Gym Bros, Reluctant Girlfriends, and Human Clay

I’d love to have someone who looks like Michele Levesque as my girlfriend. But at what cost?

At the gym where I frequently workout, I often see a sight that I’m pretty sure many of you can also recognize.

I see a huge Gym Bro who looks like he spends way too much of his free time lifting weights and avoiding cardio (not to mention Leg Day) drag his girlfriend (or wife) to the gym with him. She may or may not be in shape. She may or may not even want to be there. Perhaps she’d rather be at home watching reruns of The Bachelorette or reading a book. Or going out to drinks with her friends. Or going to the gym, but not five times a week.

Gym Bro clearly loves working out. You can see it in his huge arms, enormous chest, and cocky strut. The Reluctant Girlfriend of Gym Bro is a different matter. She could be skinny, a bit overweight, or perhaps quite obese. But the body type she isn’t is “muscular.” And you can tell, whether he is willing to admit it or not, that he’d love it for her to become as muscular as he is.

He teaches her how to deadlift, squat, bench press, and shoulder press. She does as she’s told, but you can tell she does it with little enthusiasm. When she uses improper form, he lashes out, or at the very least aggressively tries to correct her “errors.” Not wanting to upset him further, she does her best to please him. It’s a sad sight to see. It’s pathetic. You feel sorry for her and secretly desire to punch him in the face.

I could very well be misinterpreting this situation, or maybe I’m spot on. I don’t see this all the time, but it happens enough that I feel compelled to write about it. Long story short, Gym Bro secretly – or not so secretly – wants his girlfriend to look a certain way. He thinks she’s too skinny, too fat, or too average. Regardless, he wants her to bulk up. He wants her to look like Michele Levesque, even if she has no desire herself to look like that. For those of you who don’t know who I’m talking about, Michele is a gorgeous fitness model who possesses the ideal look: she’s fit, unquestionably feminine, as gorgeous as a supermodel, and has built enough muscle to turn people’s heads – but not so much muscle that she upstages the man she’s with.

Lauranda Nall has some nice triceps.

Our friend the Gym Bro understands that women who look like Miss Levesque, Julie Germaine, Autumn Cleveland, Lauranda Nall, and Sheronica Sade Henton don’t just grow on trees. They are far from a dime a dozen. They are a one-in-a-million rare specimen that must be treasured because they are few and far between. However, Gym Bro secretly dreams about possessing a girlfriend with such a treasured physique…and will not sit around idly and wait for it to happen.

Therefore, he must take matters into his own hands. Even if that requires “forcing” his girlfriend to put a pair of dumbbells into her hands.

Thus, he nudges her in the direction of bulking up like him. He tells her it’s a healthy choice. He reassures her she won’t start “looking like a man.” He insists she’ll develop more confidence, curves in all the right places, and unsolicited compliments from complete strangers (naturally, the flattering kinds of compliments, not the creepy ones). She sort of goes along with it. After all, she wants to spend quality time with her boyfriend, right? Who wouldn’t?

She goes to the gym whenever he goes to the gym. They lift together. He “trains” her and cheers her on. He gives out advice as if it were candied apples on Halloween. She learns how to lift. She’s taught the proper form, breathing techniques, and recovery methods. He makes post-workout protein shakes for the both of them. She begrudgingly drinks it every single time. Maybe she likes the taste, maybe she doesn’t. But it’s all to keep their relationship intact, so it must be worth it.

If this scenario doesn’t seem familiar to you, don’t worry. Sooner or later you’ll witness something like this up close. And it’ll make you squirm. Or at the very least, feel sorry for her and all involved. You might start to ask yourself whether this behavior crosses into the territory of abuse. Does it? You sure hope not, but how can these thoughts not come to mind?

Sheronica Sade Henton showing off her hard work.

Essentially, Gym Bro wants his Reluctant Girlfriend to become Human Clay. He wants to sculpt her into becoming a Perfect Muscle Goddess who will fulfill his every lustful carnal desire. He wants her to become an Amazon, a strong confident young woman who takes life by the horns and never relents in pursuing her goals. He wants the ultimate arm candy. He wants a sexy flesh-and-blood trophy he can call his own and show off to his fellow gym bros.

Meanwhile, you get the sense she doesn’t really want to do this. She’s all for living a healthy life and looking good, but is it worth the soreness and agony of going to the gym all the damn time? It goes without saying that one does not simply become a Muscle Goddess overnight. Nor does it happen by accident. You only look like Cindy Landolt if you put in the effort to look like Cindy Landolt. If you don’t want to look like her, then you won’t ever look like her. It’s as simple as that.

The scenario described above troubles me. But unfortunately, I see it – and hear about it – all too often. It’s frustrating. It’s maddening to see. But alas, it’s quite common. When you start to “force” somebody to do something they don’t actually want to do, that’s problematic.

As I’ve written before countless times, I love muscular women. But I would never pressure my significant other to ever become a muscular woman unless she genuinely wanted to become one. And if that were to happen, I’d enthusiastically support her 100%. But if not, I’d understand completely.

It’s perfectly natural for straight guys to be attracted to muscular women. It happens more frequently than a lot of us are aware of. And it’s also understandable why many of us dream about having a muscular girlfriend. Who wouldn’t want to come home every night after a long day of work to a woman who looks like Minna Pajulahti? I know I would!

And you can share a bed with her every f*****g day? Count me in!

So the awfully awkward situation where guys start to treat their girlfriends like Human Clay seems sort of inevitable. Isn’t that the logical next step? Isn’t this just a natural progression for anyone who appreciates fit women? Well, no. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I fully believe that a woman has every right to pursue bodybuilding and fitness if they choose to do so. Many women find participating in the sport empowering, uplifting, and worthwhile. Yes, it’s a cliché to use the word “empower” when we’re dealing with women and their physical appearance, but clichés are formed for a reason. For many women, bodybuilding has helped them deal with trauma, overcome emotional obstacles, and provide them with a renewed sense of purpose. The list of benefits goes on.

Who wouldn’t want to come home every night to a woman who looks just like Cindy Landolt?

However, women also have the right to not pursue bodybuilding if such a lifestyle does not totally appeal to them. This seems obvious, yet this is not really at the heart of the problem. I don’t think too many women are forced to lift weights at the gym at gunpoint. But pressure (both overt and subtle) from a loved one can be just as coercive. The desire to please your partner will drive people to do almost anything. The same goes for the fear of losing a loved one – and by “losing,” I mean that person choosing to find a different lover, not death.

I understand why a guy would want a sexy muscle goddess for a girlfriend. Trust me, I daydream about this all the time! But, I’d like to think I would never cross that line and pressure my better half to torture herself at the gym just because I want the shape of her body to be more pleasing to my eye. But this is not about me being “holier than thou.” All I want to do is send a warning to those of you who might (or already have) cross that line, either intentionally or unintentionally.

There’s nothing malicious about wanting your partner to look and feel healthy. After all, don’t we all want to be with our loved ones for as long as possible? Of course we do. But this goes deeper than that. This is about the ethics of female muscle fandom. This is about being a decent human being.

No person is Human Clay. No person should ever feel obliged to do anything against their will for any reason whatsoever. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a muscular girlfriend. It’s quite another thing to use coercive measures to make that dream come true. Even if you’re a Gym Bro who thinks they have good intentions at heart, odds are not everyone around you will agree. Being a Reluctant Girlfriend is like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Of course you want to look fabulous and sexy. But what are you willing to sacrifice in order to do that? And who is allowed to define what “fabulous and sexy” even means?

If I could snap my fingers and magically make a Sexy Powerful Muscle Goddess appear right before my very eyes, I wouldn’t think twice about doing it. But alas we don’t live in a universe where such miracles are possible. While it never hurts to dream, it can hurt the ones we love if we bully them into fulfilling our dreams – regardless if such a thing is even feasible in the first place.

Autumn Cleveland is heating it up.

At the end of the day, the awkward relationship between Gym Bro and Reluctant Girlfriend is probably never going to go away. It will always be here with us until the world comes to an end. Or until we discover a secret potion that miraculously transforms a humble bumpkin into Muscle Cinderella. If that ever happens, instead of a glass slipper, would the Handsome Prince go around town seeing whose torso is muscular enough to handle a weightlifting belt that was left behind?

In conclusion, we all want Cindy Landolt to be our girlfriend. But women who actually look like her are not so common. So accept that. Understand that we can’t always get what we want, just like The Rolling Stones once reminded us. But, as they also remind us, we get what we need:

A loving companion who joyfully goes to the gym with you but doesn’t want to lift super heavy. It may not fulfill all your dirty desires, but it’s much more realistic. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

The lesson to be learned is this: don’t pressure her to be a bodybuilder. Let her get her workout in, kiss her on the cheek, and tell her “I love you the way you are.” And if she’d rather stay at home and play Candy Crush Saga while you’re across town busting your tail at the squat rack, let her…even if you’d rather watch her bust her tail while jealous onlookers stare at you with envy in their hearts.

