Originally published August 15, 2013. Stefanie Tropea was named America's Strongest Woman this past weekend after winning a competition in Denison, TX.
Like a lot of people, Stefanie Tropea works out -- but most people don't work out with 90 pound stones.
"It's a way to test myself," she says. "To see how strong I can be."
Tropea is the owner of Norwalk's Punch Kettlebell Gym. When she's not running her business, you can find her competing in strongwoman competitions.
"About four or five a year," she says.
Tropea competed in her first strongwoman competition five years ago. She came in dead last.
"But I had a blast doing it," she says.
Last year she finished third nationally competing for the title of North America's Strongest Woman. This October, she wants the top spot.
"I want to do better," she says.
Tropea trains for competition by practicing a given event -- like raising Atlas stones -- three times to prepare for the single time she'll have to do it during competition.
"Doing it three times makes the competition seem not so bad," she says.
Also "not too bad," she says, is the effect weightlifting can have on women.
"There is a misconception that if women lift heavy weights, they'll get bulky and lose their femininity," Tropea says. "That's just not true."
She says she also lifts weights and does the competitions to be a role model to her gym's clients.
"I try to give 100 percent with every workout, and that's what I want from them," she says.
Tropea will compete at nationals this year Oct. 18 and 19 in Denison, TX. If she finishes in the top three, she'll advance to the world championships in 2014. Last year, she finished ninth worldwide in her weight class.