A few weeks back, a gamer/graphic designer by the name of “MoePower” found her way onto the Nerd Fitness Message Boards, and talked about how she got into the best shape of her life by lifting heavy weights.
Considering I get a few emails a week from female readers who either don’t want to lift weights because they’re afraid of getting bulky or just don’t consider lifting when it comes to losing weight, I was ecstatic to hear Moe’s story. She was nice enough to answer a few questions for the first ever female Nerd Fitness reader spotlight!
Steve: Hey Moe, thanks for taking the time to answer a few nerdy questions! Now, have you always been interested in fitness? Describe a typical day of exercise for you before you started lifting weights?
Moe: My interest in fitness throughout my life sort of varies from here to there. I was in to all kinds of activities as a kid but as a teenager, I became very stagnant. In High School I started gaming a lot more and I fell really far into an Anime fandom that consumed my life for several years. I started gaining weight because I just sat on my butt all the time and ate fast food.
It hadn’t been till now that I realized how chubby I was back then.
My exercise was button mashing my Playstation controller. In college, I managed to drop close to 120lbs by simply not eating more than maybe once or twice a day. I was very unhealthy and I could barely walk up the steps to my room without feeling exhausted. When I DID start going to the gym though, I was nothing but a hamster…running on the treadmill for hours at a time because I thought that’s what women did to lose weight. I saw no progress and was actually GAINING weight because I found myself eating more to make up for the lost energy spent constantly running.
Steve: That seems to be the belief from many females (and a LOT of dudes) out there who are looking to get in shape: just spend hours on the treadmill or elliptical and hope for the best. Fast forward to today – what’s a normal day like for you now in the gym? What kind of changes have you seen in your physique since switching to your new program?
Moe: A normal day for me in the gym consists of mostly weight training that focuses on certain parts of my body. A really simple outline of my current schedule follows something like this:
Once every few months, I’ll take a week off to really give my body a good rest. As for my physique, it has seen some really amazing progress from following a good weight training program and eating healthy. I’m stronger, first and foremost, which is what I was focusing on. Gaining muscle for a female is more difficult, naturally, then it is for a man. I’ve been at it for a good year and a half and I still have a LONG way to go before I tell myself “okay, it’s time to lean down.” There are hints of muscle on my body…my arms are more firm and my butt is definitively more perky thanks to walking lunges! However, I’m most proud of my back. I also find it has improved my posture. My weight hasn’t really changed much from the day that I started. I just simply replaced the fat with muscle. I am not afraid to tell you that I weigh 130lbs!
Steve: Congrats Moe, that’s awesome! Were you scared on your first day going into the free weight section with all the beefcake dudes?
Moe: I. WAS. PETRIFIED. Thankfully, I had my fiance with me to ease my fears, but on the days he didn’t go with me, I couldn’t help but feel like I was being stared at like a lost puppy who had accidentally found her way into a big dogs only club. The actual gym itself made a big difference too because it is a very popular gym in our area that we were new to at the time and I didn’t quite know my way around the machines or free-weights yet.
I was literally tossed into a snake pit.
I remember this one time…I sat down at a machine and not a second later some jerk came up to me and goes “ARE YOU DONE YET!? I HAVE TO USE THAT!” like I was just sitting there keeping the seat warm for him. It made me so insanely nervous then. Now (and I hate to toot my own horn) the guys in the weight room are so used to seeing me in there every day that they don’t dare talk to me disrespectfully because they know I’m serious.
Steve: That’s okay, please toot away. Wait, that didn’t come out right. Um, moving on! So, did you have any reservations about lifting weights and “getting too bulky” like most women?
Moe: I did. I think every woman who wonders about lifting weights gets scared because they don’t want to turn out looking like the She-Hulk and sounding like Arnold Schwarzenegger on helium.
However, that’s where the personal research I did came in handy. I ran across a lot of great articles on bodybuilding.com and read every single “Women’s Transformation Of The Week” interviews and they all looked fantastic! The consistent thing, sans the clean eating, was that all of these women lifted weights! Not only that but they lifted HEAVY weights! Women just simply aren’t going to get beastly and bulky from lifting weights. Our bodies aren’t naturally made to be that way. Some women may be thicker or skinnier than others, but the scary women you see that look and sound like men? They use anabolic steroids. On a similar note, a good documentary on steroid use in America is called Bigger, Stronger, Faster (Steve: this is an Affiliate Link). I recommend that everyone watch it, but especially my friends who ask me about such subjects.
Steve: Great point Moe – it’s really really tough to get TOO bulky as either a guy OR a girl unless that’s what you’re specifically working towards. What would you say to the female NF readers out there who are hesitant to start lifting weights?
