Turbulence Training W4D3: More Than Ornamental

Dr. John Berardi has posted a great interview with “Mistress” Krista Scott-Dixon, founder of Stumptuous.com, my favorite site for no BS information about weightlifting for women.

Check out the interview here:

Here’s a great excerpt from the interview on the topic of the role of functional fitness on self-esteem and how the view of female bodies as solely ornamental has negatively impacted us all:

KSD: My mother, as I said, was a science teacher and is now a high school principal. So she’s a long-time educator, and I said to her once, “How do you build self-esteem?” Because I think we have this sense that self-esteem is built through affirmations, and saying to yourself, “I’m okay,” and whatever. I’m good enough, smart enough, whatever. But she said something interesting, which was that self-esteem is built through skills. And I thought that was actually a rather profound statement. And what I’ve noticed in my own practice is that if you demonstrate to people that they can gain the skills, and that their bodies are functional, then that can actually be life changing for the majority of people that do it. Weight training is one way. But I also know a lot of people who are involved with boxing, and that’s been an amazing experience. It really transforms women’s relationships with their bodies. So I do think that the potential is there even with training alone – if the training is the right kind of training. If the training focuses on functionality and performance, then I think it actually can be life changing.

PN: In other words, modalities that take the emphasis off how you look and place it instead on what you’re able to achieve?

KSD: Yeah, exactly. Because girls never get to have bodies that do stuff. It’s always about what you look like. It’s extremely disempowering. And it disguises the fact that having a body that’s non-functional is a problem. I work in an all-female workplace – actually there are a couple of guys – and even just lifting boxes, everyone is like, “Oh I can’t lift that.” And I’m like, “You should be embarrassed to say that.” We’re talking about 20 pound boxes, I mean, what’s the problem here? But there’s this sense that that’s normal, that’s okay. I’m currently taking a yoga class, and there are some women in the class that can’t support their own body weight on their hands. But they’re not saying, “Oh my God, I really need to fix this.” They’re saying, “Oh well, that’s normal.” So I think the sense of what’s normal for women is so flawed. But part of it’s a class thing too: no one does manual labor anymore. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would think all of us are pathetic. [Laughs.] So the standards of functionality have all been decreased because there is this sense, which is a very middle class sense, that women are supposed to be ornamental. That norm was never applied to working class women who had to go out and earn a living, often doing pretty heavy stuff. In general, that’s the problem: there’s just no emphasis on functionality at all.

In my experience, Krista’s observations are dead on. I know that I never really thought of my body in terms of skills and function until I entered basic training in the Army, and neither had most of the other women in basic with me. We were truly pathetic in the beginning–unable to do more than a few sagging full push-ups and gasping for breath around the track during our first 2-mile-runs. Most of us had never been encouraged to DO anything more active than walk around a mall once we reached high school age, and it showed. But Uncle Sam’s drill sergeants wouldn’t accept any excuses about PMS, weak arms, or poor lungs–the gals did everything the guys did and were pushed just as hard.

And you know what?

We got better at everything and performed physical tasks none of us realized we could do when we were just brainwashed civvie arm ornaments for “stronger” males.

We climbed ropes and 8-foot walls without assistance, we low-crawled under yards of barbed wire on our bellies, we dropped and knocked out 20 *good* push-ups on command without skipping a beat, and we ruckmarched 10k with over 25 lbs of extra gear on our backs carrying M16 rifles in front of us.

We survived 8 weeks without make up, jewelry, perfume, contact lenses, hair spray, and manicures.

Our bodies were fit, fast, strong, and beautiful–because they were finally functional.

Just like they were meant to be.


Warmup Circuit (performed 2x)
• 10 reps of bodyweight squats
• 3 reps of 10 seconds for the plank
• 8 pushups
• 2 reps of 10 seconds per side for the side plank
• 10 reps of light BB Rows (@ 30 lbs)

Specific Warmup
• BB Squat (2×8) (45 & 75 lb)
• Wide-Grip Row (2×8) (40 & 55 lb)

TTFW Workout A (Supersets)
A1) BB Squat (3×8) (95, 105, and 115 lb)
A2) Wide-Grip Row (3×8) (85 lb)
B1) DB Split Squat (3×12) (35 lb db)
B2) Reverse-grip Pulldown (3×12) (85 lb)
C1) Ab Curl-up (2×6)
C2) Side Plank (2×4 reps per side for 10 seconds)


0: Workout Shake (1/2 banana, 4 strawberries, 1 scoop whey protein, 1 c. Diet V8 Splash Tropical, 1 scoop l-glutamine)
1: 1/3 c. oatmeal, 1/4 c. raisins, 3 egg whites
2: 1/4 c. (dry) quinoa, Chicken in Red Tomato sauce (4 oz. chicken breast, 3/4 c. mixed Peking veggies, and sauce from this recipe)
3: 2 rice cakes, 1 T. all natural peanut butter, 1 c. soy milk, 3/4 c. raw zucchini and carrots
4: 1 scoop whey protein, 1.5 T. all natural peanut butter, 3/4 c. raw zucchini and carrots
5: 4 oz. chicken breast, 3 c. lettuce/tomato/onion/pepper salad, 2 T. Kraft Free Zesty Italian dressing
6: 4 egg white/2 whole egg omelette with 1/2 c. cooked spinach

Water: 16 cups
Supplements: 3 capsules Digest-All, 6 capsules fish oil, 1 multivitamin, 1 calcium 600 + D, 10 g. l-glutamine

One thought on “Turbulence Training W4D3: More Than Ornamental

  1. Wow, Maggie, really liked this post. I was just trying to think of somehow trying to help my daughter with her self-esteem/weight problem. I never thought of it as being ‘functional’. I am ALL for being ‘functional’. I will help hubby with yard work and any repairs that need to be done around the house, but hate it when I can’t unscrew a lid. I really like this concept. It’s made me think of being fit in a whole different light and a different way to approach my daughter with fitness. Thanks!

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