Backhanded Compliments and Body Shaming

This week has been AWESOME in the gym! I’m still eating at a slight surplus, averaging about 1700 calories daily, though not exactly, being as I cycle my calories depending on my activity level for the day, and hitting PRs in the gym daily. This week, I PRed last week’s military press PR, even! Last week I managed 80×3, and this week, I hit 85×3, followed by 80×3 without too much struggle. Awesome, right?! Especially considering my upper body work has been pretty limited since surgery four months ago, I’m super jazzed about it.

These delts can strict press a Newborn Texas Longhorn. THREE times. Yeah.


The best part, though, is that I have grown a butt. Yes a butt. And I am, well, I’m obsessed with it. I’ve never had a butt. Not even when I was much, much heavier. I mean, I did, but, it wasn’t a NICE butt. It was, well, a kind of flabby butt. But this butt I’ve got following me around now? Oh good golly, it is just lovely. I can’t take my hands off it.

Except it’s to the mirror. OOOH! (Michael Jackson yell)

Tomorrow marks 10 weeks out and I’m still too lean for Coach’s liking, weighing in at just 115.0 today, a net gain of just 0.8 pounds in four weeks. Feeling amazing, looking pretty good, everything is amazing, right? And tomorrow I get to eat 300 carbs. Yes. Three. Hundred. I’m so excited!


One thing that’s sort of had me in a funk the past couple of days, though, is an encounter, actually now a series of encounters, I had at the gym. I do not like to go to the gym, I’ll just say it. I do not like to go to the gym. I do not like to lift with strangers or wait for equipment or touch the things other people have sweat all over, I simply do not like it. It is for these reasons that I have put a sizable amount of time and money into creating a gym in my spare bedroom, complete with squat rack, adjustable dumbbells, bands, and my brand-new-to-me used cable setup. However, in order to check in with coach and occasionally use equipment I do not have (I’m looking at you, leg press and adductor machine!), I venture out to the gym one or two days each week.


Twice now, I’ve encountered some pretty vicious words from a woman who somehow thinks it is her right to comment on my body, and not only to me, but to those around us at the gym. This week, she went so far as to haul me over to a man and ask him to corroborate her views on my body, which she called “a bag of bones,” and “ridiculously skinny.” She was kind enough to add that after she had surgery and couldn’t get our of bed for two weeks because of all the drugs she was on, she looked “sort of like me.” Kindly, the man chose to only acknowledge that I looked “really strong,” and manage to look as uncomfortable with the situation as I felt.


Left: Bag of bones. Right: certified boss. See? Different.

What makes this most interesting, however, is that during out previous interaction, she pulled me aside mid-workout to gush over me, telling me I had her “dream body,” and asking how she could possibly look like me. Upon pausing my workout and telling her briefly that Leangains, IIFYM, and powerlifting had changed me from a borderline obese mess into the strong and fit woman she saw in front of her, she promptly, and without a hint go sarcasm, called me “insane,” and told me she was going to go run on the treadmill. Ok.


Really the bothersome thing to me is that this woman took it upon herself to not just comment on my body- lots of people do, but usually they stop at “nice job!” and don’t continue on with “you mentally unstable corpse girl!” I’ve never once thought to myself that I should approach even one person in the gym with more than a high five regarding their progress. Because it is absolutely unquestionably not my place to do so! And to carry on with it, over multiple days, as this woman has, is straight up bullying! The worst part is that I truly believe she thinks what she says is not just ok, but a compliment. Would she say similar things to an overweight woman who was in possession of hourglass curves? I doubt it. But to comment excessively on a fit woman’s body, well, clearly she hasn’t drawn that line.


I’m very, very proud of the work I’ve put in to this body, and I’m more than happy to discuss that work with anyone. But perhaps we should all be a bit more mindful of the things we say to and about others regarding their bodies without their consent. Their, of course,  being the operative word.


Excuse me. I’m going to go look at my butt in the mirror for a while until I’m feeling better about myself.








9 thoughts on “Backhanded Compliments and Body Shaming

  1. There needs to be a LOOOOVE button. I can’t even imagine what is going on in that woman’s head. Honestly, it sounds to me like she is unstable.

    Anyway, killer progress and GROW DAT BOOTY! I love that you are happy and enjoying the process.


    1. Im not sure what her deal is but after reflecting on it, i think that her repeated comments warrant a discussion with gym staff regarding it.

      Thanks so much for all the support! I really am having a lot of fun with it- it seems like more than a few other friends preppinng for the same show, haha!


      1. I agree. She needs to learn boundaries. I’m sure others are uncomfortable with her behavior.

        You are very welcome!! It’s a blast to be preparing for something when people you know will be there. Gives you a real edge.


  2. Wow~! Just read this. This would not happen to me at my gym. She would be flat-out dead on the floor. lol. I love working out at the gym even though my husband has spent considerable $$$ to outfit the gym in our new home. I just get more motivated or something. Hope you go back soon and show her your taught booty!


    1. I actually no longer go to that gym. It just isn’t particularly conducive to keeping my lifting vibe going. Not just that lady, but a few other things as well. I do miss the T-bar row setup there, though.


  3. It sounds to me as though you did the right thing moving gyms. Having your mind in the right place makes such a difference! If anyone criticises your body, just put it down to jealousy 🙂


    1. Occasionally I still stop in there if it’s the most convenient gym, but I refuse to take my headphones out. I’m 300% done with all those people. Every time I go there someone has something dumb to say. I haven’t got time for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know the feeling! I changed gyms a few months ago, and don’t miss the old one a bit (except for some of the better equipment they had, and the convenience, as it was closer to home). But the vibe was just so “for the bros” and really rough for female lifters. I say “lifters” but I was the only one, and as a result it was a nonstop perve-fest 😦


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