She's Tough: Extreme Fitness Training for Women

She's Tough: Extreme Fitness Training for Women

by Kylie Hatmaker


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935937616
Publisher: Tracks Publishing
Publication date: 06/01/2014
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 1,269,394
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Mark Hatmaker is the bestselling author of the MMA Mastery series, the No Holds Barred Fighting series, Boxer's Bible of Counterpunching, Boxer's Book of Conditioning & Drilling, Boxing Mastery, and No Second Chance. He has produced more than 40 instructional videos and he has extensive experience in the combat arts including boxing, wrestling, Jiu-jitsu, and Muay Thai. A highly regarded coach of professional and amateur fighters, law enforcement officials, and security personnel, he is also the founder of Extreme Self Protection, a research body that compiles, analyzes, and teaches the most effective Western combat methods known. Kylie Hatmaker is a combat artist who has demonstrated a variety of techniques in books and videos including Boxer’s Book of Conditioning and No Second Chance: A Reality-Based Guide to Self-Defense. She assists Mark Hatmaker in the combat arts program Extreme Self Protection. They live in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Read an Excerpt

She's Tough

Extreme Fitness Training for Women

By Kylie Hatmaker, Mark Hatmaker, Doug Werner

Tracks Publishing

Copyright © 2014 Kylie Hatmaker, Mark Hatmaker and Doug Werner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-935937-67-8


1.1 Heart Attack Hill

So here's how it all started ...

Our driveway sits on a hill. It's approximately 100 yards long with a somewhat steep portion as you near the top. Keep that 100 yards in mind. I'm not talking a mile, just an upward sloping football field.

About five years ago my husband, step-daughter, Samantha, and I were riding our bikes on the nice level area down near the house. We didn't do this often, but for some reason something about that afternoon prompted a little "Hey, we're a family riding our bikes in circles" action.

After a few short flat laps Mark got bored, headed up the hill, hit the top and then shot back down to grab that joyful bit of effortless speed that only going downhill on a bike can give.

He's doing this over and over and soon Samantha gets into the up-the-hill-slowly, down-the-hill-quickly action.

Me? I'm content with the flat lazy circles we started with down below. But after a few prompts of "Come on, it's fun" and not wanting to be the party-pooper in the impromptu family bike party, I attacked the hill.

Remember what I said about 100 yards? Let's break that 100 yards down into increments.

First 25-30 yards. Piece of cake, should have joined them in the fun earlier.

30-50 yards. Hmm? A little steeper than I thought, but I'm fine.

50-75 yards. I am peddling through molasses. Moving so slowly that I wonder how I can have enough forward momentum to keep the bike upright. Also, how is a 10-year-old going up and down this hill with no problem? I might have to ground her.

75 to 90 yards. Nobody knows it but I am seriously contemplating quitting. I'm 10 yards from the top of the hill, standing up on the pedals and driving for all I'm worth and making what seems to my oxygen depleted lungs like zero progress.

Top of the Hill. I do not hairpin turn and hit the downhill immediately as my two now-hated family members do. I stop, put both feet on the pavement and huff for breath hoping that my discomfort is not as obvious as I fear it must be.

I'm taking short ragged breaths at an alarming clip. This is 100 yards people, and I'm chugging at the atmosphere like a drowning swimmer going under for the last time.

My heart! I don't think I've ever been so acutely aware of it before. It's pounding so hard and rapidly I think, "My God, I'm 28-years-old, lean with no pre-existing health problems and I'm going to keel over in my own driveway, felled by what is essentially a child's toy."

I eventually regained some semblance of normal breathing and rode down the hill. It was not as fun as they said. Perhaps because I was too busy doing the internal mental assessment of "What the hell just happened to me?" to appreciate the wind-in-the-face moment.

At the bottom, I continued the lazy flat circles, left the hill to them and thought to myself, "Whoa, I am one seriously out-of-shape loser."

