Search This Blog

Friday, April 26, 2013

me n' the Glute Guy have words

I've read a lot of critiques of famous trainers' new books lately.  Having high profile fitness experts suggest that an 800 calorie a day diet is a reasonable way to lose weight for one's wedding or that us ladiez pick a kettlebell that weighs "as much as our purse" is certainly discouraging.  I can't say for certain that if I were offered a bunch o' money to write a book that sells out like that I wouldn't do it, but I'd like to think I wouldn't.  I'd like to think I'd stick to my own message, the one that says no matter how small or overweight or old or out-of-shape or weak you start out and no matter the fact that you possess a vagina, you CAN, with work, lift heavy-ass shit and lifting that heavy-ass shit will change your body in ways that you will most probably like and, more importantly, it will make you feel like a superhero.

It is with sadness that I must then take huge issue with some things in the fitness book I am currently reading, Strong Curves by Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis.  Mr Contreras is well known in the weightlifting/fitness community as The Glute Guy.  I don't know how one sets out on the path to become the world's most renowned expert on, y'know, asses--even after reading Mr Contreras' explanation in the book, I'm still kinda bemused--but, hey, someone's gotta do it. And I'm sure if she's alive, his mom is very proud. Anyway, I'm reading along and while I have my disagreements with some of what the book is selling me--it's a little tilted towards the "clean eating" philosophy that's so trendy and popular and it claims repeatedly that following the book's program will cause you to lose fat and build muscle at the same time which, no--I am mostly enjoying it. If anything, at least it has caused me to go around flexing my glutes during all my ADLs for two days in an attempt to keep them activated. I'm sure that's worth the $9.99 I paid.  (If only for the entertainment value I'm sure it affords anyone who notices me doing it.)

Sadly, I then happen across this little gem: "A woman with a slender upper body and shapely legs may never be able to do a chin-up no matter how lean and strong she gets."

Excuse me, but BULLSHIT.

There is no excuse for a normal-weight woman who strength trains (and has no orthopedic issues that make the movement impossible or unwise, of course) to be unable to do *one* chin-up. Note: we are not talking about an overweight person for whom bodyweight exercises are naturally much harder. Note: we are not talking about your average woman who does not lift weights. We are not talking about 25 chin-ups in a row or 5 sets of 10 or even one wide grip pull-up (which is much harder). We are talking about *one* chin-up, done by a lean woman who has purportedly been working on her strength. To tell that woman that, oh, it's okay, she may never do that one chin-up no matter how much she works is ridiculous. Ridiculous and patronizing. Ridiculous, patronizing, and UNTRUE.

This whole thing makes me capsy.

I prefer Nia Shanks' view that, hell, you can work your way up to handstand pushups and other crazy hard things and here's how... Because you may be a woman, but you're also a badass. Imagine my surprise when Mr Contreras refers to Ms Shanks in his book and calls her his dear friend.

I think she oughta have a talk with him.




  1. I don't want to ruin your evening but have you read this rubbish he published.

    The guy might know his stuff but he is also a sexist idiot.

  2. This one especially makes me wanna hit something (okay, someone): "Women prefer to hear feminine terms such as “firm,” toned,” “tight,” “lean,” “long,” “sculpted” and “sexy,” rather than masculine terms such as “jacked,” “yoked,” “swole,” “huge,” “ripped,” “shredded,” or “muscular,” and even the word “hypertrophy” can scare them off".


    Also? His insistence that women *can* get too big? Um, too big for whom? For *his* personal taste?

    I think that ties into what I wrote about...he apparently doesn't like women with muscular upper bodies so, yeah, if he doesn't train his female clients to develop their lats and shoulders and arms, of course they won't be able to do one measly stinkin' chin-up.


  3. Fit Villans has written a great blog post about how everytime someones says you won't get big doing weights you are actually insulting the people who like being big and have worked hard to look that way.

  4. Bret Contreras became "the glute guy" by claiming that people's glutes were often not strongly activated during a deep squat. Thus his "hip thrust" and all the rest. He's measured it with electrodes, so it must be true. Alternately, he just doesn't know how to coach a squat.

    Probably he doesn't know how to coach someone to their first chinup, either.

    Of course, becoming "the glute guy" means he can make posts about a bunch of models thrusting their hips in the air and grunting in his condo which gets him a lot of page hits and improves his affiliate clickthroughs. But he wasn't aiming for that at all, I'm sure.