Let her be who she wants to be. Period.

That is how you live happily ever after.

A Most Magnificent Body of Work – Part One of Five

Tall muscle goddess Maria Wattel.

One more set, Debbie. That’s it. Just one more set.

Looking up at the bench press bar, Deborah knows she has only one more set of ten repetitions remaining before her chest workout would come to an end. Then she could cool down, work on her abs, shower, buy a protein smoothie, and go home.

At this point Deborah has worked her way up to benching 275 pounds. The only woman currently in the weight room, all eyes are on her and she’s well aware of it. Some men are rooting for her, others are hoping she will fail. But Deborah is determined to prove everybody wrong. Even her supporters.

“Alright, time to do this motherfucker,” Deborah whispers to no one in particular.

Deborah places both hands on the bar, equidistant apart, and lies down on the bench. Her forehead is dry, not a single drop of sweat is left remaining in her body. She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and imagines herself pumping this bar up and down ten times before putting it back on the rack. She can do this. She’s done this many times before. Even with all these idiots watching her. For her, pre-visualization is the key to success. If you cannot imagine yourself doing it, how can you actually do it?

Time to do it, Debbie. Time to make yourself stronger. Stronger than you’ve ever been before.

She opens her eyes, focuses on the ceiling fan above her, grips the bar tight with both hands, and lifts the bar off the rack.

Deep breath in.

Down, exhale, up. One.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Two.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Three.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Four.

Inhale. Slight exhale. Another inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Five.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Six.

Deep inhale. Holy shit. This is getting tough. Dammit.

Down, exhale, up. Seven.

Her eyes burn when a drip of sweat seeps into her eye socket. She was under the impression her body had no sweat left in it. She is wrong.

Fuck.

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Eight.

Fuck!!!

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up. Nine.

Oh, shit. She has to give up. Her arms tremble. She feels her elbows start to wobble. She’s going to drop the bar and smash her neck in half. She needs a spotter. But no! She refuses to give up. Nobody tells Deborah she can’t do anything. Fuck that shit. Deborah can do whatever the fuck she wants. Fuck the world. Fuck her doubters. Fuck anybody who thinks she’s a weakling because she’s a woman. Fuck that!!!

Inhale.

Down, exhale, up, up, up, up!

Just a little bit more….

Ten.

Deborah groans loudly, her booming voice reverberating across the room. She couldn’t care less if she’s distracting her fellow exercisers. This is all about her, nobody else. Fuck everybody else.

On the verge of collapsing, Deborah places the bar back on the rack and drops her arms to the floor. She’s gasping for air harder than a heavyweight prize fighter after the twelfth round. Her chest feels so tight it could burst with the prick of a needle. Her arms feel like jelly. She doubts she can move a single muscle until tomorrow morning.

But she has to move. She can’t spend the night and sleep here. No way. No fucking way.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. This is a classic case of mind vs. matter. And in Deborah Frost’s case, her mind won. She kicked matter’s ass. Big time. Oh yeah.

Yet another tall muscle goddess, this time it’s Shawn Tan.

After a minute or two (which felt like an hour), Deborah sits up, grabs her towel, and wipes herself off. She then stands up, wipes down the bench, and proceeds to take the weight plates off the bar and place them back where they belong. Her “audience” has moved on and returned to their own little worlds. She just bench pressed all that fucking weight and her doubters are left to eat their own shit. Let them eat shit.

Time to do some ab work.

Deborah’s tall 6 foot 2 inch frame is covered from head to toe with big, thick muscles. As ripped as a professional bodybuilder and athletic as an Olympic gymnast, Deborah Frost is a unique, one-of-a-kind physical specimen. She doubts anybody in the world has ever had a body quite like hers. And she’s determined to make sure it stays that way.

At 27 years old, Deborah is certainly young enough to still be in the prime of her physical potential. Everything depends on her work ethic. And her work ethic is off the charts.

Forty-five minutes later, Deborah is stark naked and standing at a shower stall, feeling the hot water cascade off her strong, muscular body. She is not alone, showering alongside a short elderly woman, a grossly obese high school girl, and a young ditzy blonde who looks like she could be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

Mmmm. Delicious. She’d love to lick her sweet pussy. She looks so soft, so sweet. She must smell like roses.

But Deborah isn’t usually into girls like her. She prefers women like Cassandra, her long-time girlfriend who lives with her. Like Deborah, Cassandra is as strong as an ox and refuses to let anybody tell her she can’t do anything. She’s just got back home after serving an eight month-long tour of duty in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines. Cassandra was wounded when a road-side bomb hit her patrol vehicle, lodging a long piece of metal into her left leg. She sees a physical therapist every single day to help her recover.

But all Deborah could think about is fantasizing about Cheerleader Girl. That, and getting clean. Maybe she should focus more on getting clean.

Cheerleader Girl turns off her shower and walks away to her towel hanging on the wall. Deborah watches her curvy, round butt sway from side to side as she struts. Deborah can feel an electrical current pulsate between her legs. God, she needs release. Really bad. All this pent-up energy can’t be taken out through a workout. She needs a good, old-fashioned fuck.

Cassandra can help her with this when she gets home.

Gorgeous blonde FBB Cindy Phillips.

After her shower, Deborah quickly dresses and buys a small protein smoothie at the gym’s food bar. Her preference is banana strawberry. It’s fucking fantastic.

“Thank you. Have a good night,” the Smoothie Guy says. Deborah cannot remember his name to save her life and it’s beyond the point of embarrassment to ask him again. So she just smiles and nods as pleasantly as she can.

“You’re welcome. See you next time!”

He’s cute. A bit short and pudgy, his dark hair and perpetual five o’clock shadow is too irresistible to ignore. Deborah hasn’t had sex with a guy in nearly a decade, but she’d consider it if Smoothie Guy ever mustered up the courage to ask her. Or the foolishness to ask her. Same thing.

“See you tomorrow, right?” The Front Desk Gal asks.

“Yup, tomorrow. For sure. Today was chest day, so tomorrow is back and shoulders. Got to balance yourself out, you know what I mean?” Front Desk Gal nods. Deborah flashes her a subtle smile and sashays out of the gym.

The time approaches 10:30 p.m., which is a little bit later than she’s used to working out. Today she had a late start because she had to drive Cassandra to and from her therapy appointment. Usually she can snag a ride from her sister, but not today. Today, Cassie’s sister was meeting with her brand new sugar daddy. Deborah hopes things work out this time. Heaven knows she needs one right now.

Tonight, Deborah parked her car in the back lot. The gym’s super popular Zumba teacher taught back-to-back classes today so the front lot was completely full when Deborah arrived. Oh well. It could be worse. Heck, odds are stupid aerobic classes like that keep the gym in business. So she doesn’t have a whole lot to complain about.

Deborah fumbles with her car keys. She really needs to simplify how many damn keys she carries around in her tiny purse–

“Miss Frost?”

Deborah turns around to see whose voice it is that called out her name. It’s pitch black outside, so it’s nearly impossible to properly see who it is.

“Yes? Who is it?”

Standing next to a broken light post smoking a cigarette is a thin man wearing a black overcoat, a burgundy red fleece scarf, and a light gray fedora. The man approaches her nonchalantly. Even though she has every reason to feel threatened, she remains calm and collected. The man takes one last drag and tosses the cigarette on the ground. He steps on it for good measure.

“Good evening. Don’t feel alarmed. I’m not with the paparazzi or anything like that,” the man says. “I know people like that are constantly swarming you.”

“From time to time. But not for a while.” Deborah briefly dated in college a guy who was the school’s stud quarterback. He was drafted in the top ten and played two seasons in the NFL before overdosing on heroin. Deborah had broken up with him prior to his death, but the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sudden passing made her the subject of a criminal investigation. His fame, combined with her unusual muscular body, created a temporary media firestorm. Eventually, her name was cleared and she resumed living her life as normal.

Mysterious man wearing a fedora and smoking a cigarette.

She and William never had sex because he was secretly gay but refused to publicly come out. She was just a “girlfriend” for show. He felt like being outed would hurt his chances of playing in the pros. He wasn’t totally wrong. She went along with the charade as long as she received a cut of his paycheck. He agreed to this arrangement. Their phony relationship resulted in her receiving $15,000 per month from him in cash. They were both happy with this “business arrangement.” They both benefitted. But eventually even that had to come to an end, like everything does.

“I’m glad. It’s good to see your life has returned back to the way it was.”

“What do you want? An autograph?”

The Thin Fedora Man takes another step toward her. Deborah’s heart rate increases slightly.

