A female bodybuilder as hit out at men who criticize her muscular physique, insisting that the guys who ‘sneer’ and ‘stare’ at her in the gym are just jealous of her ripped body.
Entrepreneur, Wendy Fortino, 37, from Oceanside, California, has always had an enviable physique. When Wendy was just 10 years old, boys at school would challenge her to races and arm wrestles – which they always lost.
Wendy was very much aware of her ‘abnormal’ strength, yet she enjoyed the power and uniqueness it provided her with. Three years later, Wendy defeated the US national sit-up record completing 3,150 sit-ups in just over three hours.
Strong: Female bodybulider Wendy Fortino, 37, loves her ripped figure – despite the fact that she faces ‘sneers’ and ‘stares’ from men at the gym
Powerful: The California resident started bodybuilding in 2008 and has since gone on to win numerous competitions
Natural: Wendy says she has always had a very athletic figure, and was incredibly sporty when she was in school (left) – revealing that boys used to challenge her to arm wrestles at age 10
Perfect match: Despite the criticism she faces from some men at the gym, Wendy is very happy with her husband Matt, who was the one who first encouraged her bodybuilding
Wendy’s school days were only the start of her career. Since then, she has competed in track events, gymnastics, and even worked as a fitness director. It wasn’t until 2008 that Wendy found her passion for bodybuilding.
Wendy has gone on to win several championship titles with her enviable physique.
Mirroring her sporting success at school, she has become the one-to-beat at the gym but some guys ‘sneer’ and ‘stare’ at her inhuman strength. Despite being told that men aren’t ‘into women with too much muscle’, Wendy hasn’t been deterred from her passion.
One male fan commented online, ‘That’s crazy. Your back has way more muscle detail than mine,’ while multiple women have messaged Wendy to thank her for inspiring them to train.
‘I got a lot of attention for my muscles as a kid. I remember the boys always wanted to arm wrestle me and I’d always beat them all in races,’ Wendy said.
‘I knew it was abnormal, but I loved having something unique about me. It made me feel strong and powerful and my mum would encourage me never to hold back.
‘I struggled in other parts of school so I loved having something to succeed in. I’d always watch athletes on TV – especially the glamorous ones.
Impressive: Since taking up bodybuilding in 2008, Wendy has gone on to win several championship titles with her enviable physique
Natural: Wendy is a ‘mesomorph’, which means that she gains muscle incredibly easily
Cautious: ‘I even had muscles when I was eight,’ Wendy said, adding, ‘This means I have to be careful in what areas I train as gaining muscle in the wrong place could throw my shape off’
‘I started competing in bodybuilding competitions in 2008. My boyfriend – and now husband – Matt convinced me to compete. I’d been active my whole life in other areas like athletics, dance, and gymnastics.
‘I won my first contest and from that moment on, I’ve been hooked. There have been a few bumps in the road but embracing health and fitness is my lifestyle now.
Staying strong: Wendy says that she won’t let the attitudes of ‘insecure’ men stop her from feeling confident
‘A typical workout lasts around an hour. I focus on my legs and glutes, chest and triceps, or my back and biceps. I train my abdominals almost every day and I also spend an hour doing cardiovascular exercises.
‘I eat a variety of healthy, fresh foods such as fish, eggs, lean red meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and oats.
‘I’m a mesomorph so I gain muscle very easily – I even had muscles when I was eight. This means I have to be careful in what areas I train as gaining muscle in the wrong place could throw my shape off.
‘I’ve become accustomed to the reaction my body gets from men. Most are very positive and praise my efforts, but I’ve had my fair share of sneers and stares in and out of the gym.
‘I’ve had men tell me in the past that they are not into women with too much muscle, but that doesn’t bother me. When a person has a strong opinion about the way someone else looks, it usually stems from their own insecurities.
Proud: ‘I’ve had men tell me in the past that they are not into women with too much muscle, but that doesn’t bother me,’ she said
Motivation: Wendy wants to inspire other women to embrace their muscles and embark on a personal fitness journey
Chain effect: ‘Each woman I impact will go on to impact others – just as I have been impacted by all the trailblazers who came before me,’ she shared
Success: Wendy has been told that ‘strong women can’t be beautiful’ but she believes that she proves those critics wrong
‘I’ve also heard that women can’t be strong and beautiful. I just tune it out. Instead, I appreciate when someone tells me that I’ve motivated them.’
Wendy is passionate about inspiring others to begin their fitness journey – particularly women.
‘Anyone can start right here and right now. A person doesn’t have to be a certain age or have a certain ability to begin an active lifestyle,’ Wendy said.
‘Any activity you do consistently will yield improvement. My advice would be to consume nutritious foods and find an exercise routine that includes a mixture of strength and cardiovascular training.
‘It can be daunting looking at how far away the end goal is, but small-scale week-to-week victories help with managing expectations.
‘Not too long ago, I walked into a gym and was greeted by a young woman who told me that I’d inspired her to train for a contest. That’s incredible to me because I’m just one “domino”.
‘Each woman I impact will go on to impact others – just as I have been impacted by all the trailblazers who came before me.’