In Douglas D. Grant’s final Publisher’s Letter for Iron Man Magazine, we made the 2019 Winter Issue, the Iron WOman Magazine.
In the 1950s, Iron Man Magazine did a world-first: feature women in the gym lifting weights. It was a time of strict gender roles, despite the shakeup WWII brought. It was also the beginning of the changing view of women as exclusively wives and mothers. Women were hitting the weight room and their debut in Iron Man Magazine inspired both men and women around the globe, laying out a new path in the fitness world.
However, the path wasn’t easy. Women performed the same workouts as men, utilized the same diets, and, eventually, the same supplement regimens. There was a pressure for many women to essentially be men. With the help of hormone therapy and other drugs, many women eventually looked and sounded like men. The rise of competition categories, such as women’s bodybuilding within Non-Tested Bodybuilding, took the fitness industry by storm, changing the way that women competing in fitness and bodybuilding were viewed by the world.
This change sparked an identity struggle and begged the question, “What does it mean to be a woman while hardcore strength training?”
What makes a woman feel feminine varies from person to person. Some can’t leave the house without designer heels, while others feel empowered by covering the weight room floor in sweat. For some, it’s physical. For others, it’s emotional. It can even be a blend of both.
Fast forward to 2019, women are in positions of power everywhere, including fitness and athletics. Society has made huge strides, but this women-focused issue of Iron Man Magazine will show you that there are still strides for the better to be made. The industry screamed that women shouldn’t be shown on a cover of Iron Man lifting weights in 1950. We heard screaming before this issue ever came out about a pregnant woman being on the cover and it not being hardcore bodybuilding enough. The fact is that if a woman is training at the highest, healthiest level while pregnant, that should be something just as inspiring as a non-pregnant bodybuilder lifting as hard and healthy as they can. Another first for the Industry, Iron Man proudly displays women in all stages of a bodybuilding physique.
Today, it has become clear as to how strong women have been all this time. The contemporary challenge for women is the drive to be strong while still holding on to what it means to them individually, to be a woman through all phases of life. Society still wants to put them in a box and control what it means to be an empowered woman, but the female spirit, body, and mind is more than what society tries to pigeon hole. Women can strive to be and do whatever they want, including developing a body through weight training and nutrition that they love and are comfortable in.
Female empowerment is still a work-in-progress, as is understanding their identity and embracing it. There are still PEDs, steroids, and even hormone therapies geared towards helping women get the figure results they want. Iron Man Magazine isn’t here to tell women which drugs and therapies to take or not take;
Upcoming generations and our peers look to the greats and strive to follow in their footsteps. Without full transparency of the methods used to achieve success, are we really empowering others to help them achieve their own?
I’m a big fan of both men and women empowering women to become the best, strongest people they can be. My wife is a natural professional figure competitor with the PNBA and I am her number one fan, as well as her trainer. This issue is packed full of inspiring stories, heartfelt words of wisdom, and super helpful tips and tricks for all things lifting, diet, health, recipes and more from contemporary greats, like the professional soccer players behind SWEAT Cosmetics and fitness mogul Jillian Michaels, to help inspire, motivate, and empower women across the globe to go after their goals. These women know what it means to be a natural athlete while staying true to what it means to be a natural woman. I hope their stories inspire you and bring affirmation to what you believed was true all along.
Yours in health,
Douglas D. Grant