“Oh, no. I’m not looking for that at all. I’m actually here to deliver a message to you. Would you like to hear it? I believe you will find it financially rewarding.” Deborah’s ears perk up at the mention of money. Due to her living life as a professional bodybuilder – which pays very little – and Cassandra having to spend so much of her money on therapy sessions, money is always tight with them. Always.

“Go away.” Deborah unlocks her car and takes one step toward it.

“Very well. As you wish. I will inform my client that you have refused his offer before even hearing it. He will be quite displeased with this news.” The Thin Fedora Man turns around and walks away. Impulsively, Deborah shouts back at him.

“Wait! Come back. I want to hear your offer.” The Thin Fedora Man stops dead in his tracks and smiles. He turns around and faces Deborah, a woman who is by far the most muscular he’s ever seen in his life.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I want to hear it. Go on.” How fucking pathetic does she look right now? Deborah shudders at the thought of her actually talking to a complete stranger who claims to represent someone interested in giving her a lot of money…

“Fantastic. I will not reveal my client’s name, but he will reveal himself if you choose to meet with him. He is offering you this: My client wants to spend one evening with you at a location of his choosing. The time parameters will be agreed upon beforehand,” he says.

“During this time together, he asks that you allow him to do whatever he pleases with you. Whatever he pleases, if I may reiterate that crucial point. Don’t worry, no physical or psychological harm will come to you. He can assure you of that. In return, you will receive $1 million in cash on the spot. No questions asked. No need to do anything else after that.”

Deborah can smell Thin Fedora Man’s smoky breath from several paces away. She tries to not cough. The struggle is real.

“Wow. That’s quite an offer. I’ll give you and your client credit. I’ve never been approached before about something so elaborate. But my answer is still no,” Deborah says. She begins to walk away toward her car for the second time.

“He figured you would immediately refuse. I also can sympathize with your reaction. This is why he’s offering you this ahead of time.” Thin Fedora Man takes out a white envelope from his coat pocket and hands it to Deborah. “It’s $10,000 in cash. Straight up. Even if you ultimately refuse my client’s offer, the money is still yours. No need to return it. Go ahead. Open it. It’s yours.”

Cautiously, Deborah takes the envelope from him and opens it. She peers inside. Sure enough, a thick stack of 100 dollar bills greets her. She gasps.

“Fuck me. You’re not joking around,” she mutters under her breath.

An envelope full of cash.

“No, he is not,” Thin Fedora Man chuckles. “Also inside this envelop is a business card with a phone number that you are to call if you would like to take him up on his generous offer. You have 48 hours to respond. If he does not hear from you, he will then pursue other potential candidates for this particular escapade. Understood?”

Unable to believe her eyes, Deborah looks up at Thin Fedora Man and nods her head faintly. “Yes, I understand completely.”

“Good! We look forward to your response. Have a pleasant rest of your evening, Miss Frost.”

And just like that, Thin Fedora Man turns around and calmly walks away. He gets inside a car parked several yards away and turns on the engine. Deborah still has not moved an inch since looking at the stack of bills. She sees red break lights illuminate the pitch black parking lot as the vehicle driven by the enigmatic man backs up. A chill runs down her spine.

“Holy hell. Is this guy for real?” she says to herself.

Dumbstruck and clutching the envelope as if her life depended upon it, Deborah can do nothing but watch Thin Fedora Man’s car speed off toward the main highway, leaving behind a thin trail of dust floating around in the darkness.

To be continued…

The Erotic Dreams of Max Shimura: Episode Five – Gym Rats (part one of two)

If Mavi Gioia worked out at my gym, I’d go every single day!

Rumor has it that after the gym closes, one customer in particular is allowed to remain behind and finish her workout.

Max heard this rumor from a front desk employee who can’t keep a secret to save his life. As a frequent member of East Heights Fitness Center, Max is privy to the latest gossip going on among its members and staff. But this latest piece of gossip is the juiciest because of who it involves.

Tanya.

Tanya is without question the most beautiful and angelic woman Max has ever laid eyes on. With an imposing 6 foot 4 inches frame, she is a competitive female bodybuilder who has won numerous competitions over the years. She is by far the most muscular woman he’s ever seen. In fact, she’s probably the most muscular human being he’s ever seen, and that includes all the men who work out at the gym.

She’s the total package: Beautiful, tall, enormously muscular, funny, intelligent, kind, hardworking, successful, famous, and undeniably sexy. She’s a mini celebrity in town and a much bigger celebrity within the pro bodybuilding community. Max has been going to this gym for three years now, but he knew about her legend before he signed his membership contract. Everyone knows who Tanya is and what she’s accomplished during her illustrious career.

He has even spoken to her a few times. She’s very personable and doesn’t mind chatting before or after her workouts, but never during. In fact, she gets very upset with you if you bother her during her lifting sessions. This is why she prefers to work out later in the evenings. There are fewer people around, better availability of equipment and not nearly as many distractions.

A typical weight room.

So when Gus, the chatty front desk guy, told Max that recently Tanya has requested that the gym stay open specifically for her, he figured it makes sense she would ask for this. Gus claims Tanya can stay as late as she wants just as long as she cleans up after herself and turns off all the lights and locks the door after she’s finished. The owner knows her well and Tanya holds enough clout to do whatever the hell she wants. Tanya considers the gym to be her work place, so she wants an optimal environment to get to work.

“She sure is something special, isn’t she?” Gus says to Max. It’s 10:30 p.m., which means the gym closes in an hour and a half. Max has just gotten to the gym and has yet to start his warmup cardio. He usually chats with Gus for a minute or two before heading upstairs to the treadmill area.

“Who, Tanya?”

“No, your Fairy Godmother. Yes, of course Tanya! She’s fucking beautiful,” Gus says.

Max and Gus share a laugh. Today is Thursday (which is Max’s Saturday, which explains why he’s here at the gym so late in the evening), so according to her usual schedule she should be walking in any time now. Most of the crowd has left by now, but a few stragglers continue to lift late into the night in hopes of catching a glimpse of her. Most of the guys admit that they feel much more motivated to lift when Tanya’s around. They all want to impress her. Nobody wants to feel weak around her. If a rising tide lifts all ships, Tanya’s very presence inspires everyone around her to work that much harder.

“Without a doubt, she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life. Speaking of which…” Before Max could finish his sentence, she walks in. Strutting in wearing grey sweat pants, a burgundy red tank top and Beats By Dre headphones around her thick neck, Tanya’s celebrity status is palpable. All eyes; both male and female, young and old, those who are in shape and those who are completely out of shape; are fixated on her. Everyone’s undivided attention is drawn to her whenever she enters the room. Tonight is no exception. Max forgets to breathe. Gus freezes in place and ignores an incoming phone call. It can wait.

At 6’4”, she would be eye-popping even if she weren’t so muscular or beautiful. Tanya has striking emerald green eyes, long jet black hair, and dark umber brown skin that looks as smooth as velvet. Max couldn’t quite figure out what ethnicity she is, but regardless, she’s a perfect genetic mix. Sharp jaw line, legs that stretch out forever and enough muscle to put a roaring lion to shame, Tanya’s brawny physique is matched by few. Her perfect combination of muscularity, size, height, beauty and femininity is the reason why she’s so incredibly successful in all facets of life.

Except her love life. In one of the few conversations they’ve had together, Tanya once told Max she’s given up on dating men because they’ve all been jerks to her. Max insisted that not all guys are like that, but she’s put that behind her and insists she’s only interested in being with women right now (yes, she’s bisexual). Max made a vow after that to one day show her that there are good guys out there who will treat her with the respect and reverence she deserves.

Denise Masino showing off what she does best: Giving guys like me heart attacks.

Tanya waves to the two star-struck guys as she walks toward the women’s locker room. Max is surprised he doesn’t faint.

After snapping back to reality, Max grabs a sweat towel from the front desk, wishes Gus a good day, and proceeds to begin his workout.

Seventy minutes later, Max is finishing his evening with light cardio on an elliptical machine. He watches below as Tanya squats 350 pounds for an astonishing 15 repetitions. A small crowd gathers around her as she grunts her way to the end of her set. Cheers erupt all over when she finishes. Her gorgeous face covered in sweat, Tanya smiles and takes a bow to her audience. The people scatter as she takes a drink of water from her bottle and rests a moment before her next set.

Midnight approaches. Gus makes an announcement over the PA system reminding people that the gym closes in ten minutes. Max, feeling in an odd mood, decides he wants to see what exactly Tanya does when she works out alone. Recklessly, with an unexpected streak of lust and curiosity storming through him, Max sees a broom closet located near the dressing rooms and sneakily approaches it. The door opens. Max is aware that Gus and his crew don’t always run a tight ship, so he is not surprised that the door is unlocked. He closes it quickly and waits inside in total darkness.