Note to reader: Being out of shape didn't really make me a loser — remember, I write how I talk. I'm just saying this was a wake-up call. I had a decision to make, I could go one of three ways:

1. Sell the bikes and forbid anyone from ever using them again.

2. Start yoga or Pilates, or some other form of "does this pass for exercise?" to make me feel better about myself while still riding my flat circles and avoiding hills for the rest of my life. Or ...

3. Really do something about what just happened to me.

I think you know which one I chose.

1.2 What's Wrong with Pilates?


Yeah, I kinda knocked it there a bit. Well, that and yoga. And if you want to know the truth I put Zumba, Jazzercise and whatever else has been, is, or will be new and trendy and marketed primarily to a female audience in the same weak sauce category.

I personally don't like the assumptions that what all we sweet little ladies need is some tarted up phys ed lite confection that we can all do in a little room isolated from the real gym equipment. Who started this whole women are delicate flowers who are only capable of dancing or stretching their way to fitness while wearing marketed-just-for-the-class trendy clothes?

Talk about gender stereotypes — there you have 'em.

Listen — if any of the above are your personal cups of (weak) tea, knock yourself out, I'm not here to talk anyone out of their tea.

I'm simply saying that some of us prefer coffee. You know, something a little stronger. Something that will get the job done right now.

Some of us want to be challenged, not "empowered." I hate that word, it smacks of condescension. I've never understood the self-imposed contradiction of "I'm equal to any man and when I get through with my step class with my five pound hand weights I'll prove it."

This book, as if you didn't already know, is aimed at those women who already resent this condescension. Or who at the very least suspect that some of the "Just for Ladies" fitness regimes might be lacking.

Again, if you like the tea, drink all of it you like, just never forget it's weak tea and nothing more.

Me? I like my coffee strong.

I remember when I first started working out. What to me now are the simplest tasks seemed like insurmountable challenges. Each time we tackle something that we find difficult and then overcome that obstacle, or at the very least give it our best shot, we grow a bit better or stronger for simply having attempted to do what was in front of us.

I've learned that we grow not only in physical capacity but in mental capacity. Old-timers used to call it grit. We learn that you make hard tasks easier not by lowering the bar, but by keeping the bar high and always trying to meet and exceed what's in front of you. We improve ourselves by the effort we put in, not the comfort we escape to.

Some may think that always keeping the bar high might create frustration, but I don't see it that way because there is no failure in showing up and doing the work to whatever capacity you are currently capable of. The only failure is not showing up at all, not even attempting the work, or purposefully diminishing the work before we even commence so that a false sense of self-esteem grows as we require less of ourselves.

1.3 No Boys Allowed (Unless ...)

Having training partners, or better yet, an entire crew of people to work with while you're training, working out, whatever you want to call it, can make the whole affair a bit more fun. Having a companion or two sweating, straining and shouting encouragement side-by-side can go a long way to making some of the hard work required a bit more palatable.

In choosing training partners, some go out of their way to stay gender-specific. That is, avoiding a co-ed crew. I see this as a mistake. No, there's nothing wrong with having a female-only crew if only females want to step up. But I do think there is a problem with intentionally creating a female-only crew.

I was all prepared to lay down my thoughts on this when I recalled my husband had already written on this very subject. So I'm going to allow him to highjack the conversation for the next few paragraphs. Keep in mind he is writing to an audience that is interested in Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Training, but it seems to me that, all the thoughts hold true for our conversation.

So, take it away, Hon.

1.4 Gender & Weight Class

by Mark Hatmaker

I am often asked a question along these lines, "Hey Mark, I have some women in my class. What's the best approach to teaching them?"

My answer: "Like a fully functioning, intelligent human being with an interest in combat sports or street defense."

Many gyms offer female-only classes in what seems to me some curious harkening back to "separate but equal" days.

