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To the Men Giving Me Fitness and Health Advice

by Taru Anniina Liikanen 10 days ago in fitness

Thanks for all your concerns, I’m doing fine.

To the Men Giving Me Fitness and Health Advice
Photo by John Arano on Unsplash

First, let me just start by saying thank you to all the men who give me unsolicited help on health and fitness.

You know who you are. You’re always present, at every gym. Sometimes, at workplaces. You may be a personal trainer, or a random gym goer.

You seem to give your advice for free for anybody who listens, but you seem to have a knack for spotting the young women like me who simply couldn’t live without your valuable insights.

This is my letter to you.

On Cardio

Thank you for your interest in my cardio workout, but I’m very good at taking care of it myself.

This might come as a surprise, but your opinion on the best form of cardio is of very little relevance to me. I don’t care about what speed or heart rate will help me burn more fat, it’s not my main goal.

I don’t need your advice on how long my intervals or rest periods should be, because I don’t calculate them by time. I pick out the form of cardio according to what I feel like that day. I run to the rhythm of the music because I want to have fun when I work out.

You would know this if you were my trainer, but you’re not, because I don’t have one. The reason why I don’t have a trainer is that I simply don’t like being told what to do. (Unless we’re in bed, but that’s just my kink. And that’s somewhere you and I will never be together.)

For now, you don’t know what my fitness goals are, and what I like doing. You don’t know about my medical history, my past injuries or my COVID recovery. I may also be sore and want to take it easy today, so I don’t appreciate you speeding up the treadmill or stair master for me.

I’m capable of pushing the buttons myself, when I feel like it.

On Muscle

No, lifting weights will not make me look like a man. Even if I lift heavier weights than you do.

The only thing those kinds of comments ever did was tie me to only doing cardio. It was hellishly boring, but it also pushed me farther away from my fitness goals. They kept me running at snail speed and with awful form, because my legs weren’t strong enough and my upper body didn’t have enough muscle to sustain a good posture. Whenever I see women running like that I did I still get mad at people like you who think it’s their right to tell me what my body should or shouldn’t look like.

I do appreciate you telling me that you don’t find muscular women attractive. I now know for a fact that you’re not the kind of man I would ever be into, because I like men who are mentally strong enough to not be intimidated by a woman with physical strength.

It is quite ridiculous to fear physical strength. Thank you for pointing that out, but I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve yet to develop a physique like Arnold. If only it was that easy to bulk up.

On Form

I’m grateful that you’ve taken it upon yourself to correct my form, but you’re not an authority on correct posture. Your personal training client is only a couple of feet away, deadlifting with a curved spine. You should really be focusing on them, instead of me.

I may also be doing something a little differently because there are several different ways to perform an exercise, depending on the muscles you want to target. You should know this.

No, heavy barbell hip thrusts won’t give me sciatica pain. If anything, I’m happy to have said goodbye to my posterior pelvic tilt and sciatica pain because this exercise has given me adequate glute strength to hold a good posture.

Yes, I can lift my own plates to the barbell. Yes, even the 45lb. ones. I wouldn’t lift them if I couldn’t, and it’s hella patronizing to treat me like I can’t handle my own weights.

If I do need help, I’m capable of asking for it. I am an adult.

I also don’t need your help for stretching, or pointing out that I’m flexible. I’m doing the splits so I know I’m flexible, but you look like a creep standing next to me, evaluating my fitness.

On Nutrition

No, I don’t need to drink protein shakes. The argument “these were invented in the United States” doesn’t make me change my mind. So were Coca-Cola, crack cocaine and nuclear weapons. I don’t consider any of these things as necessary building blocks for a healthy life.

I have managed to build a significant amount of muscle in the past seven years, all on a vegan diet, without the need for additional protein. Not to mention the fact that I’ve never had to stink up the gym with those rotten egg-smelling protein farts.

You should probably get that checked out, by the way.

No, eating bread won’t kill me, make me fat or move me away from my goals. No, eating soy won’t mess up my hormones. No, fruit doesn’t have too much sugar.

I also don’t need a diet, especially not one with a calorie deficit. I have no intention of starving myself, or only eating broccoli, chicken breasts and brown rice, because it would not give me enough nutrients to live a healthy life.

I want to eat a varied diet because I want to be healthy. I work out because it makes me feel healthy and good.

You may have other goals in your life, and they’re none of my business. Just like my workouts are none of yours.


This story was originally published by me, on Medium.


Taru Anniina Liikanen

Finnish by birth, porteña at heart. Relationships, politics, bad puns, popular and unpopular opinions.

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