“What the fuck am I doing?” Max whispers to himself. Seriously! What the fuck is he doing? Staying behind after everyone has left just so he can spy on Tanya’s lonely workout? What kind of a creep is he? Minutes pass as Max ponders these questions. He estimates that twenty minutes have gone by. Then thirty minutes. Finally, he hears this brief conversation:

“That’s about it, Tanya. Enjoy the rest of your workout. You know what to do from here,” Gus says.

“Thank you, darling. Good night!” Tanya replies.

Theresa Ivancik is redefining what “happy hour” is all about.

Max hears footsteps and then total silence. The music has stopped playing over the PA. The clanks of weights hitting the floor have ceased. The humming of the treadmills can be heard no longer. He and Tanya are definitely the only ones left inside the gym. Boldly, Max opens the closet door and exits. The gym is significantly darker than usual. Only a portion of the lights are on, mostly near the weight room. He walks toward the light cautiously.

He peeks around the corner, and sure enough, he sees Tanya all alone. She has moved on from squats and is now engaging in leg presses. She’s lifting 1,080 pounds for 10 reps. Wow! Max gets down on his knees to hide himself better. For nearly 15 minutes, he watches Tanya blast her quads on the leg press machine while buckets of sweat pour from her body. Max would do anything to be able to taste her salty goodness.

After finishing her leg press set, Tanya goes to her gym bag, takes a long swig of water, and puts the bottle away. She takes the earbuds out of her ears and places her phone in her bag. Is she done with her workout? Is she going to head back to the locker room, which means Max is going to have to find a new hiding place? Is she planning to–

Before Max could finish his thought, Tanya reaches down and pulls down her shorts to the floor. She kicks them away to the side. Max’s jaw drops to the floor when he sees her tight, rounded butt in full form. Then she removes her workout shirt and tosses it in her bag. Wearing a black sports bra, her ripped back captivates Max’s attention.

I need Autumn Raby as my personal trainer.

What on Earth is she doing? Why is she stripping naked in the gym?

The bra comes off. She drops it to the floor. Max’s heart momentarily stops. A moment later, she is completely nude. Max has not moved an inch. Covered from head to toe with large ripped muscles, Tanya’s chiseled physique is both awe-inspiring and indescribable.

Max may not be able to move, but he can still attempt to process what he’s seeing right before his very eyes. Does she prefer to work out in the nude? Does it make her lifts easier to complete? Or is she overheated and needs to allow her skin to “breathe” now that no one is around? Or is she…

“Come on out, Max. I know you’re out there somewhere.”

Max’s heart has jumped upward near this throat. How the hell did she see him?

“It’s okay,” Tanya teases. “Come on out, I won’t bite!”

To be continued…

A Female Muscle Fan Never Forgets the Moment When He or She Finally “Got It”

A legend of the world of female bodybuilding: Cory Everson.

A legend of the world of female bodybuilding: Cory Everson.

You never forget your first time.

The first time you ever had sex? Nah, I’m talking about the first time you “got it.”

And by “got it,” I mean the exact moment when you truly understood why muscular women are so unbelievably awesome.

This “ah ha” moment is not just an epiphany, but a wholesale perspective shift of how you view men, women, beauty, sexuality, relationships, biology, and your own hidden desires. Typically known as a “paradigm shift” in academic circles, it’s more than just the moment you realized it was Professor Plum in the Library with the Revolver while playing a lackluster game of Clue with your grandparents. It’s the moment you decided to question every assumption you used to hold about human sexuality and start to ask better and more informed ones.

What exactly do I mean? Let me explain in further detail.

The first time you see a photo or a video clip of a muscular woman is not necessarily the first time you “get it.” I can speak for myself when I say the lightbulb did not turn on instantaneously. It took time. I will admit the first time I remember seeing a picture of a female bodybuilder I was sort of disgusted. It took me aback and forced me to do a double-take. I didn’t say anything out loud, but in my head I knew what I was seeing was both jarring and strangely intriguing.

Did I love the experience or hate the experience? Well, it’s hard to say. Neither, really.

I didn’t realize the exact power and allure of muscular women until much later (adulthood, to be exact), but the seeds were sown. But alas, I still had not experienced my Great Female Muscle Awakening. That happened in college. I’ve summarized my own personal history of female muscle fetishism before, but I’ll briefly recap it again. In short, during my freshman year in college I wanted to avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15” where new college kids who’ve just moved away from home tend to gain upwards to 15 pounds due to poor dieting, excessive drinking, and other shenanigans. Being away from Mom and Dad’s bird nest has consequences, after all.

So, I went out of my way and researched how to best exercise at the gym and avoid gaining extra weight. My school had a modest yet effective fitness center (of course, they completely renovate it the moment after I graduate!) that I would visit a few times a week. I took a weightlifting class in high school two years earlier but figured I should brush up on exercise techniques so I don’t accidentally injure myself.

YouTube and Google Videos were still in their infancy (yes, I’m getting old), but online workout videos did exist nevertheless. Initially, I only watched exercise instructional videos posted by guys. Then, after searching more and more, I started to stumble upon videos posted by women (or videos featuring women). One video in particular struck me.

It’s grainy, embarrassingly pixilated and looks like it was shot with a camcorder from the 1980s. Perhaps it was. But it featured Lisa Marie Bickels, a low-level competitive female bodybuilder, former U.S. Marine, and personal trainer. The video unto itself was not remarkable, well produced, or intended to be well produced. However, it left an indelible impact on me. I had seen photos and a limited number of videos of muscular women before, but this one produced my “ah ha” moment.

No skimpy dress will get in the way of showing off Lisa Marie Bickels' incredible body.

No skimpy dress will get in the way of showing off Lisa Marie Bickels’ incredible body.

In it, Lisa is doing a set of triceps pull-downs at the gym. After finishing, she poses for the camera and flexes her pumped arm. You can clearly see her ripped triceps running down her beautiful arm. I did some further research on Miss Bickels on her website and it then hit me.

She’s beautiful. And powerful. And independent. She’s willing to show off her hard-earned body and I cannot do anything but sit here and stare helplessly.

Whoa. Now I get it.

Lisa was the first FBB I ever saw who was young, undeniably feminine, muscular, and fiercely powerful (both as a person and as an object of beauty). Of course, in the decade that would follow I would view countless more videos of other FBBs doing similar things, but you never forget your first time. Ever.

Like losing your virginity, the first time you ever had sex wasn’t necessarily the best sex you ever had. It was probably awkward. Or painful. You may not have known what you were doing. Maybe you were sweating profusely. Maybe you were drunk, stoned, or nervous as hell. Regardless, it’s still noteworthy because…well, it was your first time. That’s important!

Likewise, Lisa Marie Bickels isn’t necessarily the best or most accomplished female bodybuilder in the world. Nor is she the most famous or best shining example of the beauty of strong women. But she opened my eyes to a whole new world. For that, this hardcore U.S. Marine deserves my respect.

The second part of my “awakening” would happen once I became acquainted with Karen Zaremba. Oh boy, Karen is a thing of beauty! Shortly after discovering Miss Bickels, I inevitably also stumbled upon videos of Karen Zaremba, a 40-something female bodybuilder and mother of two children. Karen is the flip side of the coin to Lisa. Karen is equally gorgeous, feminine, muscular (though not hypermuscular), and enthralling. But she is an older woman. At the time, Lisa looked to be in her mid-20s, which was not far off from where I was as an 18-year-old freshman. But Karen was a game-changer.

How can your perspective not change after discovering Karen Zaremba?

How can your perspective not change after discovering Karen Zaremba?

There is, of course, a certain acronym used to describe beautiful women who are also mothers. Out of respect for these wonderful and accomplished women, I refuse to use it. I hope the rest of you do the same. It’s crude, misogynist, and incredibly disrespectful. Don’t use it. Please.

That being said, Karen is without question a gorgeous older woman who instantly cast a spell upon this teenage boy. For the first time, I realized that muscles are the ultimate anti-aging remedy. Normally, middle aged women do not pique the interest of impressionable teenage boys with raging hormones. But Karen did. At the time, I considered her the Most Beautiful Woman I’ve Ever Seen in My Life. Other women would later replace Karen for that title, but a decade ago she was #1.

My discovery of Lisa Marie Bickels and Karen Zaremba set off a firestorm that would result in me starting this blog a few years after graduating from college. I would learn about hundreds of more competitive bodybuilders, fitness models, and “normal” women for whom lifting is more than just a casual hobby. But none of that would have happened without my fateful “awakening” as an 18-year-old kid.

As I mentioned before, that wasn’t the exact moment I first discovered muscular women. There was the cover of Red Sonja (1985) at a video rental store that made me stop dead in my tracks and stare. I’ve never seen this cheesy 1980s action flick starring Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger, nor do I ever have the inclination to. But regardless, the cover of the VHS tape caught my attention as a little boy.

