Lessons from Barbie

Posted on: February 22nd, 2011 by Rachel Cosgrove

This past weekend at the IDEA Conference after I gave my seminar on Creating Breakthrough Moments For Your Female Clients & Alwyn and I gave a 3 hour seminar on running your fitness business…we had a ton of great feedback, answered some good questions and met some amazing fitness professionals…

We were on our way out, heading home and one last attendee ran up to me to thank me for my talk and tell me that she loved it and was so on board with everything I was saying, she loved how I started it off saying that women identified with Barbie growing up and instead we need to find their inner Wonder Woman…and how I am all about women feeling confident and empowered and using strength training as the avenue to empower their minds and bodies…and she loved everything…UNTIL I got to…the jeans…

She felt like putting emphasis on fitting into a certain pair of jeans was going full circle back to us trying to look a certain way and “fit” a certain Barbie Mold and instead women need to completely lose sight of that mold, they need to get away from thinking that muscles aren’t feminine, and stop with the plucking, getting their hair done, fake nails, designer clothes and the Botox and all of the crazy things women do to look a certain way and focus on their health and certain health markers instead…

…I guess she didn’t take note of my designer jeans (yes I have been known to pay more for a pair of jeans that will make my butt look a certain way- heck, I work hard for that butt and it deserves to be displayed properly), my fake nails, waxed eyebrows, designer bag and colored hair (which was obvious because I am overdue to see my hairdresser)…now you know all my secrets…I do draw the line at Botox or any kind of surgery but that is just my personal preference, I don’t judge anyone who chooses that route if it makes them feel good about themselves.

So I would like to use this blog post to explain that, incase I gave this impression, I DO NOT think women should completely lose sight of everything we learned from Barbie. Yes, we need to find our inner Wonder Woman (and by the way I think Wonder Woman probably looks pretty amazing in a pair of jeans since she can pull off the leotard) and I am all about gaining strength, building muscle but I am also very committed to being feminine and using a pair of jeans is one of the biggest shifts I have seen in my female client’s mindset to get them off of the numbers on the scale and on to changing their body by adding lean muscle.

Fact is: as a trainer the majority of our clients hire us to change their bodies. Helping them to realize you can get smaller without losing a lot or sometimes any weight is a huge breakthrough.  The fact that their health markers improve is usually an added bonus for them but when they go to the doctor, the doctor will still put them on a scale as one of the health markers.

Giving a client the feeling of slipping into a pair of jeans two sizes smaller (I don’t care if she goes from a size 20 to a size 16) than she was 8 weeks ago and heading out on the town (or even just around the house) in her heels, her jeans, her fashionable top and her matching purse is a feeling I want every one of my clients to experience and the great thing is with the added muscle and revving metabolism she’ll be able to stay there and can give all of her old clothes away! It isn’t temporary. Plus she’ll get “Hooked on that feeling” which is one of my Fit Female Credos- Get Hooked on Feeling Fit, Not a Number on the Scale. Health Markers just don’t give you THAT feeling (especially when the doctor puts you on the scale).

Although I think they are very important and one of the biggest reasons most people should exercise. But “shoulds” don’t usually motivate people to make a drastic change. What they truly “want” will motivate them. They WANT to…hear about an upcoming event and be excited to wear the dress in their closet instead of freaking out that they have nothing to wear and need to lose 10 pounds…They WANT…to be able to buy a pair of cute knee high boots and be able to zip them all the way up over their calves…They WANT to…grab a few outfits in a clothing store and go into a dressing room and try them all on, loving every single one of them right off the rack. They WANT to…have a closet full of fashionable, designer clothes that ALL fit and the first thing they grab looks great. They WANT THAT FEELING.

One of the differences you’ll notice if you come and visit Results Fitness is that many of our female clients are extremely feminine wearing designer workout clothes, nails done, hair done, usually no make up and jewelry to workout because they do take their workout seriously but they are beautiful and very feminine. It is not an uncommon sight in our gym to see a woman grasp the Olympic bar with her manicured nails, wearing her matching workout gear as she deadlifts 150-200 pounds looking feminine as ever. They didn’t all walk in that way though. There is a transformation that takes place as a woman starts to see her body change and feel more confident.

Right on our window it says- “No Judgments.” Our gym is a very safe, supportive place for women to come and trust us to help them transform their mind and their body. This is the transformation we see take place over and over again:

Day One – Female walks in wearing a big baggy T-shirt, baggy sweats and as I have heard them describe themselves, “looks like the mom who doesn’t have time for herself.”

Day Thirty – They start to wear a little more tight fitting clothes, are starting to feel more confident and have started to take some time for themselves realizing they have more to give when they take time for themselves.

Day Fifty Six (8 weeks later) – A new found love of shopping for clothes that she never had, works out in designer clothing that flatters her body and shows off the hard work and overall carries herself with more confidence hooked on that feeling of being fit. And starts to share stories of how her husband seems to be unable to keep his hands off of her…

The way I see it lifting weights is part of our beauty regimen – we get our nails done, our hair done and we lift weights…it’s all part of looking and feeling the way you want to. I think this is where we lose a lot of women – they get the impression that lifting weights is the opposite of feminine and they see the hard core girls with tattoos, piercings and usually wearing camouflage and think…

…that’s not for me. My vision is that women realize that lifting weights should become part of their weekly regimen like everything else they do to take care of themselves and when you walk into a gym the weight training area is full of beautiful women lifting weights right before they go get their hair and nails done.

So let’s talk about some of the lessons we learned from Barbie and should not forget even as we do tap in to the strength of our inner Wonder Woman:

  • Pay attention to detail. Barbie always has accessories to match her outfit. She has always thought through that her shoes matches her purse and she has jewelry on to go with the outfit, maybe even a hair accessory.
  • Dressing fashionable shows you have confidence and makes you feel good. Many times a certain brand of clothing will make all the difference to how you look and feel because of the way it fits you.
  • Make the extra effort. Put your lipstick on, get your nails done, wax and pluck if you need to. It’s ok to make an effort to look and feel fabulous.
  • Be YOUR personal Best. Barbie is always at her personal best. Yes, she happens to have longer legs than most of us, a tinier waist and bigger boobs but she is HER best and I’m sure it is a decision she makes everyday to be her best by exercising, eating healthy and putting in the effort. It isn’t easy for anyone so don’t use the fact that your legs aren’t as long as Barbie’s to be your excuse to be lazy and let yourself go.

    I am not against women having a goal of looking a certain way, being able to shop in a boutique store, getting their hair done, their nails done, wearing designer clothes and getting hooked on feeling fit, confident and empowered in their own skin. Thank you Barbie for teaching us how to make the effort to maintain our femininity and thank you Wonder Woman for showing us what a strong, confident woman should be.

    We are each on our own journey and have each landed on our own conclusions. The woman above who approached me at the conference has her own story and her own reasons for feeling the way she does and I have mine and I want to thank her for enlightening me to her message and challenging me. I always love a challenge! I do appreciate what she is saying.

    I realize my blog, my book and my message may not resonate with everyone and that’s ok as long as I really resonate with a specific audience who wants to look and feel their best. I hope each of you reading this can find your perfect balance of bringing out both your Barbie girl qualities along with your inner Wonder Woman. It’s not easy being a girl…

    To pick up your copy of my Creating Breakthrough Moments for your Female Clients Lecture Click Here.

    Related posts:

    1. What size are your Thermometer Jeans?
    2. Strong is the new sexy…Strong is the new Beautiful…Strong is the new Skinny…

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