Lifting Weights and Nail Polish

by Dec 13, 2019

I heard his laugh from behind me, as I demonstrated the Lat Pull Down exercise I wanted him to do 12 reps of.

“Why are you laughing?”, I asked, as I got up from the bench. 

“It’s just…it’s just that you’re lifting all these weights and you have nail polish on.”  

Effectively, he’d never seen a woman with painted nails, demonstrating physical strength in this way before.  

“How I was supposed to adorn myself. And, how I wasn’t. With muscles. With nail polish.” 

 He was wrestling with his beliefs about what his female personal trainer’s body was supposed to be like. 

What it supposed to look like.  

What I, as a woman, was supposed to be like.  

How I was supposed to adorn myself. And, how I wasn’t.   

With muscles. With nail polish. 

I had painted nails and I was lifting the exact amount of weight that I wanted him to lift.

This was almost 10 years ago. I was 22 years old. Training clients in the gym from well before sunrise until after sunset. 

I didn’t have the language to fully understand that interaction then, but I understood that he was surprised by this example of a woman doing challenging physical work, with painted nails.

The masculine. The feminine. How did this all fit together? 

HINT: it can fit however you want it to fit. The rest is all bullshit, anyways. 

He had daughters who would be teenagers now. I have kids who are 1 and 4 years old.

I hope they are all seeing examples of what all people can be, can choose to be, and don’t have to be. You are yours, too.


 You too want to lift weights, with or without your nails painted?

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Jessie Mundell is mama-in-chief at, where she’s helped hundreds of moms feel strong, confident, and EMPOWERED in their bodies with fitness programs tailored to their prenatal and postnatal needs.

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