Then there was the photo spread of Cory Everson in the 1999 issue of The Guinness Book of World Records. That definitely caught my attention. I reacted to this photo of Miss Everson with a mind-blowing mixture of disgust and arousal. Yes, I will admit that initially I looked upon Cory with repulsion. I’m not proud to admit this, but honesty is the best policy, is it not? However, I cannot deny that a small part of me was captivated by her. I may not have totally liked what I saw, but I could not look away. I spent many hours secretly gazing at this photo in private and wondering all sorts of things about her.

I also grew up watching WWF (now the WWE) and seeing women like Chyna (may she rest in peace), Sable, Jacqueline,  Trish Stratus, Debra, and other prance around, beat each other to a pulp, and occasionally show their male counterparts who’s boss. I also grew up watching GoldenEye (1995) on VHS and getting an electric thrill up my spine whenever Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onnatop flashed onto the screen. If episodes of “Xena: Warrior Princess” came on TV, yeah…I’d watch it in the basement without my family finding out!

May I squeeze Charmaine Patterson's bicep?

May I squeeze Charmaine Patterson’s bicep?

So my experience with strong/powerful/muscular women did not start as a college freshman. It began much earlier. But I didn’t “get it” until Miss Bickels and Miss Zaremba entered my life.

So, what exactly did I finally “get?” I have two major observations:

One, I finally saw a superb example of muscularity and traditional femininity working in tandem together like never before.

I didn’t find the photo of Cory Everson arousing, even though I intuitively knew there was something exceptional about it. I did find Famke Janssen and Trish Stratus immensely sexy, but neither of them were very muscular. I knew muscular women existed and I definitely knew beautiful non-muscular women existed, but I never saw the two combined until I encountered Lisa, Karen, and others.

Sometimes, that’s all it takes. It’s not that you’re blind to reality, but rather you just need to see all the elements come together in order for you to believe that it’s possible. As a young teenager I probably knew that a muscular woman could be sexy. I just never thought much about it. It’s not that I doubted this; it just rarely crossed my mind in the first place.

It never occurred to me that a gorgeous woman with muscles can become even more gorgeous. Her muscles can become a complementary asset that accentuates the natural beauty she already has. Her muscles enhance her good looks. I’ve obviously seen beautiful women before. I’ve also seen muscular women before. But it wasn’t until I saw the perfect mixture of the two that my perspective started to change.

Two, I finally realized that muscles can transform a normal-looking woman into an Irresistible Sex Goddess.

I too fell into the trap once upon a time ago that female bodybuilders were sort of freaks of nature who should be admired for their accomplishments but not necessarily seen as objects of desire. Yes, I was also once young and dumb! But I know better now thanks to finally seeing the light.

In addition to realizing that a woman with muscles can be both beautiful and feminine at the same time, I also came to the epiphany that a woman who isn’t considered naturally attractive can transform herself into an epic muscle goddess just by putting on bulk at the gym. I won’t name specific names, but we can probably all think of “homely” women who are hot as hell because their thick legs, bulging biceps, and wide shoulders make them completely irresistible.

Without muscles, these women aren’t much to look at. This sounds like an insult, but it’s not. It’s just a simple observation and a testament to the power of muscularity.

As women who have “earned” their beauty, we applaud them for maximizing who they are as people (not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually) thanks to hard work, sacrifice, and the will to improve day-by-day. Nobody handed them their muscles on a silver platter. They had to expend buckets of sweat for years on end in order to achieve their remarkable physiques.

I now appreciate the beauty of the tall blonde goddess Shawn Tan.

I now appreciate the beauty of the tall blonde goddess Shawn Tan.

Once you have your “ah ha” moment, you feel silly for not realizing this sooner. You feel foolish for intentionally shutting yourself off from a whole category of human beauty. It’s like a poor person living underneath an ocean of oil or a gold mine. They move to a new city, disgruntled and searching for new economic opportunities. A year or two later, the new property owner randomly stumbles upon a suspicious leak of smelly black fluid seeping from the ground.

And voilà! He or she is now rich and you’re still adjusting to your new surroundings as poor as you were when you left. Shucks!

That’s sort of how I felt when I first discovered my love for muscular women. I felt like I was limiting my scope of the world. I felt like I had a narrow definition of “beauty” that did not include a fraction of what humanity had to offer. But now that my eyes have been opened, I now appreciate women like Annie Rivieccio and Shawn Tan as I did not before. People who do not share my love for these gorgeous ladies are truly missing out!

The reason why you never forget your “first time” is because of how beautiful the experience is of enjoying female bodybuilders. Unlike the virginity comparison, even before you ever start having sex you know that sex is (supposed) to be a pleasurable and amazing experience. But before getting into female bodybuilders, I had no idea about the potential these women had to offer. I could never imagine the world of female muscle could be so incredible and stupefying because it never occurred to me it could be so incredible and stupefying. This is another key aspect of our “awakening.” I knew even as a little boy that sex is a big deal. I had no clue FBBs were also a big deal. See what I mean?

Additionally, not only do you finally “get it,” but you now have the opportunity to indulge in this love over and over again. Those of us who love FBBs and fit women understand what it’s like to enjoy them. The tingling that goes down your spine as you watch a sexy woman deadlift or squat 400 pounds cannot be accurately described. I don’t know if I can do it any justice.

But it doesn’t matter. You know a beautiful experience when you are privileged to participate in one. The Female Bodybuilder High we get is difficult to put into words, but it is indeed a tangible thing. It’s very real, and its power has not diminished in the past 12 or so years of my life.

You never forget the moment you got it. Not because you regret your previous ambivalence toward female bodybuilders, but because you can now celebrate your newfound love for them. Our worlds are now brighter because of this awareness.

Female bodybuilders are beautiful beyond words. The fact we cannot put it into words is telling.

Envy: The Deadly Sin of Female Bodybuilding

It's understandable to see why some people might be envious of Tatiana Anderson.

It’s understandable to see why some people might be envious of Tatiana Anderson.

Not many of us may be familiar with or sympathetic to the teachings of the early Christian church, but most of us have heard of “The Seven Deadly Sins” at some point.

Whether you’ve seen David Fincher’s classic 1995 film “Se7en” or you just happen to be well-versed in the ethics of medieval Christendom, The Seven Deadly Sins are:

  1. Wrath
  2. Greed
  3. Sloth
  4. Pride
  5. Lust
  6. Envy
  7. Gluttony

These seven vices are associated with self-indulgence and contribute to the fall of humanity. While changing social mores throughout time might knock a few of these sins off their perch, we still to this day regard many of these behaviors with shame.

Female bodybuilding, to switch gears just a bit, is in a position of both strength and weakness right now. On one hand, the popularity of CrossFit, Fitbit, hybrid workouts, customized personal training and fitness apps is making it less taboo for women to lift weights and exercise hard. These trends may not necessarily lead more women down the path of bodybuilding, but the doors are definitely more open than they were in generations past.

On the other hand, the sport of female bodybuilding is being more and more marginalized as the years go on. Elite, hyper-muscular female athletes are being pushed out of the industry while more watered-down “fitness” and “bikini” competitors are taking their place. Pretty soon, it’s not inconceivable that the Ms. Olympia competition may not exist anymore. Competitions involving highly muscular female bodybuilders will definitely still persist, but they’ll most likely receive less mainstream support than they did before.

The gorgeous Debbie Leung flexing her bicep.

The gorgeous Debbie Leung flexing her bicep.

For fans of female bodybuilding, this is a tragedy that feels both inevitable and sadly predictable. We hope this day never arrives, but one can certainly see which direction the tide is turning.

That being said, how does one explain this downgrading of the sport many of us love so much? One of The Seven Deadly Sins may offer a plausible explanation.

Envy.

Let us explore this issue in greater detail.

  1. Envy, in both men and women, is contributing to the assault against female bodybuilding

Unfortunately, the attack against female bodybuilding is coming from two different directions: men and women. Let’s first start with men.

Traditionally-speaking, men are considered to be the “stronger sex” while women are, by default, dubbed the “weaker sex.” There is biological data to back this up, as well as centuries of culturally imposed gender roles – spanning across the entire globe – that contribute to this well-entrenched social paradigm. The concept of men being naturally stronger than women is something we didn’t have to learn in school. Most of us know this by our own accord.

Therefore, when we (and by “we,” I’m referring to us guys as a whole) encounter a woman who’s clearly stronger than us, we feel emasculated. We’re supposed to be the stronger ones, not the losers coming in second place. If you’re at the gym and you see a lady deadlifting two or four 45-pound plates more than you, it makes you feel puny, incomplete and a shame to your gender.

