The gym can be an intimidating place for people. If you’re a woman, that intimidation can be felt even more. Despite the growing female presence in the health and fitness industry, it seems like men are still setting the standards for how to look and how to train.

Fitness and sports were a boy’s club for so long that they gave rise to such cute expressions as “like a girl.” For a long time, telling a man that he trained or played like a girl was the ultimate insult (The Sandlot, anyone?)—because women are soft, weak, and incapable of asserting themselves like men do… right?

We call bullshit. And in honor of International Women’s Day (March 8), we’re turning that “train like a girl” phrase on its ear. We took some time to interview some of the strongest, most driven women we know—the women of Onnit—and ask them what it means to “train like a girl,” and find out what motivates them on their journeys to total human optimization.

Salah Gibbons, Manager of Strategic Relationships

“Training like a girl means that you don’t give up when the going gets tough; you stay resilient and focused. I’m training to be an inspiration to my children and to show them that you can care for your family and give your time to others while also making time for yourself.”

Katie Callaway, Customer Relations Associate

“To train like a girl, for me, means to train how I want to train and when I want to train, but always with a warrior spirit. People think the word ‘warrior’ is a masculine term, and it typically is, but women can create whatever narrative they want with the words they choose. For me, women are the most important and beautiful creatures on this planet. We should show up every day like we understand that. The ‘why’ behind my training is my mother. She had cancer. I want her and the family of my own that I’ll have one day to look at me like I’m Wonder Woman!

“But I also train for me. Staying active and being fit, strong, and durable gives me the confidence to go for whatever I want in life. When you are strong mentally and physically, there’s nothing you can’t have.”

Marissa Gonzalez, Custom Relations Associate

“Training like a girl means not comparing my progress to others and doing what feels good for my body. It’s about combining strength, stretching, and substance. It’s balance. I want to have a healthier relationship with my body to improve my physical and mental health, and to strive to make it my lifestyle rather than a chore or hobby.”

Aimee Giles, Executive Assistant to the Chief Fitness Officer

“Train like a girl makes me think of my two daughters who inspire me to be the best I can be. They believe girls are powerful and can run the world (they like Beyoncé!). Because of that, I train as hard as I can, even on days I don’t want to or I have a million other things to do! I want to live a long and happy life and be around for all the milestones in my kids’ lives. I also train to feel good and live each day fully. We often take being healthy for granted; I’ve had moments in life where I was battling with illness and I didn’t feel or look good. However, working out at Onnit makes me feel my absolute best!”

Christine Anderson, Black Swan Yoga Assistant Manager

“My desire to grow and transform is my torch in the world of fitness, yoga, and meditation. If I train ‘like a girl,’ it’s to remove the gender stereotypes of what it means to work like a female versus a male. Sometimes, my gym makes me feel like I am walking into a testosterone factory, but I find joy in working past my insecurities and allowing myself to fully connect with all the energymasculine AND feminine—that’s in there. I allow myself to feel inspired by everyone I see working hard and sweating their asses off.

“I don’t like to be boxed in, and training has unleashed my primal power, which has helped to grow my inner confidence and strength as a woman.”

Sarah Winegeart, Director of Social Media

“When I hear someone say ‘train like a girl,’ I think of all the amazing, strong women around me. I think of how badass they are and how they inspire so many other women. So let people say “train like a girl”; I dare you to keep up. I train for my health, but not only that, I train because I love the way it makes me feel. Walking away from a workout and knowing you put it all on the line, you gave it everything you’ve got… is there anything better?” 

From all of us at Onnit, Happy International Women’s Day! Check out the International Women’s Day website to learn how you can help build a more gender-balanced world, and strike your “balance pose” on social media, using the hashtag #BalanceForBetter, this year’s Women’s Day theme.

BalanceForBetter

What does “train like a girl” mean to you? Comment below and share your thoughts. And if you want to learn how to REALLY train like a girl, check out our core and arm workouts for women!