Jennifer Petrosino Discusses Women’s Metabolism

Jenny is an incredible powerlifter who competes in the 97 and 105 lb weight classes. In this video, she discusses how macronutrient breakdown and different types of training can have an impact on women’s metabolisms. This topic is incredibly under-addressed perhaps because it’s a complicated one, and I think that discussion of it as Jenny puts forth here is crucial to furthering an understanding of how our bodies respond to lifting.

I encourage everyone to subscribe to Jenny on youtube and find her on Instagram (I am so addicted to Instagram, argh)–her username on both social media platforms is “jennympetro” sans quotation marks, of course.


8 thoughts on “Jennifer Petrosino Discusses Women’s Metabolism

  1. there’s no more glory in being a small powerlifter than being a big powerlifter. powerlifting is a sport where the the warped female ideal of ‘smaller is better’ is should not be emphasized.

    1. well, yes. I don’t think that’s what Jenny is saying. But or some of us, we are just literally genetically inclined to be smaller. Smaller weight classes exist. What’s wrong with having a goal of trying to be competitive in those weight classes? Let me add that I am in the process of trying to put on a significant amount of weight–I believe more along the lines of the end of your sentiment. But what I decide to do with my body has no bearing on what anyone else decides to do with theirs, and what they decide to do is not something I feel I have a right to judge. Jenny is trying to healthily compete at a low weight class, which is an incredible science. Even those in the highest weight classes do best if they maximize their lean body mass to fat ratio. Really competitive 220 men have to, in general, have very impressive physiques with low bodyfat to achieve a top ranking in that weight class. What Jenny is talking about here really just speaks to the delicate science that all those who are top competitors in the sport have to deal with in some way.

      1. thanks 🙂 I do have a penchant for starting heated conversations. I agree with all that you have said and I don’t want to judge anyone. Petrosino is incredibly knowledgable about strength training and has significant achievements in her weight classes… however, I still feel that many women in powerlifting just don’t get it. They use the sport to maintain a certain physique or weight class rather than becoming as strong as they can possibly get. yes I know about strength to weight ratio, maximizing lean body mass etc. But if you look at the top men in powerlifting, the pros, (google Chad Aichs) and see how they are fueling and gaining, they are not the most toned individuals. Why don’t women have the same mentality about their sport? Powerlifting is about radical transformation to achieve feats of strength and in order to be superhuman, you must step outside the culturally defined limits of normalcy for male or female beauty. Obviously you can disagree with me. It’s just that endless talk about weight cuts and diets for powerlifters under 1600 cal makes me sick.

      2. ugh, I totally agree–I’m struggling with this whole question a lot as I actively do what you advocate here–put on mass for my sport. I’m NOT a phyique competitor! I don’t owe anyone a certain level of leanness and it absolutely screws with my lifting when I achieve it (my 105 class nightmare proves it. I did okay at that meet but I can say with absolute certainty that my lifts took a hit because of managing my weight. My body does not want to be down at that point and lift weights they way I’m lifting them).

  2. I have followed everyone on WomensLifting for sometime and especially like the smaller lifters. You guys are so awesome.

    That being said, i agree with Phoenix. The need to stay in a low weight class is really insane. Now i can say this being 6ft 195 with 30% bf and actively trying to gain mass, realizing that i am a different animal than a smaller woman. But, when you have metabolic and hormonal issues, the weight cut should not be on the table! Until your body can operate in homeostasis, at the very least.

    Furthermore, posting skeletal pics pre-weigh in does absolutely nothing to promote powerlifting as a healthy alternative to the disordered eating habits of say, figure and bikini girls, or for that matter, most of the gen pop who are undereating and over-cardio’ing.

    1. I agree with much of this, but I’m very careful about what I say is akin to disordered eating and what is not. Men in the 198 and 220 classes do some pretty extreme things to cut weight in powerlifting, and they don’t have this levied at them–what they do, particularly because it more often involves extreme steam room stays–can be as physically stressful as the type of weight cut Jenny goes through and I have gone through (Jenny and I do it somewhat differently, though). Eating disorders are about mindset. I don’t believe cutting weight promotes eating disorders, and I refuse to take or assign responsibility for/to weight cuts that women interpret as triggering for their eating disorder. I do what many men do to make weight–and many men do it far more extremely–and I, the small girl, am the one who’se censured for acting in a way that just perpetuates certain attitudes. That is not fair.

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