In other words, you feel envious. “Envy,” just to be clear, is defined as “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.”

I still don’t quite know the difference between “envy” and “jealousy,” (I think “jealousy” is being resentful toward another person as a result of your feelings of envy) but it’s pretty clear what’s going on here. The guys who disdain or are disgusted by female bodybuilders are more targeting their own insecurities instead of expressing their hatred toward someone else. When you see an Internet troll describe a female bodybuilder as “trying to become a man” or saying “she probably has a penis,” what they’re really doing is conveying their personal anxieties rather than stating an objective opinion.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Akila Pervis.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Akila Pervis.

Emasculation can be a powerful motivator. Or a powerful wrecking ball of other people’s accomplishments. It’s sad that more guys aren’t encouraged by women who achieve high levels of strength and muscularity. But not all of us see eye-to-eye. What some of us guys perceive to be sexy others interpret to be an attack on their manhood.

Conversely, envy among women is also at play here. Female bodybuilders may not be shattering any proverbial “glass ceilings” per se, but they do tear down certain excuses we use to justify female weakness. Like men who feel emasculated when in the presence of a muscular woman, there are most certainly women who feel “effeminated” – if such a word actually exists – by the same thing. The small number of women (but by no means insignificant) who achieves strength that surpasses the average man brings about a sense of inadequacy in the majority of women who cannot achieve similar results.

They too are repulsed by their more muscular sisters because they feel challenged not by “society” as a whole, but by their peers. It’s one thing to call yourself a “strong, independent woman” and hope the rest of the world goes along with you, but it’s another thing entirely to actually put in the effort to become a genuinely strong woman. Talk is cheap. What female bodybuilders and athletes do is definitely not.

  1. The best way to deal with envious feelings is to pretend like the object of your envy doesn’t exist

Nobody wants to feel emasculated, degraded or second rate. Nobody wants to wake up, look at themselves in the mirror, and see mediocrity reflected back at them. You feel mediocre because you can’t compare to your competition, however you define “competition.”

So what’s the best way to assure you don’t lose to your competitors? Simple. Don’t have any competitors.

Obviously, it’s impossible to snap your fingers and make everybody who is richer, smarter, stronger, better looking and more successful than you magically disappear. So the next best thing is to pretend like they don’t exist. Or, on a more practical level, deny their identity as a method of “erasing” who they actually are.

This is why the insult “she looks like a man” is so common among trolls. Women aren’t supposed to be stronger than men, so when a woman is proven to be stronger than a man, then she must not actually be a woman. She’s probably secretly a man disguised as a woman. Or a woman with biological characteristics more becoming of a man, which by association means she’s not a genuine woman. Which then means her accomplishments aren’t legitimate. And if her accomplishments aren’t legitimate, you feel better about yourself because that battle you thought you lost you then win by default.

Also flexing her beautiful bicep is Mindi O'Brien.

Also flexing her beautiful bicep is Mindi O’Brien.

Delegitimizing your opponents is a classical tactic to eliminating their victories. If you convince enough people – including yourself – that female bodybuilders are actually women with substantial male components (biological traits, hormone levels, etc.), it makes their accomplishments as elite athletes null and void. It comforts your mind knowing Alina Popa isn’t really a normal woman who, by her sheer willpower and hard work, built herself to be stronger and bulkier than most guys. She has to have an unfair advantage somewhere! Perhaps she has an unusual amount of natural testosterone hidden in her system that, scientifically speaking, makes her a “man.” Yeah, that must be it! There’s no way that she can be that buff while being 100% female. Case closed.

While it’s true many female bodybuilders take drugs that increase their capacity to build muscle mass, that doesn’t make them less of a woman. Scientific arguments aside, the point I’m trying to make is that delegitimizing the accomplishments of a female bodybuilder is the primary way critics try to pretend like the objects of their jealousy don’t exist. Deny them their identity, and you “win” because it gives you personal comfort knowing there’s nothing wrong with your own identity.

It’s a terrible thing to do, but unfortunately it’s all too common.

  1. Envy is more of a product of your own insecurity

As mentioned before, the contempt critics of female bodybuilders feel toward them is more a product of their own insecurities rather than anything else. They aren’t angry at them necessarily, but are actually angry at themselves for not doing enough to measure up.

I won’t stress this point any further, but I will add one more nugget. One of the biggest problems facing our society is the belief that someone’s accomplishment is automatically someone else’s loss. In other words, too many of us embrace the idea that life is a zero-sum game.

In case you need a refresher, a zero-sum game is “a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.”

You don’t need to be a mathematical genius in the vein of the late John Forbes Nash, Jr. to understand what this means. In sports, athletic competition is a zero-sum game. Either you win or you lose. There’s no middle ground. Yes, some sports have ties. Other sports have placements, so you can come in third or fourth place and still earn a comically oversized check. But most of the time, athletic competitions end with either an absolute winner or an absolute loser.

Stay positive. Look at the gorgeous Gina Aliotti.

Stay positive. Look at the gorgeous Gina Aliotti.

But life is not always like that. One smart kid earning an A+ on their spelling test doesn’t in any way, shape or form prevent other kids from earning a similar grade. Theoretically, every single kid in your class can earn a perfect score (logically, every kid could also earn an F). Yet when you’re the only one who earns the highest mark, why do the rest of the kids treat you with scorn? Why are you labeled a “smarty pants” or other such similar names? For whatever reason, too many of us have been taught that someone else’s gain will automatically result in everyone else’s loss. They can’t prove it, but they inherently believe that you earning the A+ means they’re left with the B- or C+ grades by default.

But life is not a zero-sum game. Seeing a strong, beautiful woman at the gym doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish the same thing. Nor does it mean she got there through some unfair advantage. Beauty doesn’t have to be a competition. Even if you aren’t gifted with a lot of natural beauty, I’ve written before that female bodybuilders earn their beauty in ways that their peers who hit the genetic jackpot don’t.

Some of the most beautiful female bodybuilders in the world have faces that aren’t traditionally pretty. Some are plain looking. Others might have faces that revolt you. But their bodies are breathtaking and deserve high praise. Regardless, one woman being beautiful doesn’t mean the woman standing next to her can’t also be beautiful. Life isn’t like that.

Perhaps this psychologically explains where envy is rooted in. We, for whatever reason, are socialized to believe that people who are successful make it harder for the rest of us to be just as successful. But this is a fallacy. Life isn’t about fighting over who gets the biggest slice of the pie. It’s about each one of us baking our own delicious pie, without any regard to what other people are doing. This may not be true in every facet of life, but we’d be better off if we all lived life in the positive rather than the negative.

  1. Envy keeps everyone down, even those who’ve reached the top

The last point is probably the most important. Envious feelings hurt everyone. Everyone. Including those who are the object of envy.

Call it “victor’s guilt.” Some people feel guilty for “winning” at life. A parent who has a healthy family might feel bad for their neighbor who can’t conceive a child no matter how hard they try. That same kid who earned the A+ on their spelling test might secretly tank their next test so that they could be more like everyone else. That rising star in the world of female bodybuilding may reduce her muscle gains so that she could encourage her less successful peers to feel better about themselves.

These reactions are understandable. They also reflect a larger issue when achieving the most you can becomes discouraged, or worse, taboo.

It goes without saying that there are many examples in life when someone’s gain truly comes at another person’s loss. But more often than not, this is not the case. Female bodybuilders are already stuck between a rock and a hard place (and I’m not just referring to their rock hard abs and firm glutes). They live a financially and emotionally draining lifestyle that’s receiving less and less support from their own industry, their own peers, the opposite gender and their own gender group. Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration, but perhaps it’s not. Either way, it’s hard out there for a female bodybuilder. The battles, both large and small, they have to face every single day is enough to boggle the mind.

If I went to the gym and saw Autumn Raby and Nadia Nardi posing like this, I'd probably have a heart attack. Oh boy...

If I went to the gym and saw Autumn Raby and Nadia Nardi posing like this, I’d probably have a heart attack. Oh boy…

How they manage to maintain their lifestyles and persist in pursuing their dreams is a testament to their inner strength, which is probably mightier than their physical strength. Not all of us are that mentally tough. Female bodybuilders are without a doubt that tough minded.

In conclusion, female bodybuilders create cognitive dissonance in our minds. Or more accurately, emotional dissonance. They spark feelings of envy within us that make us hate them even though we have no justifiable reason to actually hate them. Hate is often attributed to a lack of understanding. It’s also been described as irrational. Whichever it is, envy is at the root of all this. It is until we wrap our minds and hearts around this that we will be able to treat FBBs the way they should be treated: with great respect, not malice.

