her PR deadlifts. Why would anyone assume she’s into this sport so that men will find her attractive? Why do we assume she’s into men at all? I challenge you to find any women’s fitness page and see if there isn’t a man who asserts his opinion on her worthiness to be with him, as if that’s her sole reason for ever going to the gym. And for what it’s worth, there are man who find muscular women sexy so if it’s not your thing, relax, you are not condemning her to a life of spinsterhood.

When you see a women with a fitness page and a photo of her from a competition, you are looking at an athlete who has sacrificed months if not years to her sport. If you are at a loss for words, here’s a suggestion: “respect.”

Christina Friend-Johnston is a freelance writer and communications consultant who spends equal time writing and sweating it out in the gym. She blogs at

6 thoughts on “What not to say when you encounter a woman’s bodybuilding page (Guest post)

  1. Important points here, but the ‘fast food job’ line was kind of cringeworthy. Comparing normal gym routines to working at a fast food restaurant seems problematically insulting to each.

    That said, I share your amazement at how pics are taken as invitations to make proclamations about fuckability.

    1. Hi Rebecca, thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, the comparison wasn’t mean to disparage fast food or any low-wage earners nor people with normal gym routines. Simply, neither will produce surplus amounts of income or muscle tissue, respectively. I have done enough of both to know that first hand.

  2. Well said. And more than likely any man making a comment like that is super fucking insecure. He’s probably a weak ass man who doesn’t lift. 😉

  3. I really appreciate this post for a lot of reasons. Women are always told how they should look, and when someone deviates from that it is seen as negative. When I started my fitness journey I did not want to touch a dumbbell because I thought that I would look manly. As I found myself enjoying exercising more and more I found that far from the truth and found that looking like that takes a lot of time and dedication. After competing in my first show, I fell even more in love with how athletic and muscular I looked and now strive to become bigger and stronger.

    A lot of my conversations that revolve around bodybuilding usually start with why do you want to look like that? The answer is simple, because I freaking can. I do it because I like it and not to please other people. I am always plagued with the comment, “well don’t get to big.” As if I can magically gain 30 pounds of muscle overnight. I usually respond with, “I’m actually trying to gain a substantial amount of size.” in which the person looks at me awkwardly and starts another conversation. I think that the important thing is that women in the fitness community SUPPORT each other, no matter what the goal is. I think that its our job to educate people, and to help people understand that if its not your body, then don’t worry about it.

    Thank you for such a great post!

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