As anyone who has ever stepped into a weight room knows, women own the room as much as men do. And they have good reason to love lifting. Studies have shown that lifting weights builds strength, improves overall functionality, and helps maintain muscle mass as you age.
Yet internet trolls and random critics IRL won’t stop telling fit chicks that strength training is unfeminine, and that it will make their bodies look manly or too bulky.
Tired of the unsolicited comments from haters who clearly don’t know what they’re talking about, fitness blogger Kelsey Wells took to Instagram to say her piece. “Comments along the lines of ‘you’re looking manly’ or ‘careful you don’t want to be bulky’ or ‘weightlifting isn’t feminine’ never cease to amaze me,” wrote Wells.
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In the post, she advised her female followers to ignore these ridiculous claims and any other comments suggesting that there’s a “right” way to be feminine. “THE ONLY THING A WOMAN NEEDS TO DO TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND FEMININE IS TO BE HERSELF,” Wells proclaimed. She added that she feels most beautiful at the gym when she’s sweating up a storm, and she plans to continue to ignore negative comments about the gym workouts she loves.
For years, women like Serena Williams and Aly Raisman have had their toned bodies critiqued, even though these athletes are fitness inspirations to women everywhere. Yet for some reason, the bulk-up thing just won’t die. (For the record, women can’t bulk up the way men who lift do, because the typical female body has only a fraction of the testosterone guys have.)
So if you’re a weight-lifting newbie or have been benching and lifting for years, use Wells’ fierce comeback as motivation to keep at it and revel in how strong, powerful, and beautiful you feel. “Pay attention to the moments in life you FEEL beautiful. What are you doing? DO MORE OF THAT.”
This article originally appeared on Health.