Can you imagine yourself going into a gym, without a workout plan, and basing your workout on how you feel? As crazy as it may sound, this is one way to approach fitness with the feminine. The Feminine in Fitness is a specific approach to fitness that considers women’s distinctive attributes involving her physiological needs, including her unique hormones, hormonal cycle, and tolerance to the stress hormone cortisol; as well as the unique biomechanical considerations, otherwise known as body mechanics.
A women’s body is distinctly different from a man’s in many ways. For example, because a woman’s hips are significantly wider, this can cause their bone structure of the femur (thigh bone) to internally rotate. And if you have ever been in a situation where a personal trainer who doesn’t know this tells you to rotate your knees outward while doing a squat, some women actually are anatomically correct by just directing their knees forward.
But for men, it is different. And unfortunately, decades of research on fitness has been primarily performed on male subjects – so this is not common knowledge in the world of fitness yet. This is just ONE example of the many different ways that a woman’s body may not respond (and could actually get hurt) when conforming to a masculine fitness regimen.
Let’s take the stress hormone "cortisol" as an even better example. Have you ever heard that women should not fast? Or that they should not do keto? Why do you think that is when men respond so well to these things? The truth is, it is actually for the same reason that women should not overtrain and under fuel in the gym.
This is because one of women’s most important hormones – estrogen - has a unique relationship with the stress hormone cortisol, what can happen very often is that demanding too much from the body will skyrocket her cortisol and leave her entire month unraveled. She may experience unexpected mood swings, lack of sleep, a lower threshold with her body’s ability to perform at work or intimately with her partner, and the list goes on.
Cortisol is not a woman’s best friend and it is a solid acquaintance at best during her time of ovulation. If she keeps her cortisol well-trained, she can use it as a tool to help her achieve her goals with rest and balance as her sidekicks. But if she continues to aimlessly try to force it to agree with her mind and not her body, neither of them will ever be happy.
It goes without saying that a woman will have many different fitness goals and considerations than others so her needs should always be personalized. We haven’t even spoken once yet about the societal pressures that every women endures relating to her body, and this ultimately can lead to different approaches when it comes to the most appropriate for her as an individual.
What I want to leave you with today is a handful of practical tips for finding your feminine with physical movement. As someone who was constantly deterred, I would even go as far as to say “traumatized” by the overmasculine influence I received in exercise, the first and most intimate connection that I ever made with my feminine was in fitness.
I REBELLED against everything I had ever learned in fitness when I started exercising consistently, and the only thing that allowed me to exercise consistently was my sheer enjoyment for the movements I was making. Here are 5 things that I did (and you can too) to find your feminine in fitness:
1. Take Your Time – Ditch the clock, the reps, the sets, and the numbers overall
I know it may sound crazy, but in order to find your feminine in fitness you can benefit greatly by learning how to slow down and feel yourself in the moment. When we are distracted by counting down or up to a “goal number” we lose our connection with how each and every one of our muscles are actually feeling. Isn’t the point of exercise to find that fatigue feeling anyway? Why do we think that magical feeling will just so happen to land on the number we are counting to? That’s insane.
Feel your body in the moment. And when you feel like you cannot do another rep without truly failing, then you are done with that set. Believe it or not this may actually improve the intensity and outcomes of your workouts!!!
2. Connect Movement with Nature
If the treadmill or the elliptical or the stair stepper or the weights have not been enjoyable enough to sustain them for the past 10 years you have known how to execute them then why would you expect that to change?
Let’s be honest, do you think it is more fun to be paddleboarding on a lake watching the butterflies soar by and the wind weave between the branches of the trees, or do you really want to just go walk on a black electrical sidewalk? Yikes. When I put it that way, we might just naturally and unknowingly be tapping into our feminine energy already!!
As feminine beings we are deep, dynamic and sensual creatures. We express ourselves according to how things make us feel. And if an environment is devoid of vibrancy, depth and connection we tend to not devote ourselves to it.
By submerging yourself into nature, even if it is somewhere as simple as a botanical garden that you walk around regularly, you will find that you are much more likely to produce lasting results with your exercise than you may be at the gym.
3. Feel Into Your Body
It goes without saying, feminine is all about connection. And when we isolate certain muscles to work them out, yes it can be great for training and certain other purposes. However, the mind body connection is often times much better activated when we move our bodies as a whole.
As feminine beings, we need to feel connection because this is how we communicate, build trust, and lean into the things that we believe in. That is why movements such as dancing, climbing, and others that involve complete body utilization can allow someone with a healthy feminine energy to feel like the movements they are making are serving a greater purpose.
That being said, along with personal connection we also need interpersonal connection! Consider finding a class where you can genuinely connect with the people around you on a personal level.
4. Get Creative
Have you even felt confident enough in your skills at the gym to say “screw it I’m making my own exercises today”? Maybe you loop a long band through a kettle bell and drag it across the floor as you tiptoe backwards? Lol! I don’t know girlfriend, its just an example.
BUT! My point being is that when we are always conforming to others’ interpretations of effective exercises, we lose sight of our personal power to do the same for ourselves! What you wear can also be a reflection of your creativity.
If you are someone who always wears basketball shorts and a t-shirt to work out, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and wear something that makes you feel sexy. You are allowed to feel like you look sexy every time you work out (and even if you don’t feel like you look sexy while you are working out!!!)
I saved this best one for last because perhaps it can be challenging for those of us who are so fierce and strong in our fitness... Perhaps we may have developed the misperception that to be a fierce feminine also means that we cannot soften, but I am here to tell you that is just not true.
To "soften" can mean so many different things, but for today, I encourage you to explore the idea of softening through the emotional action of surrender.
How to Surrender
Women who feel empowered, confident and safe in that in which they trust can easily surrender to the universe – and lean into it – easily having faith that you will be cared for.
When we find that sweet spot in movement, we feel invincible in the movements that immediately follow. It’s as if we tap into the vibration of the rhythm in which we are moving in – both literally and figuratively.
To soften is to empower because there is nothing that can break softness. It is those who have build barriers that break.
Thank You 💗
I hope this article has given you some insight into how to build a more beautiful relationship with exercise. In my other article, The Feminine in Fitness Part 2, we discuss more about how over masculinization of fitness has led us to become disconnected with our feminine aspect of it. No matter how influenced you have been by our society’s ways, I am here to tell you – you can wholly heal. Get outside today. Connect with the beauty of this Earth and find your sanctuary in your body. <3