Female bodybuilder hits back at trolls who call her a 'man': 'I feel empowered'
A woman with a muscular physique due to her bodybuilding has been called a man and gets trolled – but she’s not here for the haters.
Jeanie Welker, 47, from Seattle, USA has been pursuing bodybuilding since 2008. She says the negative comments won’t put her off, as she’s fitter at 47 than she was when she was in her 20s working for the Navy.
Her biceps are currently 17 inches, her thighs are 26 inches and she can bench press 14 stone and leg press 38 stone in sets of 12 – which is impressive to say the least.
Jeanie grew up in a small town in the state of Missouri. Her father was in the army and Jeanie later joined the Navy at 21 years old.
During her time in the military Jeanie travelled to Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia, UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain.
Her plan wasn’t to become a bodybuilder – she even initially laughed off the idea when it was suggested to her – but as time went by she found herself training, and later competing.
It was in 1999, during the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps 10k Mud Run, that she began lifting weights.
‘I gained muscle through consistency. I changed my training split, the training style, the rep schemes, the frequency of certain muscle groups, but what stayed the same was that I always showed up,’ she said.
‘I train every day. Occasionally I will feel a bit rundown and will choose to take a day off but most of the time it’s seven days a week for me.’
Between 2008 and 2022, Jeanie competed in 17 competitions across the US, winning the NANBF KC Gold’s Natural Classic Collegiate Women’s BB in 2008, the INBF Natural Springfield Missouri Classic Women’s Open Heavyweight (Rookie Pro Card) in 2009.
She also won the NANBF Natural Southern States Classic ranking Women’s Open Short, Women’s 35+ Submasters, Ms. Natural Missouri and Women’s Open Overall (Pro Card) in 2011.
‘I found myself at a gym during vet school when two people approached me separately and asked if I had ever thought about competing,’ she said.
‘I thought that sounded preposterous and nine months later I was up on the stage.’
She now gets comments online from people who ‘wish they had my arms or how big my legs are’ – although, there can be trolls too, who ‘comment that I’m a man’.
‘I don’t read most of my DMs and I have restricted the ability to comment on my posts to only followers,’ Jeanie says.
‘If I didn’t, I would occasionally get a comment that I’m a man, that I am disgusting or they would post the puking emoji. None of that bothers me.
‘They must not understand that men and women have the same muscles just sitting on us, waiting to be developed.
‘When they are from women, I feel pity that they don’t know their own potential and they are probably limited in other aspects of their lives.
‘They believe what the men around them have told them what they need to look like but these women have never asked what they want for themselves.
‘With the men making these comments, I have to keep in mind that they are always less developed than me and they are probably struggling with body image issues and feelings of inadequacy.
‘Female bodybuilders are a threat because we don’t look like women they can control.
‘Men who are in shape and confident are very supportive, in my experience, because they know how much work it took to get to this point.’
She added: ‘Do I look like someone who follows the crowd, who cares about the opinions of strangers, do I? Of course not.
‘I placed the restriction so that my IG page is a positive space and I ignore the negativity of others.
‘I feel empowered. I feel strong. My body finally represents my internal strength of mind and spirit.
‘My favorite compliment is when people say I have a good X frame, that is the shape bodybuilders covet: wide shoulders and lats, small waist, wide quad sweep.’
Jeanie lost some of her muscle when covid hit and gyms closed, but now she’s built it back up and wants to start competing again.
For those keen to start bodybuilding, Jeanie has advice.
‘I recommend keeping the weights light as you learn proper form,’ she said.
‘There are many online sites that offer exercises by body part and show a short video of them properly executed.
‘Get your form down, and then you can progressively increase the weight. I watch YouTube videos as well, it’s a great source of training material.
‘There are different styles of training and I recommend you try them all to find what your body responds to best.
‘At the end of the day, muscles all have specific purposes and if you train them in the motion they are meant for, with resistance, they will grow.’
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