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Functional... and mighty

The other day I was at the gym where I work, and one of my co workers made an interesting comment about my hands.

It was something like "oh wow, you have great hands, can I see them?" Which is probably a bit odd to most people, but we are like that.

The thing is, I've never really thought I had great hands. I have massive hands. When I was about 18 my boyfriend at the time told me he found it intimidating that my hands were bigger than his. I have long fingers, but also pretty solid palms. I also have massive feet, I'm a UK 7, but I'm not generally very big, I'm just under 5'4". I have always been self conscious about my "massive flappy hands and feet".

So it was a bit of a revelation to have someone make positive comments about my hands when the best anyone had previously managed was "you'd make a good pianist" (and they are right, I can play Shumann and that dude cut his finger webs to achieve his span).

My co worker is currently dealing with carpal tunnel, because of lifting dumbells with big rubberised grips that really aren't ergonomic for daintier hands. But my hands aren't dainty. I can grip those dumbells no problem. My hands are mighty!

I'm not sure what the benefit of having small hands was supposed to be for women. Unless you are trying to get something that fell down the back of the fridge, or if you are a farmer and your sheep is having trouble lambing.

Most of the time I'm pretty sure it's aesthetic, but why? Because we are supposed to be so substantially smaller than men? Because we are supposed to take up less space? Who says? Who gets to decide what shape and size my body is? How on earth did it ever get to be anyone but me?

I've said it before and I'm not going to stop: I am kind of fed up with this idea that femininity comes in a particular shape. I'm fed up with women being told they shouldn't train however they want in the gym because they might get "bulky" or "manly".

Many of us just don't have the genetics to be small and delicate. My mum is tiny and petite, but apparently I didn't get my share of that. I have always been heavy for my size (I think my bones might actually be solid iron, there's no other explanation for this much mass in this little space). But I am naturally strong, even without training, my relatively small 18 year old self was changing beer kegs in my evening job and carrying a 20kg bag of horsefeed under each arm in my day job. I'm a solid kind of girl. So why shouldn't I train to optimise that? Pack on the muscle, build up my functional strength, be super badass!

So I found myself looking in the mirror the other day, contemplating this issue. I thought to myself:

"I'm not petite, 
I'm not delicate, 
I'm not dainty,
I'm not willowy, 
I'm not ethereal. 
But I am functional as f**k"

And I'm pretty cool with that.

So much so that I am currently writing a programme just for women (or men, I'm inclusive) like me, who are no longer willing to work to take up less space, and just want to get stronger and more physically effective. I'll let you know how that goes, so keep an eye out. You can sign up to my mailing list or follow me on Facebook for updates.

FLASH UPDATE: Functional as F**k - the training programme is now LIVE! Check it out over here where you can see a little preview and purchase the programme in one of 3 formats.

Also, I made a shirt....


I'm being really inspired at the moment by the work Girls Gone Strong are doing, it's a great resource and community. Also check out Unapoligetically Powerful and The Bigness Project for some really cool programming for women who want to lift heavy stuff or build big muscles. The ladies behind these are completely awesome.

No one would ever tell her to lay off the pouncing...


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