Before anyone running or gladly attending a single-gender mandated class gets his hackles up, stand down. I am completely aware that many women (not all) prefer the female-only approach. When it is the individual's call to be separated from others, by all means exercise that preference.

I'm talking to those who may have wondered why the genders must be separated (I see no reason for it), or, if the genders are mixed, should there be a difference in treatment? (Not so much).

From what I can tell in conversation with many, these questions are way stickier than they appear at first blush. So let's see if we can make things a little less sticky.

First, if you are a female and prefer the company of a female-only crew, that's your call — I'm not here to talk you out of it. I would, however, ask why you prefer working with your gender alone. In asking this question I've received some of the following answers.

"I find working with women less threatening."

OK, that's fair. But no matter your gender, if you find your current coaches or training partners threatening, then maybe they aren't the ones you should train with. The ideal environment to foster learning is one that will challenge you, constantly raise the bar (your personal bar, that is) and be hell-bent on encouraging you and coaching you to get to new levels. Threats in the fiery college basketball coach sense has no place in the equation.

I would be completely thick-skulled if I did not acknowledge that some women turn to self-defense in response to an unpleasant incident in their real lives. I have encountered two polarizing attitudes in women who have endured such a thing.

One group of ladies say, "Don't candy-coat it, I want the real thing because that is never, ever happening to me again." These ladies are my heroes.

The second group have an attitude that is more withdrawn and less likely to accept the interplay and full scope of training that is vital to inculcate real-world skills.

I sympathize and empathize with both attitudes, but I will say that the more assertive one is far more useful. For those less assertive I offer the following advice: If you have chosen your coaches and training partners well, then trust your judgment and get to training. These folks are your partners in the game, they are here to help.

If you do not trust them enough to give yourself up to the training, then get out of there and move on to where you can feel comfortable. If that place is nowhere at the moment, then might I suggest putting training on the back burner for a little while. Give it a little time.

"I don't want to get hurt."

Not getting hurt is a mighty smart stance to take. I am a possessor of male genitalia, and I can testify (note the root of that word) that I don't want to get hurt either. I can't think of a man or woman I have trained with who has approached training sessions with a desire to suffer an injury.

With that said, we must accept the fact that combat training is a contact sport, and there will there be a few bumps and bruises down the line. That is, if you're doing it right. All contact will be scaled to skill and weight class (coming to that), but expecting to absorb the full impact of the training (so to speak) in a hands-off method is akin to expecting to become proficient at football or rugby without allowing for any blocking or tackling.

To be frank, I often find classes where the genders are mixed problematic in the opposite sense — the male partners are often a bit too solicitous of their female counterparts. They are behaving quite the opposite of what some fear, they are being considerate gentlemen. As much as a fan of respect, honor and manners that I am, I find this over-solicitation a disservice to the women.

I'm not saying don't be courteous, don't be a gentleman, but I am saying that this over-extension of "taking it easy" actually implies the opposite of respect (unknowingly and unintentionally, of course).Taking it easy with your female cohort is in a sense saying, "You can't handle this, so I will treat you with kid gloves."

This isn't license to knock your female partners out (if you were capable or even of the inclination). It's just a bit of advice to treat each other as the considerate, intelligent, able human beings that each of you are.

Rather than the sexes avoiding or tip-toeing around one another, I suggest we regard one another as the athletes or burgeoning athletes that we are. If we are going to adjust for differences, let's let those adjustments be in deference to a distinction we already make — weight class.

Contrary to popular myth and in agreement with a particular type of email spam, size matters. Size differences are why we have weight classes. Combat classes are often composed of athletes of all sorts of shapes and sizes, and we are all perfectly used to the idea of holding back a little when you are much bigger than your partner or pushing a little harder when your partner is bigger than you. What I'm saying, guys and gals, play like your weight class, not your gender.

A couple more thoughts on the subject before we sign off here.

Some grappling positions are a little, um, comical to the rookies in a co-ed crowd. These positions may lead some to think, "Oh, how would that look if I did that?"