The best piece of advice I can give is to celebrate people’s accomplishments instead of dwelling on your own shortcomings, either perceived or real. This fortune cookie mantra could be applied to almost all aspects of our lives. Life is too short to hate on other people. Life is also too short to waste your time wishing you could be “better.” Who can really define “better?” This is not to justify mediocrity, but instead to point out the fact that it’s harmful to kick yourself over not being “perfect” or “better than XYZ.”

This is partly why I started my blog. I want to celebrate these beautiful women and their beautiful bodies. Not because I want to shame anyone or tear down anything, but because I want to focus on the positives in life instead of the deficits. We may not all universally agree that “envy” is a Deadly Sin, but we should agree that it tends to lead us in poor directions.

Cut out the frivolous negativity in your life, and good things will follow. And that’s a game we can all play and win.

For Female Bodybuilding Fans, Workout Videos are Our Porn

The next generation of female bodybuilding, Shannon Courtney.

The next generation of female bodybuilding, Shannon Courtney.

We all have our own vices.

Some of us like to gamble. Others like to party “in da club” till the wee hours of the morning. There are some who enjoy high-fat and high-sugary foods a little too much. How about smoking? Or excessive drinking? Or, *gasp* hitting the Mary Jane a few times here and there?

Unless you’re an ascetic monk living high in the Tibetan mountains, most of us have vices that we’re either proud of or wish would remain a secret. But let’s face it. Unless your vice hurts someone else, what’s the true harm? I, for example, am not one to claim to be a police officer of “outstanding character.”

Another popular vice that many of us share is pornography. Whether we’re talking about late night pay-per-view skin flicks, dirty magazines, snuff films, or good-old-fashioned Internet porn, we all know what we’re dealing with. Porn is everywhere in our society. On the cover of magazines, in popular movies, in clothing store advertisements, in music videos…everywhere. Not just hidden underneath your mattress or behind the playground monkey bars. Both softcore and hardcore porn (however you define either term) is saturated in our culture.

It’s so saturated, we sometimes forget what we’re seeing. Most of us would point to a Jenna Jameson video and say with definitive confidence, “That’s porn!” However, we might look at a Beyoncé music video and say, “Well, it’s not quite porn, but it is quite risqué. I would say…that’s NOT porn.” Fair enough. Everyone has the right to hold their own standards.

The real definition of “pornography” is as follows: “Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.”

This photo of Lisa Cross might give me a heart attack if I stare at it long enough. But I'd die a happy man.

This photo of Lisa Cross might give me a heart attack if I stare at it long enough. But I’d die a happy man.

Basically, porn is media that’s intended to turn you on. It doesn’t have to be explicit. It doesn’t even have to be visual. Written erotica can constitute as porn if we assume a wide all-inclusive definition. Are risqué music videos or provocative fashion ads intended to sexually arouse you? Well, not primarily. They’re intended to persuade you to buy record albums and clothing. But if the adage that “sex sells” is true – which nobody would argue it isn’t – certainly eliciting an erotic response is one of the tactics used to convert advertising media to sales.

Alright. We’ve established that porn is everywhere. We’ve also discussed that porn can manifest itself in a variety of ways, not all of them explicit. Porn can also have objectives outside of just turning you on, such as convincing you to open your wallet and buy something. Other objectives could include persuading you to think about a social issue in a different way (nude PSAs by PETA, anyone?) or inspiring you toward self-improvement (pole dance aerobics isn’t just for exercise, people!).

This all ties in to female muscle fandom, trust me. What, did you think this post would be totally unrelated to what my blog is primarily about? I start with this simple question:

As a female muscle fan, what turns you on the most?

Many of us would answer with traditional responses like FBBs masturbating, FBBs having sex with scrawny guys (or each other), FBBs dancing around in the nude, FBBs glamorously posing in the nude, etc. Essentially, we get turned on by FBBs doing things in from of the camera that traditional looking women also do in mainstream porn. But if there’s one thing I understand about female muscle lovers, it’s that we’re especially turned on by something else entirely, something that’s not necessarily X-rated.

Workout videos.

Or, more specifically, videos of female bodybuilders doing what they do best: building their bodies at the gym.

When I say “workout videos,” the image that probably immediately pops into your head is that of what Denise Austin and Jane Fonda created in the 80s and 90s. Or maybe those old-school Tao Bo videos by Billy Blanks. Ah, yes. Those were the days. The good old days of cheesy music, bad camera angles, bright yellow stretch pants and enough sweat to fill a small lake. I can’t imagine what it must’ve smelled like in those studios. Yuck.

But, no. These are not the type of workout videos I am referring to. Instead, I’m referring to amateurish or semi-professional looking videos of female bodybuilders pumping iron in the gym. They could be shot on a cell phone camera, a store bought camcorder, or perhaps an actual professional-quality video camera. They could be shot for Flex magazine, Bodybuilding.com or for the FBB’s own personal brand. Quality notwithstanding, the idea stays the same: video footage of beautiful athletes doing what they do best.

For female bodybuilding fans, workout videos are our porn. They are what turns us on the most. They titillate us unlike any other media. We find them more arousing than videos that are explicitly sexual in nature. Sound strange? Let me explain what I’m talking about.

As female bodybuilding fans, we don’t just love the final product. Yes, of course images of Alina Popa or Lisa Cross looking ripped and contest-ready can be a divine spectacle to behold, but we’re just as interested in the process it took them to look that way in addition to drooling over how they eventually look.

What’s arousing about female bodybuilders isn’t just that they look so damn sexy, it’s also the fact that they have to bust their butt in order to look that good. There’s something about the strenuous nature of bodybuilding that makes these athletes so remarkable. Female bodybuilders are especially intriguing because their looks are both unconventional and supremely difficult to attain (and maintain).

This is why a grainy 90-second clip shot on an iPhone of a female bodybuilder, completely covered in sweat pants and an old t-shirt, squatting 300+ pounds is way more erotic than watching two silicone-enhanced teeny boppers sucking on each other’s clits with awful automated music playing in the background. If I were a sheltered teenage boy, the latter might excite me like no other. But as an adult, that stuff bores me to death. It’s unexciting. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s disgusting.

Watching two nameless 18-year-old women engaging in sex acts with total lack of interest or passion while moaning from an orgasm so fake it belongs in a can of Velveeta cheese isn’t erotic. It’s dumb. It’s an insult to my intelligence. It’s sophomoric. It’s a shame to the word “erotic.” I’m not necessarily knocking on those who actually like this sort of thing (I’m just kidding – I am knocking on you!), but get with the program, people! Doesn’t authenticity count for something anymore?

Ah, yes. Now we get to the heart of the matter. Authenticity. Workout videos are authentic. I’ve seen a fair share of fake or staged workout videos, but the ones that are real are so fun to watch because it gives you a brief glimpse into the process it takes to transform a woman’s body from “sexy” to “All-Powerful Goddess.”

If more women looked like Mavi Gioia at the gym, I'd go there every single day of my life.

If more women looked like Mavi Gioia at the gym, I’d go there every single day of my life.

But it’s not just about the process of becoming a bodybuilder or the authentic nature of these videos that excite us so much. There’s something unspeakably tantalizing about watching a woman work hard to achieve her dreams. Maybe it’s because a lot of us guys aren’t accustomed to seeing women lift heavy at the gym. There’s an Internet meme that says that “A girl in the gym is much hotter than a girl in the club.” I would agree with that wholeheartedly. But why do I feel that way exactly?

Maybe it goes back to the meritocratic nature of our society. We love female bodybuilders because they earn their beauty. Not every one of us is born with a beautiful face or flawless skin. But we can (to an extent) control the rest of us. A bodybuilder does exactly that. They are in complete control of their physical selves, even to the point that it becomes an obsession. A ripped body is something you earn with your sweat and labor. Mother Nature may not have given you other natural physical gifts, but if you want six-pack abs, you can go out and get it. If you have the willpower to do whatever is necessary to get it, of course.

Another reason why we love watching women lift is because it goes against our collective history. Historically, men were the laborers and women were the caretakers. Men were expected to do all the heavy lifting, both literally and figuratively. The fact that men are naturally stronger than women explains a lot of this. But these gendered roles still in many regards persist to the present day. So when we’re in the gym – and I should hurry up and say that the “workout video” thing could also apply to stealing peeks at women lifting at the gym – and we see a cute girl deadlifting more than her own bodyweight, it’s pretty damn sexy to watch. Very damn sexy.

Breaking the old rules of male/female roles? Making an effort to sculpt a sexy body instead of relying on plastic surgery, deceptive clothing (padded bras, for example) and heavily caked-on makeup? Yes, please!

