Does this bench make my boobs look small? And should I even care?
I don’t know how many times I have googled this question, but it has been numerous times. I even know of one other certified personal trainer (but she has her masters in personal training AND a certification) who remarked one day at the gym
“I don’t bench that much weight because my boobs are small enough as it is!”
Every time I google this question, google says no. Most recently I read an article in bodybuilding.com which states that bench press does not decrease breast size. In fact, supposedly, it can increase the look of your breasts by firming up the muscles behind them to perk them up and give them the illusion of depth. So why do I feel like whenever my dumbbell chest press or bench press goes up, my boobs get smaller or look like these random things just sitting on my pecs? Why do I sort of consciously not emphasize my bench press because I don’t want an A cup?
The first fact is that weight lifting doesn’t decrease breast size, but lowering your body fat percentage does. When I’m doing good on my workout routine and going up in lifting weight, my body fat percentage is going down. Where does my body draw this fuel I’m burning from? My boobs. Why it picks this over my lower stomach blub is beyond me and terribly frustrating… but there it is.
The second thing is that every article I’ve read seems to suggest incline bench press over traditional bench press. Given, they often mention both, but incline bench press seems to be the most emphasized and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps by working the upper part of the pectoral you lift your breasts and make them look perkier? I’m very skeptical.
Occasionally I think that there is something I can do to magically improve my breast size. According to a recent article I read, supposedly you can increase you breast size by eating estrogenic foods, like flaxseed, soybeans, tofu, hummus, pumpkin, garlic, and red beans. But I guess this if this were true I’d had some pretty awesome jugs, given the jugs of soymilk I drink and the amount of flaxseed I eat.
It’s a constant conundrum. I feel like I’m always bouncing in between whether my stomach looks good or my breasts do, and I often think longingly of how much better I’d feel if I just had a little more up top. I mean, the rule of thumb is that your stomach can’t stick out more than you boobs do, so if the boobs were just a little bigger, a little muffin top here or there wouldn’t make me feel nearly as bad. And being bi, I KNOW that big boobs are hot. I freaking love them! And my boyfriend does too, which makes me sad. A professed boob man, Jesse (the boyfriend) and I live on the west coast, where for some reason breast implants are all the rage. And I see how happy those women are. Or at least they look happy. But I am also a big advocate of being strong, and loving your body the way it is. I call myself a feminist. Can one be a feminist and want bigger boobs? Should I want bigger boobs? Is it possible for us small chested girls to throw heavy weights around and not care that by losing body fat we’re risking our cup size?
It’s a popular debate now-a-days; can women with breast implants be considered feminist? Plenty of women feel conflicted over the desire, give in, and love their new boobs but are also plagued with feminist guilt. I have friends with boob jobs and I don’t judge them for it. Feminism is supposed to be about feeling sexy in your own skin, and doing what feels right. For these women, that meant putting silicone in their chests. I like tattoos, so who am I to judge? In the end, aren’t we both using modern day science to change what we look like?
Furthermore, not only can I understand women who get boob jobs to perk up a small A or a B cup, but what about those women who have no cup? Or seriously asymmetrical breasts? (That’s a thing. Think one side is an A, the other a C.) Some women have mental disorders or, in one case I read, an exceedingly large labia, thus having one part about themselves that they can be proud of is very important. Whenever a part of you doesn’t fit what society considers beautiful, it is incredibly difficult to be not only accepting of yourself, but proud like you should be. Feeling confident naked is really hard, even if you are with someone who is supportive of it and of you. And just because they are supportive doesn’t mean that they don’t secretly wish you looked better. It doesn’t mean that you don’t wish you looked better. It doesn’t mean that for once in your life, you don’t want to go shopping and feel normal. I wear sports bras a lot because my clothing choices are shirts that expose my bra because the neckline is made for a C-cup, or spandex. Obviously if you have small boobs than at least you have to have a six pack right? Right?
