ShareThis Page

Women are muscling their way to fitter bodies

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
Taylor Crede, of Penn Township, Butler County, works out on a weight machine under the watchful eyes of trainer Stephanie Verdecchia at her gym Studio Fit in Penn, Butler County.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Taylor Crede, of Penn Township, Butler County, works out on a weight machine under the watchful eyes of trainer Stephanie Verdecchia at her gym Studio Fit in Penn, Butler County.
Model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson of Churchill works out with trainer Clay Moorefield at One on One Fitness in the Strip District.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson of Churchill works out with trainer Clay Moorefield at One on One Fitness in the Strip District.
Joan Steighner of Butler trains with Stephanie Verdecchia at Studio Fit in Penn, Butler County.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Joan Steighner of Butler trains with Stephanie Verdecchia at Studio Fit in Penn, Butler County.
Model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson, of Churchill, works the muscles in her arms at the One on One Fitness in the Strip District, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson, of Churchill, works the muscles in her arms at the One on One Fitness in the Strip District, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.
Fitness instructor Stephanie Verdecchia trains two clients, Joan Steighner, of Butler, (left) and Taylor Crede, of Penn Township, Butler County inside Verdecchia's gym, Studio Fit in Penn Township, Butler County on Friday Nov. 7, 2014.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Fitness instructor Stephanie Verdecchia trains two clients, Joan Steighner, of Butler, (left) and Taylor Crede, of Penn Township, Butler County inside Verdecchia's gym, Studio Fit in Penn Township, Butler County on Friday Nov. 7, 2014.
Model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson, of Churchhill, works out under the eye of trainer Clay Moorefield, at the One on One Fitness in the Strip District, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Moorefield owns  G.O.A.L.S. Oriented Training, which stands for Getting On A Lifetime System.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson, of Churchhill, works out under the eye of trainer Clay Moorefield, at the One on One Fitness in the Strip District, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Moorefield owns G.O.A.L.S. Oriented Training, which stands for Getting On A Lifetime System.
Model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miiyoshi Anderson, of Churchill. works out under the eye of trainer Clay Moorefield, at the One on One Fitness in the Strip District, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Moorefield owns G.O.A.L.S. Oriented Training which stands for Getting On A Lifetime System.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miiyoshi Anderson, of Churchill. works out under the eye of trainer Clay Moorefield, at the One on One Fitness in the Strip District, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Moorefield owns G.O.A.L.S. Oriented Training which stands for Getting On A Lifetime System.
Silhouetted against the window is model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson, of Churchill, who works out on the heavy bag at the One on One Fitness in the Strip District, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Silhouetted against the window is model and Pittsburgh Fashion Week executive director Miyoshi Anderson, of Churchill, who works out on the heavy bag at the One on One Fitness in the Strip District, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.
Kiera Nappenbach of the North Side strikes a pose during a aerial hoop class at Fullbody Fitness Club in Brentwood Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Kiera Nappenbach of the North Side strikes a pose during a aerial hoop class at Fullbody Fitness Club in Brentwood Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.
Fullbody Fitness Club co-owner Jenly Deiter of Penn Hills teaches an aerial hoop class in Brentwood.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Fullbody Fitness Club co-owner Jenly Deiter of Penn Hills teaches an aerial hoop class in Brentwood.

Snug clothing can be a positive thing.

“Women are buying clothes that show off their muscles,” says Kelsey Keller, who, with Jenly Deiter, owns Fullbody Fitness Club in Brentwood. “More and more women are fit and working to become even more fit.”

In other words, strong is the new skinny. More women have given up an unhealthy obsession with a boney-thin body for muscular definition.

“I love to do strength training and high-intensity workouts that will build muscle faster and burn more calories in the long run,” says Darieth Chisolm of Jefferson Hills, former owner of Fullbody Fitness. “It is what athletes use to build strength and develop lean muscle. ... And muscles are so much more attractive than someone being really thin.”

Women aren't intimidated by doing a variety of high-intensity workouts, says Jen Ator, fitness director for Women's Health magazine.

“It helps keep a woman motivated and keep her more mentally engaged, and it's also important so that not just one muscle group is getting overworked for the long term,” says Ator, who recently completed an Ironman competition.

“There has been a shift in women being encouraged to lift and do more strength-training exercises and more athletic-type activities,” she says. “They see other women doing these workouts who are athletic and fit and strong, and they want to look that way, too. Strong is definitely the new sexy. And women are embracing it.”

According to a survey of fitness professionals by the American College of Sports Medicine, high-intensity interval training — workouts that involve short bursts of intense exercise, was the top fitness trend of 2014.

For previous generations, it was about doing lots of cardiovascular exercises to get skinny, says Dr. Tanya Hagen, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

“It is important to be happy with a figure that is more fit,” says Hagen, the sports medicine fellowship director at UPMC Center for Sports Medicine. “In the general population, we are still seeing a shift to strong versus skinny thanks to athletes who are strong and fit on the covers of magazines.”

Those images include athletes like soccer players Alex Morgan and Hope Solo, tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and swimmers Dara Torres and Missy Franklin.

But Hagan admits there are still those women for whom thin is in.

“There are some women who still struggle with body type related to self-esteem and self-confidence,” she says. “There is still a major subset of athletes who ... are dealing with eating disorders and other unhealthy practices.”

Being realistic is what Stephanie Verdecchia is all about. As owner of Studio Fit in Penn, Butler County, she doesn't sugarcoat with her clients, she says, “because you don't get results that way... There are women who come to me for a workout and who want to be skinny, but I talk to them about being healthy and strong.”

One of her clients is Taylor Crede. “My goal is to look like I am flexing without flexing,” says Crede of Penn. “Being strong is important, too. I see girls who are thin and who don't look healthy. I try to eat well and exercise and do it the right way. I love cross-training because it is fun doing different workouts, and you see results.”

There is a right way and a wrong way to do things, Verdecchia says. “I so believe in quality over quantity,” she says.

So does another client, Joan Steighner of Butler.

“I was afraid of the gym at first, but not anymore,” Steighner says. “I want to be strong. It's not about diet and skinny for me. It's about wanting to feel good about myself. I feel energized when I leave Studio Fit. Stephanie is tough, but I keep coming back because it's addicting — in a good way.”

Knowing what she wanted in a workout was impressive to Miyoshi Anderson's trainer Clay Moorefield. Anderson, a model and executive director of Pittsburgh Fashion Week, came to him over a year ago wanting to build muscle and strength. Anderson has witnessed the obsession to be super skinny for the runway, but says that is changing somewhat. She personally prefers being fit, strong and healthy.

“It's about setting goals,” says Moorefield of West Mifflin. His GOALS Oriented Training program stands for Getting on a Lifetime System. Recently, he worked with Anderson at One on One Fitness in the Strip District. “It is important to put your trust in your trainer and to be dedicated to a fitness program,” he says. “And if you stick to it, you will see visible results.”

With so many new workouts available today, women can find creativity and not just run on a treadmill, Keller says. “You can choose from workouts such as aerial, which is fun and an exercise where you don't necessarily feel like you are working out. While you are doing it, you are getting stronger and gaining flexibility.”

There is no ideal weight or number that women need to be at, says Lisa Stugart, owner of Vygor Fitness + Nutrition in Glenshaw. If you are eating healthy and working out regularly, then you can focus on your strengths rather than where you think you should be.

“My goal for my clients is to focus on the words ‘strong' and ‘fit' rather than ‘skinny,' ” Stugart says.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.