Guys are probably the biggest tools in the gym because they’re driven by ego instead of logic, but women make their own share of mistakes that are unique to their sex. Women are torn between what they read in Shape or on some insane aerobic queen’s blog, their unqualified husband’s or boyfriend’s pontifications on diet and exercise, or society’s conflicting and confounding expectations of what a woman should look like. It’s no wonder women can’t decide between lifting weights, becoming a Crossfit wind-up toy, doing aerobics until they’re thin as a waif from Oliver Twist, or practicing so much yoga that their seven angry and overworked chakras pack up their things and go to Cabo for a weekend of volleyball, sun, and suds.
Too often women end up blending elements of all those practices and as often happens when you combine too many recipes, that dish won’t cook. Women make little progress and often end up looking worse than when they began, sometimes developing a body that’s “skinny fat,” a cruel, paradoxical condition where they appear thin in clothes, but actually have a higher body fat percentage than they did before they started to exercise because they lost muscle instead of body fat.
I’m going to assume that one of the reasons women go to the gym is to look better, and looking better usually means becoming leaner and/or acquiring more curves. Bodies, at least the most aesthetically pleasing ones, are a combination of convex and concave curves instead of straight lines. You’re a delectable and enticing mammal, not a tree. As such, you want to build muscle to build or accentuate convex curves. If you’re already blessed with convex curves, you want to create concave curves by losing fat. You accomplish either or both by smart weight lifting. Plenty of women have accepted this wonderful reality, but I still see stuff that makes me want to wear blinders. Here are some of the regrettable practices I see women making all the time.