Workout videos, and seeing up-close-and-personal women lifting heavy weights, are without a doubt our porn of choice. Regardless of the production values or quality of the video footage, this excites us more than anything. Here’s an example:

On Lisa Cross’ Facebook page, she’s uploaded a short video that illustrates exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a ridiculously short clip of her squatting a ton of weight on a hack squat machine. In the brief 41-second video, we can hardly even see Lisa. We can’t see her face. Nor her full figure. In fact, she’s as completely covered as a nun. No sexy revealing clothing. Nothing glamourous happening here. But she’s lifting a jaw-dropping amount of weight. And you can clearly hear her grunting as she squats up and down. Her heavy breathing isn’t exactly orgasmic, but its resemblance is impossible to ignore. But most important, you truly get the sense that she’s working her tail off. This isn’t showing off for the camera. This isn’t staged. This isn’t theatre of any sorts. This is authentic. She’s actually working out with the real intent of getting stronger and bigger. This is the master artist in action. She didn’t earn my nickname for her, “Lisa Cross, the British Bombshell,” just by sitting on her butt, watching TV and eating potato chips all day long. She’s a beautiful sexy Goddess because she’s willing to do the dirty work a lot of us aren’t too keen to do.

That might be the best explanation yet. The Dirty Work. Porn videos are also known as “dirty videos” because they show people engaging in unclean, filthy sex acts (as dubbed by certain folks). But ironically, workout videos of FBBs doing the dirty work of heavy lifting, grunting, sweating and torturing themselves for the sake of self-improvement are way more sexually exciting than watching two nameless bozos who can’t act have unemotional sex with each other. That stuff is a dime a dozen. Witnessing an elite female bodybuilder work on her craft is like watching Laurence Olivier perform Shakespeare, Luciano Pavarotti sing opera or Itzhak Perlman play the violin. You cannot look away from watching the elites do what they do best. The rest of us mortals can only stare and passively watch.

To reiterate a previous point, men who love muscular women aren’t just interested in the final product. We’re also interested in the process it took to achieve that final product. Workout videos, and other related media, excite us for reasons we can’t fully explain. Watching that video clip of Lisa Cross – and for the record, you can hardly even tell it’s actually Lisa! – genuinely gives me the chills. It makes my heart skip a beat. It’s a feeling I can’t explain, but every female muscle fan knows what I’m talking about. But it’s not just this particular clip. It’s the thousands of others like it.

Alina Popa doing leg lifts. Debi Laszewski doing lateral pulldowns. Colette Nelson bench pressing. Brandi Mae Akers doing bicep curls. Lindsay Mulinazzi deadlifting. Jana Linke-Sippl killing her arms on a bicep machine. Shannon Courtney punishing her rock-hard quads at the gym. Mavi Gioia doing triceps extensions. The list goes on. And these are videos that I’ve seen. No doubt there are countless more like them out there on the Internet ready for us to drool over.

The larger point is that female muscle fans love strong women for a variety of reasons. It’s not just about lust or appreciating a certain aesthetic. Female bodybuilders are unique in so many ways. They have a quality to them that’s almost impossible to describe, but equally impossible to ignore. Once you’re hooked, you instantly “get it.” You understand their appeal and even begin to wonder why you didn’t notice them earlier. I honestly cannot believe why I didn’t become attracted to FBBs sooner. I really started to notice them when I was 18 and a freshman in college. And how did it start? I was researching workout videos online and stumbled upon amateurish clips of beautiful women lifting at the gym.

Well, viola! There you go. For many of us, including me, workout videos were what got us hooked in the first place. So there’s a reason why they hold a special place in our hearts. The element of sentimental value is also at play here. Maybe that explains a lot. Maybe there’s something about witnessing a beautiful woman exert herself at the gym that lights a fire inside our souls. It begins the “Madness,” as the expert blogger Female Muscle Slave puts it.

Come to think of it, calling workout videos “porn” cheapens what they mean to us. “Porn” is what people view to fulfill a momentary sexual urge. Workout videos, on the other hand, have a more spiritual component attached to them. It’s like a music lover watching Sir Georg Solti conduct Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Or a great philosopher delivering a lecture on the state of the universe. It’s poetry in motion. Watching a strong, muscular woman lift is like a religious experience, or to put it in more easy-to-digest secular terms – it is art. Female bodybuilders are artists. And watching them lift is like watching a painter paint, or a sculptor sculpt, or a musician compose.

Female bodybuilders are masterpieces of human achievement. And witnessing them transform into who they are is as enticing as it gets. Just ask any one of us. All we can do it sit back, relax and indulge in the captivating beauty on full display before our eyes.

My First Ever Up Close and Personal Encounter with a Female Bodybuilder

No, I did not meet the lovely Dena Westerfield.

No, I did not meet the lovely Dena Westerfield.

I may have written once or twice about the subject of female bodybuilders and my special attraction and fascination with them. I find them alluring, physically beautiful beyond words and intriguing on multiple levels.

But until recently, I’d never actually had a real encounter with a muscular woman. My only experiences with FBBs have been limited to web searches (Thank God for the Internet!) and what I see in the media. But that all changed two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago I was working out at the gym on a typical Saturday afternoon. I had just got done doing a grueling shoulder and back workout and had moved on to doing some stretching. The stretching mats are located next to a large room where classes are typically held; such as yoga, martial arts aerobics and dancing. On this particular day, there was a Zumba class in session with loud music blaring and rattling the whole building. Large windows showed a jam packed room full of sweaty people, most of them young attractive women, dancing their way to thinness and improved cardio vascular endurance.

During a brief water break, several ladies exited the classroom to take a drink from the water fountains. As a typical straight guy, I try to catch glimpses of all the cute girls wearing skin-tight clothing without looking like a creepy stalker. I hope I succeed on this level.

But one particular young lady caught my eye. She was short, probably no taller than 5’1” or 5’ flat. She had long brown hair that was tied in a ponytail. She was young, most likely between 25 and 30 years old. She wore tight shorts and a sports bra.

But what really made her stand out was her body. Holy cow! This woman was covered with lean, bulging muscles. It also helped that her outfit generously showed off her magnificent figure for all to see.

I didn't meet Nicole Berg either, despite the fact that she's a Pacific Northwest native.

I didn’t meet Nicole Berg either, despite the fact that she’s a Pacific Northwest native.

I don’t think she’s a professional bodybuilder, but she certainly looks like someone who takes her lifting seriously. What really struck me was the fact that I’d never seen her before. I’ve been going to this gym for more than a year and I’ve come to recognize all the “regulars.” You know who they are. I’m even on a first-name basis with some of my fellow gym rats.

But I’ve never seen her before! I’ve nicknamed her “Buff Girl” because that’s exactly who she is: really, really muscular. Not muscular like Alina Popa or Katka Kyptova, but she definitely holds her own compared to 99.999% of the women who work out at my gym regularly.

I was surprised at how quickly I noticed Buff Girl. She was in a large crowd of at least 80 to 120 other people, but my eyes immediately picked up on her amazing body. It’s more amazing considering she’s short. But nevertheless, my eyes instantly saw her large shoulders, rounded butt, thick legs and bulging biceps. And once my eyes were on her, they remained on her until the moment she ended her work out and headed back to the women’s locker room.

Forget stretching. All I could focus on was her incredible physique!

(As a side note, I don’t have a photo of her because I’m not THAT kind of guy. Besides, I never bring my phone with me when I work out. The music they play over the PA system is good enough for me.)

How would you react if you saw a woman who looked like Joanna Thomas?

How would you react if you saw a woman who looked like Joanna Thomas?

In my estimate, my eyes were on her for no more than ten minutes. Then she was gone. The Zumba class was nearing its end when I came to the stretching mats. At one point, we walked past each other when I went to the water fountain and she was going back to the classroom. I tried to check her out without staring like a hormonal teenager boy. All you readers out there should know exactly what I’m talking about. We’re all walked past Mister or Miss Dreamy on the streets and tried to feast our eyes on them without being too obvious.

Yikes! She was even more beautiful up close than from a distance. Sheesh!

Sigh. I’ll never forget my first ever up close and personal (even though I never actually SPOKE to her) encounter with a beautiful, muscular woman.

And what an experience it was.

I'd be distracted if I had to workout next to Debbie Bramwell.

I’d be distracted if I had to workout next to Debbie Bramwell.

Hopefully, sometime in the near future I’ll see her again. Maybe I’ll cleverly find a way to strike up a conversation with her. That sort of thing happens in gyms all the time. Mostly, I’m just curious to know how being a muscular woman affects how people treat her. I’d imagine she gets second and third looks all the time when in public. I would also imagine lots of creepy guys hit on her (and perhaps some ladies) and give her all sorts of unwanted attention. I definitely don’t want to be that type of guy.

So here’s to you, Buff Girl. I have no idea where you came from or where you live, but your hard work hasn’t gone unappreciated. The humble writer of this blog article unquestionably appreciates all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into crafting your physical canvas.

I just hope no one out there thinks I’m creepy!