In honor of Women’s Health Week, which kicks off today, we reached out to women we admire and asked them to put together a message for all the other women out there.
To set the tone, Bonnie Schroeder wrote to us about The Female Misconception. Bonnie is a top 20, nationally ranked USA Powerlifting certified coach and holds multiple Iowa state records. Here’s what she had to say:
You see it in every work out advertisement or program geared towards women…
“How to tone your midsection”.
“How to grow a booty in five easy steps”
“How to lose those winter pounds and get bikini ready”
Beyond the obvious fact that women are constantly bombarded by society telling us how we physically aren’t ever good enough, we are given completely ridiculous “how to” guides on the “feminine” way to get our dream body. Well what if your goal is to bench 200lbs? What if you’re a female who wants to deadlift 400lbs? Where do you go to find THAT “How to” guide?
Let me pump the brakes on my feminist, powerlifting tangent for a second.
Let’s rewind about six years when I was constantly running miles upon miles and obsessing over being “lean”. I was, like many others, laboring under the misconception that “skinny” was the only way to be attractive, appreciated by society, and definitely the ONLY body type that I wanted. Any women out there that can relate? This idea is constantly haunting many women, assuring them that if they gain pounds, touch heavy weights, or eat those extra carbs, they will unavoidably “bulk up” or look “manly”. Well what if that didn’t have to be the case? What if there was something that could actually make you fall in love with your body? And what if I told you the answer is as simple as finding a barbell?
For me, it was that easy. Once I finally turned in my running shoes for a good old pair of converse, I found my home. It was different at first but the change was inevitable. Powerlifting was challenging, addicting, and incredibly humbling. As time went on and as I fell deeper in love with the sport, I started to care less about the weight on the scale and so, SO much more about the weight on the bar. It simply didn’t matter anymore if I gained or lost five pounds because the weight on the bar was only moving in one direction. Powerlifting has completely reshaped my idea of what kind of body I want and what I have to do to get there. I am proud to have quads, traps and lats that make men jealous. I am proud of what this body is capable of and I am amazed by its power and potential. None of that would have ever happened if I hadn’t gotten my hands on a barbell.
So, I urge women to dig a little deeper and do some research. I encourage you not to be held back by stereotypes or any form of media saying what women should or shouldn’t do for exercise. Don’t let yourself be limited by what you think society wants to see because your body is not built for their opinion. Lose the concept that women’s bodies are just meant to be looked at because you have SO much more potential than you think. Step out of your comfort zone, work hard, and the body you want will follow.
More about Bonnie:
Bonnie Schroeder is a top 20, nationally ranked USAPL certified coach and athlete out of Davenport, Iowa. She currently holds USAPL Iowa state raw records in bench press, deadlift, push/pull and raw total in the 57kg division. Bonnie also currently has the highest Wilks score in bench, deadlift, push/pull and raw total out of all women’s open weight classes in the state of Iowa in the USAPL. Her best lifts include a 128.1kg squat, 84kg bench, and a 172.5kg deadlift (7kg over 3x her bodyweight). She trains and coaches out of Summit Training Center in Bettendorf, Iowa where she is passionate about working with competitive powerlifters, as well as those interested in strength and conditioning.