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Vicky Zhen

posted on August 11, 2021

I’m Vicky, one of the newest members of the UF family. I’m a student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Dietetics and Nutrition and minoring in Exercise Science. I’m interested in being a registered dietitian and/or go into food science. My favorite food is fruit. A food that I hate is mayo (if you like mayo, you’re actually disgusting). My education plan says a lot about my interests: I like to cook/eat and exercise. I used to run cross country and long distance track events in high school. Now, I’m a 57 kg powerlifter and the social media chair for Pitt’s Powerlifting team. My best lift is squat; worst is deadlift. Fuck deadlift. Bench is chillin’. My goals are to place top 5 at Collegiate Nationals this upcoming school year and have a 1000lb+ meet total before I graduate. Some cools things you don’t need to know about me, but I’ll tell you anyway: my dream superpower would be to read people’s minds. And when I was around 6 yrs old, I voluntarily jumped out of a moving car with no suicidal motives, I swear.


My experience being a powerlifter.


Before I discovered powerlifting, a big insecurity of mine was that I’d never find that thing that I’m passionate about. You always hear online of people chasing after their dreams and pursuing their passion(s). I could never empathize with those people until I became a part of this sport. Almost every time I get ready to train, I feel excited to grow, to be better than my last training day. And through training, I’ve learned so much about the sport and about myself. But the one thing I love the most about this sport is the community. Everyone supports each other. Whether it’s a quick spot, a ride to the gym, a handle, an extra lever for your broken lever belt, technique advice, some words of encouragement on a rough lifting day, someone is there to offer help always. The seemingly small acts of kindness are what drive me in this sport.


When I officially joined the Pitt Powerlifting team in January 2020, I knew close to nothing (and I still have a lot to learn) but I wanted to get stronger like my more experienced teammates. But the more I became a part of the sport, the more I realized that lifting heavy is actually a fraction of the whole picture. For instance, at the first meet that I spotted and loaded, my senior took charge in shouting plate colors and rack heights for each lifter. I admire her strength in the weight room, but her leadership at that meet made a lasting impact on me. I want to be someone like her. I want to be someone who can impact other lifters and make meets a better experience, make powerlifting a better sport. This is the one thing I’d advise new lifters: find your place in this community. Powerlifting isn’t just about the PRs or the number on the bar. What are you contributing to this sport?


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