This is a follow up to the previous post, Defining Bulky, Once and For All.
The response to the article was amazing. In a matter of two days, it was linked to more sites than any of my other posts. It has brought out massive support for the “bulky” crowd. Feminists are angry, trainers are scratching their heads, and the discussion is running wild.
Let’s take a deeper look.
A lot of people thought that the poll was biased. Let me explain why I selected the women I did.
I took a poll with female bodybuilders, but it was an instant flop and thought to be too much. And in my opinion, there was no need to measure on that. So I took a second poll in which I surveyed 200 people. I included Hilton, Alba, Biel, Jamie Eason, and a female steroid bodybuilder. Alba still came out on top and in that poll Hilton scored higher than Biel. I wondered if seeing such a visibly intense display of muscle, or any at all, was automatically distasteful to people?
Accidental vs Diligent Training
Another important point is that you can’t get a level of muscle beyond say, Biel or Swank (in general), without being a serious longtime bodybuilder or athlete. This is extremely important to know and understand. You cannot achieve that look by “accident.” You can, however, achieve it by training for a short period of time, with the right kind of intensity.
Becoming an extreme bodybuilder takes drugs or years of discipline with a focus on achievement in athletics or bodybuilding.
The purpose of the poll was to reflect the views of the average female gym goer, most of whom already think bodybuilders are extreme. However, do they think becoming one is easy? What are the pros and cons of different bodies? I thought those were fantastic questions.
By the way, I hired a professional survey service to take these impartial polls so the results were not altered in any way. It’s not likely I will be doing more of these types of polls in the near future, as there is considerable cost involved.
(Participants were college educated, between 21-45 years of age, and of moderate to higher income. Both single and married women were included.)
Question 1: From the picture above, what term would you use to explain this woman’s body?
1-Slightly muscular – 0%
2-Muscular – 8%
3-Bulky – 19%
4-Extremely Bulky – 73%
Question 2: Do you think it is easy to achieve this type of look by training in a gym?
1-Very Easy – 13%
2-Easy – 48%
3-Not Easy – 26%
4-Almost Impossible – 13%
Question 3: Do you think that it is a type of look you would like to have?
1-Yes – 2%
2-No – 91%
3-Maybe, at a different time – 7%
Question 4: If you could choose a celebrity body that you think is the ideal woman, who would you choose?
1-Angelina Jolie – 19%
2-Jessica Alba – 34%
3-Jessica Biel – 16%
4-Paris Hilton – 11%
5-Kate Winslet – 20%
Question 5: What isn’t ideal about Angelina Jolie’s body?
1-Too skinny – 32%
2-Too fat – 4%
3-Too much muscle – 24%
4-Not enough muscle – 8%
5-Not enough fat – 20%
6-Nothing, it is ideal – 12%
Question 6: What isn’t ideal about Jessica Alba’s body?
1-Too skinny – 16%
2-Too fat – 11%
3-Too much muscle – 15%
4-Not enough muscle – 20%
5-Not enough fat – 9%
6-Nothing, it is ideal – 29%
Question 7: What isn’t ideal about Jessica Biel’s body?
1-Too skinny – 12%
2-Too fat – 17%
3-Too much muscle – 41%
4-Not enough muscle – 2%
5-Not enough fat – 18%
6-Nothing, it is ideal – 10%
Question 8: What isn’t ideal about Paris Hilton’s body?
1-Too skinny – 37%
2-Too fat – 0%
3-Too much muscle – 10%
4-Not enough muscle – 17%
5-Not enough fat – 22%
6-Nothing, it is ideal – 14%
Question 9: What isn’t ideal about Kate Winslet’s body?
1-Too skinny – 3%
2-Too fat – 39%
3-Too much muscle – 10%
4-Not enough muscle – 28%
5-Not enough fat – 0%
6-Nothing, it is ideal – 20%
Question 10: Of the celebrity bodies above, whose do you think is the hardest to achieve?
1-Angelina Jolie – 14%
2-Jessica Alba – 41%
3-Jessica Biel – 12%
4-Paris Hilton – 25%
5-Kate Winslet – 8%
Isn’t that interesting? An overwhelming majority of women think that Jessica Alba’s body is harder to achieve. They think it is easy to add at least 25 lbs of muscle to a female body. It is obvious they think it is harder to achieve “skinny” than it is “muscled.” Can we also speculate that it’s thought to be easier to be ugly than pretty? Based on how my hair looks in the morning, I’m pretty sure this is the case. And that only took sleep…but I digress.
This shows the distortion of reality. It shows that the majority of the survey takers don’t have much of an idea of what it takes to train in a gym. Even if the body type you want is not one of muscle definition, you still need to understand that achieving it takes work.
The final survey led me to look deeper into psychology and preconceived notions. These are the pictures I used. Before you scroll down and see the results, I want you to ask yourself what appeals to you more. Please feel free to respond in the comments.
Which body would you like to have of the ones pictured below if you had to choose one listed?
1-Jessica Biel – 27%
2-Paris Hilton – 21%
3-Kate Winslet – 14%
4-Jessica Alba – 31%
5-Jessica Biel – 7%
If you add the results of the two photos of Jessica Biel (1 and 5) you get a total of 34%. So technically she’s the winner, eh? The first picture shows her body after losing the degree of muscle she has in the second picture; but she is by no means “skinny fat.”
I chose those pictures for specific reasons to try and break through the stereotypes the general public may hold of these particular women. Was it the casual clothes they were wearing that was the issue? Did the appearance of a dress make a difference? Did their complexion—tan or pale—affect the response? Do they look strong or soft?
I do have the answers to these questions and more. But the simple truth of it is?
You are never going to get the answer, so there is no need to try.
Missing the Point
The previous article was not about who is hotter, or what you have to do to achieve these looks. The point was to try and put more of a focus on what women fear so they can achieve their goals when lifting weights. The point was to take that a step further and say, “Okay, you say you don’t want to be bulky. Can you give me an example of who you think looks bulky, and tell me why you don’t like that look?” Getting real and speaking to the truth of the situation was the point.
Finding the Ideal Woman?
The point was not to say that one particular female body is the right body. You can take a thousand polls with any female body or even use the same person (as we saw) in the pictures, and there will always be a difference. That being said, I don’t believe in settling, sugarcoating, or pandering to defensiveness and insecurity.
This is the day and age of being able to do amazing things, overcome severe restrictions, and be the best that you can be on your terms. As long as you are not hurting yourself or imposing problems for others due to your choices, I don’t care what you want to do. If what you want happens to involve body composition, then it happens to be something I can help you with.
As for me, who do I think is an fantastic example of the ideal woman? See below.