I recently read an article, and it really struck close to home. The author Jennifer Miller wrote about how her wedding dresses had to be altered in order to fit her A cup, and how she struggled with the reality of her body in contrast with her wedding fantasies. She always dreamed of wedding dress shopping as an almost magical experience, not an experience that would make her feel inadequate. Her fiancé (now husband) was also a professed boob lover, and she was now confronting a serious question.
“What if he’d always, on some level, consider my body a disappointment?”
I guess another question is, what if we small chested women, on some level, always consider our body a disappointment? If we’ve learned to love the rest of ourselves, our noses, our imperfect abs, and our thighs that jiggle a little when we walk, can we learn to love our chests too?
It’s a complicated question, and I can’t tell you to care or not to care. I can’t tell you to stop wishing for what you don’t have. I certainly can’t tell you to not go out and buy a boob job. I freely admit to buying push up bras because, hot damn, they make some outfits look much nicer. That’s like a cheap boob job. However, at the end of the day, I believe I am who I am who I am. And I want to be who I am, at the end of the day, with the person that I love.
Miller writes “Now I realized that I was responsible for making the dress look beautiful, not the other way around. It was a lesson I’d learned again and again growing up with a small bust: The size of my chest mattered far less than the amount of pride I put behind it.”
I’m never going to get implants, even if I have the money. That money is better spent helping out those who need real things, like food and water. I’m not saying if they magically grow I’m going to be disappointed, and if for some medical reason I had to have the real ones removed I would certainly take the opportunity for an upgrade (I’m not that strong!) but my feminist heart can’t condone body augmentation as something I personally need to do. I want to be loved and seen as beautiful for who I am and what I do with the body that was given to me, not what a surgeon has done to it.
Moral of the story? Hit those benches ladies, and stick out those chests (whatever size they may be) with pride. Let’s stop googling the relationship between lifting weight and boob size, and just kick ass instead. And if you really, really, really need to get a boob job? I’ll envy your bounce as you walk by. But please ladies, let us make boob jobs the exception, and not the norm.
This Weeks in Updates
Guess what this week is! Yes, the professed boob man is visiting me even though I’m trying to up my bench press weight. I took full advantage of this by purchasing a few things that I could afford because we’ll be eating out a lot this weekend: like TP and coconut oil. Hey, sometimes I can make it through one week on one roll, but I don’t like to. Sometimes you have to do crazy things for your budget. Luckily for me, the TP and the coconut oil were both on sale. So was the giant jug of smoothie I got! People tend to say, why not save money and buy the ingredients for the smoothie yourself? However, when you have no freezer, there is no way I could buy organic apples, strawberries, and oranges and make myself a good smoothie of the quantity and quality for $6. Organic strawberries were on sale for $4! So if you have no freezer and a limited amount of money? I fully recommend getting pre-blended fruit.
We’re going to try making some paleo, almond butter, pots de creme. Wish our baking endeavors luck! He also bought me a frappichino. He certainly knows the way to my heart.
The Recipe: Easy Flourless Chocolate Avocado Cake
I ate this for breakfast and felt guilty for a second before I realized how healthy it was! Note that you really have to let this cool before you eat it. It’s a dark chocolate, not a super sweet chocolate taste, so you have to give the flavors time to solidify. I tried a bit out of the oven and was like bleh! This is terrible! The next morning I was happily munching and concluding that I was a genius. This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made hands down. And go figure. It has an avocado in it, and no sugar or butter. Who knew?
Makes enough for a snack cake, about the size of a bread pan. If you want a full cake pan worth, double the recipe.
1/2 cup Chocolate Baking Powder
4 tablespoons honey (and some extra to drizzle on top!)
Pumpkin Pie spice or cinnamon
2 big spoonfulls almond butter
Blend all ingredients together in a blender, and pour into a well greased pan. Cook at 300 degrees for 40 minutes or until fork comes out clean. Let chill in the refrigerator and then drizzle with honey before eating.
If you like this recipe, try this amazing and healthy gluten free sweet potato “french toast”!