Moe: Don’t be afraid of the free-weights! Do your research, know the good stuff from the B.S. and just get in there and go! Steve has a LOT of information in his articles and NF is a great place for anyone to start. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most trainers or assistants at your gym will teach you how to use the equipment properly if that is what scares you. Ignore the dumb dudes who may eye you a little. That sort of comes with the territory unfortunately, but you have to realize that guys do that to other guys too!
Start off easy and work your way up. Get to know what weight work best for you for each exercise. You want to make sure that you are giving your muscles a good workout, but don’t use too much weight so that you end up hurting yourself. There really is no reason that women and men shouldn’t do the same exercises…the only difference should be the amount of weight. There are some things that I don’t do, however. I find that side-bends tend to make women look wider…especially if they carry their weight in the belly section. I also never use the Inner Thigh machine! Some women, such as myself, tend to carry their weight in the thigh area. If you are building muscle faster than you are losing the fat, you’re just making it seem thicker.
Fellow ladies, if you want to lose your cellulite – LIFT WEIGHTS!
Steve: Have you noticed a difference in the way people treat you now as opposed to before you started working out and getting fit?
Moe: Definitely. It’s sort of been like a double-edge sword, interestingly enough (though a lot more positive than negative). I never really had a boyfriend in High School and didn’t even get asked to my prom which, at the time, didn’t bug me so much (This is a pic of me from High School). Now that I look back on it, I regret not going and realized that the reason boys didn’t like me was because I really didn’t take care of myself! I was just the girl that “drew those Japanese cartoons”. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve had a chance to reunite with some old friends and schoolmates and have gotten some really nice feedback. On the other hand, I’ve gotten remarks such as “How can you live like that?” or “How can you eat the way you do?”. I just tell people that I don’t do it for others, I do it for myself and for my health. There are certain health issues that run on my Mother’s side of the family (Type 2 Diabetes being the biggest), so I’m really trying now to prevent any long-term health issues as I get older.
I’ll be bench pressing when I’m 80 if I can help it!
Steve: That would be amazing. Now, you met your fiancee in the coolest, nerdiest way possible – how did it go down?
Moe: Some years ago, he and I used to belong to the same internet gaming forum. We knew OF each other and played Halo 2 a few times on Xbox Live with our mutual forum buddies, but that was the extent of it. One summer, the members of the forum all decided to meet up and have a huge LAN party. That is when we met for the first time face to face…and he and I, at that point, had some negative feelings towards each other because I thought he was kind of a jerk. During that weekend, we ended up talking and worked out our differences.
Some time later, we decided to try and have a relationship. Problem was, he lived in Louisiana and I lived in Maryland. My previous relationship was long distance which sucked, so I really didn’t want to get into another. He ended up doing a college-related internship in Virginia Beach and stayed with our mutual friend which was perfect. Every weekend he would drive up to see me or I would drive down to see him (5 -7 hour drive depending on traffic). In December of 07, a few months after his Internship was up, he asked me to marry him…so I packed up my stuff and moved to Louisiana! We are FINALLY getting married on April 15th this year in New Orleans! (Yes, April 15th is Tax Day…)
Steve: Congratulations! I’m definitely sending you an elaborate wedding gift (read: a Nerd Fitness t-shirt). Okay onto the important stuff: If you could have any super power in the world, what would it be?
Moe: Definitely strength. One of my favorite Anime characters of all time is A-ko Magami from Project A-ko. She is just so bad-ass and can take down giant robots with one swing!
Steve: Favorite video game of all time?
Moe: People who know me pretty well know that my most favorite video game of all time is Toejam & Earl for the Sega Genesis. It’s about 2 hip-hop aliens who crash land on Earth and they are forced to deal with crazy Earthlings all while trying to find pieces of their broken ship. I spent HOURS trying to beat that game.
Steve: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a complete stranger?
Moe: As cliche as it is, treat others the way you would want to be treated. I really try my best to live by that motto, but sometimes people need a good verbal slap in the face! Hah!
Steve: Thanks Moe, you rule.
So there you have it guys and girls, don’t be afraid to lift weights! Don’t know what exercises to do? Learn how to develop your own workout plan here. Worried you’re going to do something wrong? Learn how to NOT suck at working out. If Moe can do it and see kick-ass results, you can too. I’m a HUGE advocate of weight lifting (especially heavy lifting) for both men and women, so I’m really excited to share this story with you all.
Now, if this isn’t enough to convince you that women can and should lift weights, maybe this 70 YEAR OLD POWERLIFTING GREAT-GRANDMOTHER will:
Speaking of message boards and challenges (see what I did there?), because the first NF 28-Day Challenge was so damn successful, we’re starting up another challenge on April 5th! Expect more details on Monday, but you can get a head start by signing up on the boards now.
Here are some other popular posts you might like: