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arak42


Jan 17, 2003, 7:51 AM
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I feel like I am alone... body issues
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Okay, so I hope I don't sound too pathetic right now, but I am getting frustrated and I need to know I am not the only one (I hope!) I have been spending a lot of time at the gym on my campus. It seems that most of the women who go there are quite thin, as a lot of climber women are. But not all of us... right...? I am not a 5 foot 2, 100 pound wafer thin girl. I weight about 140 and I am only 5 feet 5. I am pretty bottom heavy (ie- size 12 pants, size 5 tops!) and I am reminded of my extra baggage everytime I get to a move that requires a reliance on arm strength more than legs. This doesn't stop me from going to the gym or anything, but it is really frustating to deal with. Being that as it is, I hope that my hopes of being able to climb hard stuff one day (by that I mean anything above a 5.8 right now!) aren't foolish. I am lossing weight as a result of an increase and excersize and a change in diet, but due to genetics, I will never fit into those size 5 pants. Darn bone structure!!

On a lighter note, a bit of an aside... I did just start climbing 5.8s (gym rating) for the first time! Yeah, a bit of a personal triumph. I am getting better... slowly bit surely!!!


russmanswife


Jan 17, 2003, 8:18 AM
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i can relate i am 5'7" and at my lowest weight at 140 i had everyone concerned because i looked like i was just skin and bones. i have gained some weight so i don't look so frail but i know that i will never be 110 or 120 my body just isn't made to be so light it basically just doesn't look good on me. i am about the same climbing i can do 5.7 and some 5.8s very easily and have just started working on 5.9s and i also wonder if my weight is part of why i have progressed so slowly, i have been climbing for almost a year. i know it is corny but everybody is different and after awhile you just learn to accept what you look like you don't always like it but it is you. i have learned to look at what i can do instead of dwelling on what i look like and just concentrate on how strong and healthy my body is.

just had to add i am almost 2 months pregnant and have continued to climb and lift weights, etc. i am just proud of the fact that my body can still do all this.


[ This Message was edited by: russmanswife on 2003-01-17 08:33 ]


mreardon


Jan 17, 2003, 10:07 AM
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I know this is a woman's forum, but just to let you know, men climbers constantly complain about this same thing. Bone structure, being heavy, fat, big thighs, etc. Next we're going to be complaining that we can't fit into the pretty pink prom dress (mine was blue for the record, but the socks were pink with little white bows).

Don't worry too much about your build so much as accentuate what advantages you do have. I have partners that weight 90 pounds and barely 5' and others that are 200+ pounds and 6'+. Each of us have advantages and disadvantages, and I can guarantee that each of us complain about what the other has ("must be nice to weigh so little" "I wish I was that tall" "My fingers are too big for those pockets" "My hands are too small for that sloper", etc.).

Always remember that first you climb, next you try to climb harder. Everything after that is just a matter of what goals you set for yourself.


arak42


Jan 17, 2003, 10:49 AM
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thanks you two. Congrats on the baby btw! That must be exciting!

I know your right, everyone has advantages and disadvatages. I hear myself saying to my taller climbing partner all the time, you can do that just because you can reach it. But then again, I suppose I have some things working for me. Once I figure them out I'll let y'all know

I do still want to hear from people who understand where I'm at


climbingbetty22


Jan 17, 2003, 11:19 AM
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I totally hear you! At 5'6" and about 145 lbs. I'm not what anyone would call 'thin.' I don't consider myself fat though because I am really muscular from climbing, running and backpacking. But I know what you are saying. I see all these waifs at the gym and sometimes I think "if I were that little I could climb hard too." But the biggest thing that I've learned is that climbing is about having fun. It's not about what you look like or even how hard you climb. Would I like to climb harder? You bet. Do I sometimes feel like the overwhelming pull of gravity on my above-average sized ass keeps me from doing so? Oh yeah. But if climbing isn't fun anymore because I don't look a certain way or climb at a certain grade, then why bother right? I think, if I remember correctly, Alex Lowe is quoted as saying that the best climber in the world is the one that is having the most fun. I can't change my genetic structure and life is to short to spend all my time lamenting it, but I love climbing and I will continue to do so. It just means that I'm going to have to get some abnormally large arm muscles to lift the weight in my backside! :-)


granite_grrl


Jan 17, 2003, 11:36 AM
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You can't let your self get hung up on that kind of thing. I'm 5'8", 155lbs, and climbing with my shorter friend at 105lbs, well she drives me crazy with what she can pull up on.

Yesterday I climbed with a bunch of guys I meet at the new local gym. When it go to be my turn to start the game of add on I did a funky little stemming move that they moaned and groaned about becasuse they wern't particularly flexible. I just felt like showing them that there's more out there than pull up strength.


iamthewallress


Jan 17, 2003, 12:08 PM
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Through my teens and into my early twenties, I put so much negative energy into worrying about my weight and did a lot of unhealthy things because of it. I'm 5'6". At my heaviest I weighed 160#, and at my lightest I weighed 105#...all within the same year. Not good.

Climbing has made me more healthy than I've ever been. Part of what it has given me is the confidence to not worry about my body, but it's probably also given me objectively the fittest body that I've ever had. So, try not to worry about it, and just stick with the climbing...it's a win-win situation for you!

Also, if you get on more traditional-style routes and less gym or sport-type of routes, you'll find that it's 100 times more about style, balance, footwork, etc. and barely about strength-to-body-weight ratios because usually until you get hard core, these types of climbs are lower angle (and the push to do the 'big #'s' can be overshaddowed by other factors such as climb length, route finding, availability of pro, etc... as well).


fern


Jan 17, 2003, 11:13 PM
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I'm 5'2" and about 155 now although I've been up to 170 or so. Doesn't bother me too much, I climb just fine ... and I don't get as cold in the winter as some skinnyminnies . I've been climbing about 6 years, pretty much all outside and all kinds. I like climbing because it isn't something that I'm physically suited for, so my meager successes are sweeter for the struggle. how pithy

It takes time and mileage to learn the techniques that are efficient for YOUR body. One secret I recently learned is that it's not my arms that pull my fat bum up the cliff, its my abs. Strengthen your core and you can transfer more weight to your feet and use your legs to push you upward, even on overhanging routes. Try doing some crunches regularily (like maybe 2 sets of 10 every other day, doesn't have to be tons) and see if it helps you feel more stable climbing in the gym.


climbingbetty22


Jan 18, 2003, 8:32 AM
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RIGHT ON daisyfay! What a great post. Wallress, I loved your post too! Climbing is about so much more than looks. I got into climbing to get away from the shallow and superficial values that seem to drive our society. When I climb, I am strong, I am powerful. And it doesn't matter what size my ass is because my two arms just hauled it all the way to the top of the cliff! Climbing has given me a new way to define myself. I no longer look at myself and see flab or features that don't fit somebody's else idea of beauty. I see muscles! I love my forearms and by biceps because of climbing. Don't let the waifs at the gym bother you arak, it's like somebody already said, they get colder in the winter anyway.


thomasribiere


Jan 18, 2003, 9:50 AM
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If you like climbing, if you climb better and better everyday, if you like yourself and your friends like you, don't be concerned by this false problem. Climbers judgre other climbers on how they climb, how they are involved in climbing, how they respect other climbers and climbing areas... not on bottoms or breasts.
This is an after-climbing concern.


tradaddict


Jan 18, 2003, 10:50 AM
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It weird, because i've had to deal with being too small for a sport I had alot of passion for, and feeling largish in another.
I sculled seriously for 3 years. In the technique department, I was a natural, but at 5'7 and 125 pounds I was too small to hang in there with the big girls (5'10+, 160+pounds). I started climbing outdoors, oldschool trad stuff, so when I started going to the gym, surrounded by a bunch of waifer thin gymnasts and ballerinas, whao, did I ever feel out of place. I guess i'm thin, but when climbing next to someone who's 100 pounds, boy I don't feel it.
Deirdre


esimhs99


Jan 18, 2003, 11:34 AM
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i have tried really hard just to embrace my body and take it in stride. i cant change the structure of it, but i can change how i feel about it and to some extent how it looks. i try to stay in good shape through climbing and running, and just being active, and when i am doing these things i just feel better about myself and find that i have more confidence. although i do hate going to my campus gym and see the little tiny sorority girls working out (no offense to any sorority girls out there)!


chi_girl


Jan 18, 2003, 11:53 AM
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I know where you're coming from Arak! I have been battling the same thing since I started climbing 2 years ago. At 5'5", I 've ranged from 140-148 in the last 2 years. The thoughts of being skinnier will make climbing easier always crosses my mind. though I constantly battle this idea and just try my hardest. But I am always trying to lose that last 10 pounds that just seem to hang on! I recently met a good friend who is heavier than me and she is so determined when she climbs. She does so well! It made me realize that it's what is inside rather than out.
Just keep climbing and having fun!


otter


Jan 18, 2003, 8:39 PM
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It's all about attitude. You should only concern yourself with yourself. Judge yourself in comparison with yourself. Do what it takes to make YOU happy and healthy and don't compare yourself to others. You are you. they are they. And you should only give a hoot about the opinions of those people that accept you as you! Period! Yes, this is hard to do somethimes...but it is a way of thinking that makes things alot easier in the long run.
For instance... a while back there was a thread up here that was about women and body hair. By the time I got to reading it it had turned into a "how to wax" thread..so I never posted a responce. I think the one thing I am judged most of is the fact that I do not shave ... at all! You would be surprised the sneers and nasty looks I have gotten, I have been called a dyke (i am married to a man), I have been called a filthy hippy ( i am not a hippy and I bathe regularly) among other things. I had my job threatened if I wore shorts, shorter skirts, or tank tops. All of which were ok for the shaved women on the job to wear. Noone ever asked me why I didn't shave, they just judged and made up there own minds. The same is true of any shallow people that are more interested in making themselves feel better than others or are so self absorbed they could care less about the feelings of others. But those people do far less damage than what one's own psyche can do to themselves. I found that to be comfortable about myself and my reasons and choices for being the way I am was the only way to get through that sort of crap. When I get out of shape I am hard on myself...I know that it is in my blood to not be able to get back into shape very easily..and i find that more and more true each year. So i am hard on myself...I want to stay healthy... I don't want the heart problems that come in my family. But I do it for me...not for anyone else. (i sure hope this doesn't sound selfrightous...it's not meant to)