Answer: It would look like you're training.

To those who sweat the "compromising" grappling positions, it's not merely a gender-mix hesitation. Most same-gender-only participants ponder the same thoughts on their first day. It's fun to tell two beefy Marines to lie down and one get between the others legs. The first time they may cock an eyebrow, but then it all quickly turns to business because that's what it is.

And then there's the tears factor. Men and women possess different ratios of the hormones testosterone and estrogen — and viva la difference! These hormones can cause some (not all) individuals to involuntarily express stress or frustration differently.

In some women, that stress expression is tears. Are these tears signs of weakness?

These tears are no more signs of weakness in women than they are in males who cry upon winning inside the octagon.

There's a fine scene in the film "Courage Under Fire," which concerns a female chopper pilot performing well in a combat situation. One of the crew derisively observes, "The captain's crying!" The pilot (played by Meg Ryan) says plainly, "It's stress, that's all.

And that's all there is to it. Some men express stress with false braggadocio and some women tear up. Female UFC phenom Rhonda Rousey is said to cry at some point practically every day in her training. Anyone think she's weak?

Nah, me neither.

1.5 False Starts & Excuses a la Carte

OK, back to me.

From that Heart Attack Hill story onward, I know I've sounded all nose to the grindstone, do or die, come hell or high water and Mrs. Rock-Solid-Motivation.

Well, it wasn't always that way.

It's not always that way now.

I had numerous false starts before Heart Attack Hill. All of the usual "Hey, I'm gonna get in shape" pronouncements of the New Year's Resolution variety and a few that were sparked by an upcoming swimsuit season. Sometimes my good intentions were simply because I thought it was the right thing to do for my health.

When I took steps in the right direction, most of these were of the "Ladies only" variety that I knocked around a few pages back. So let's be clear, there was a time in my life when I wasn't motivated or disciplined enough to stick with something that I personally didn't find very challenging at all.

Why didn't I stick with it?

Well, you and I know the answer to that one. Doing nothing is way easier than doing something. That's just the truth of it.

The fact that we haven't done something or stuck with something in our lives doesn't mean we suck as human beings, it means we're simply being human beings.

Let's face it. Most of us need some sort of kick in the pants to get going, whether that comes in the form of a bicycle induced cardiac event, that high school reunion around the corner, or an overheard "chunky" comment from a stranger who needs whispering lessons.


Excerpted from She's Tough by Kylie Hatmaker, Mark Hatmaker, Doug Werner. Copyright © 2014 Kylie Hatmaker, Mark Hatmaker and Doug Werner. Excerpted by permission of Tracks Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Let's Talk

1.1 Heart Attack Hill 9

1.2 What's Wrong with Pilates? 12

1.3 No Boys Allowed (Unless …) 14

1.4 Gender & Weight Class by Mark Hatmaker 15

1.5 False Starts & Excuses a la Carte 21

1.6 Texas Proverb 25

1.7 Tough Texans of All Types 28

1.8 A Period Ends a Sentence. Not a Life 32

1.9 21st Century Tough Chicks and How You - Yeah, You - Can Be One of Them 36

1.10 This All Sounds Good, But Won't I Get Big Like a Man? 41

1.11 Yeah, But… 43

2.1 The Skinny On What Makes Folks Skinny 54

2.2 What to Eat by Mark Hatmaker 55

2.3 Sometimes You Can Have Your Apple Pie and Eat It Too 61

3 One is the Loneliest Number 63

4.1 Get With the Program / How to Read the Workouts 65

4.2 Take It Down a Notch, Never Up 68

4.3 No to the Same-Old, Same-Old 69

4.4 How Are You Doing? 71

5 Gearing Up to Get Going / Equipment You Will Need 72

6 She's Tough Exercise Vocabulary 79

7 Menus 141

8 Post Workout Flexibility / Mobility 149

Resources 157

Index 159

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