Training makes my body change and people talk. Some approve, disapprove, admire, find it weird... but few are indifferent.
I think I'm used to people not caring about what others look like in my little eccentric English town. But going to Paris - wearing summer clothes - was a different story. From family and friends to complete strangers, everybody had something to say.
Here are some of the most memorable examples.
A random guy to his friend in the underground:
“She's got more arms than me!"
The airport border control guard:
“Do you exercise? You’re ripped and we can see your veins”.
I nearly replied "No, I woke up like that.", but bit my tongue.
A tipsy guy at a birthday party touching my abs then his friend’s:
“See, she has abs, you have a belly”.
During my stay, I decided to take every single look and comment as a compliment, though I'm pretty sure not all of them were meant that way.
The strongest reactions came from men. They seemed genuinely surprised that it was possible for woman to have visible muscles.
I am starting to feel a bit more confident in the natural transformation of my body. I work hard, I am getting stronger and it is visible. Most times when I look in the mirror it makes me happy. But I am still painfully aware that it is not "the norm" on a female body and have to accept that it will make people react in different ways. It is now up to me to take the positive comments and dismiss the derogatory ones.
The most difficult ones to ignore are those from loved ones, like my mum asking me:
"Do you think you could do a bit less arms?"
"Can I have your advice? I want to do a bit of exercise to tone my flabby skin, but I don't want to build muscles like you."
*cough* Thanks mum.
To all strong women out there, embrace your strength, own your body, be proud of what it can do. Whether it's short/tall/big/thin/muscular... - you will always be "too" something for somebody. People will talk. Let them.