arak42


Jan 19, 2003, 8:36 AM
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Hey thanks for the imput everyone. I hope I didn't sound too shallow, but I can't help but get frustrated because I am not thin(ner). Here is a little update though. I realized that I do have a little arm muscle going on, so I went out yesterday and bought myself two strappy tank tops. I can't wait until the warm weather so I can show off these muscles!

A few posts back someone said that they hate it when they think that guys are interested in them just for the way they look. All my life I have been actually thankful that I don't get the nasty attention from men that some on my more 'aesthetically pleasing' girl-friends get ie: guys look at my eyes and not at my chest (not much to look at!)

I know that climbing outside IS easier for someone like me. I can't wait until I can get back outside. I do need to take that advice and do some more crunches too! Thsnks!

K


ecocliffchick


Jan 20, 2003, 7:20 AM
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I've been frustrated with my weight on more than one occaison, and I've finally decided to do something about it. I worked out at an all women's gym for a year and dropped from 165 lbs to 150 and felt great. Then I discovered climbing and fell in love! Unfortunately on a student budget a work-out membership and a climbing gym membership was just too expensive and time consuming, so I just quit the gym and kept climbing. It's been about 5 years that I've remained the same weight, but over the last year in terms of climbing ability, I've hit a plateau. I've now made the commitment to lose another 15 lbs by rejoining a work-out gym. People have the choice between losing the weight or loving themselves the way they are. For me, I've decided that I'll be happier if I can finally break through this plateau and climb harder, and I think the weightloss will help. For years I was happy at 150 lbs - and hopefully at this time next year I'll be happy at 135.


russmanswife


Jan 20, 2003, 8:49 AM
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i had to add this after my first post i went to the gym that day and looked in the mirror and found that my body actually looked very strong i have muscles in my legs, arms, and back...very proud!! my husband actually laughs each time i flex my biceps at him, i have muscles and i am proud of them!!!!

plus with my little baby pooch it looks pretty cute!


blueeyedclimber


Jan 21, 2003, 8:37 AM
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Make sure you do not compare yourself to others. Make personal goals and will recieve personal triumphs. If you keep on climbing, you will improve. My girlfriend has been climbing longer than I have and gets frustrated when I can do something that she can't. I have to remind her that we are different climbers and I am climbing my strength right now. There are plenty of moves and/or climbs that she can do that I can't. Determine your weaknesses and work on them.

Peace, Josh


climbsomething


Jan 27, 2003, 12:29 PM
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Disclaimer: This is NOT a flame. This is merely from the "other side."

So...

This is a topic that has been done a LOT, and the answer that is always given is, deal with it. Adapt. This is your body. You have advantages alongside disadvantages.

I know this cos I am short, and for every whimper I make about not being able to reach, I also know I can scrunch up and wedge, into places bigger people can't. So it goes for being bigger- you have advantages.

I am a "wafer thin girl," "waif," "skinny little b*itch," or whatever the preferred sundry term is. 5'3 and 100 lbs and some change. Yep, I'm small. Yep, other girls get snippy with me, either jokingly, sincerely, or a mix of both. Yep, I have to say, it gets a bit old regardless.

I believe mreardon's assessment of male climbers, but it remains that women are extraordinarily preoccupied with their body shapes and sizes. (some, not all) little girls want to be curvier or taller, (some, not all) bigger girls want to wear size 5 pants. Both sides get crabby in their envy. At best, my people-pleasing urges try to make me apologize for being lucky; at worst, I plain get defensive, like "It's not MY fault that I'm petite and (editorial "you") you are not. Take off!" At the moment, I am on neither end, just stating objective facts/observations.

If anybody can believe this, since it might be "easy for me to say," I am grateful for my form, but do not believe more "womanly" girls are lesser climbers than I just because they have a larger build. Power to ya, power to us all. I had NO athletic skills before climbing- NONE. Wasn't a gymnast, wasn't a ballerina, I was just a skinny kid with no coordination, no strength, and fast metabolism.

There are plenty of "normal" sized girls out there who climb and enjoy it. I don't worry about a non-twig's ability to whomp on me (Lisa Rands, anybody? NOT a wisp of a girl ). I know what I've got. It is what it is. Focusing on the actual climbing gets far better results for all sizes than focusing on how one is built.


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