Daphne Zhang - Powerlifter

Author: Jonathan. L, owner - Models Observer
October 2017

1. Tell us about yourself and how long have you been powerlifting?

My name is Daphne. I am 25 years old. I was once 200lbs, clinically depressed, smoked cigarettes, drank a lot alcohol, popped a lot of prescription pain killers, and overall, I was just very self-destructive. I've been lifting for almost 6 years now, powerlifting for 2-3, and now I am taking a short break and doing strongman to work on my endurance.

2. How did you get into it?

As I started working out more in the gym, I realized that I was starting to lift more than most guys at the commercial gym and I would get all this attention from all kinds of people and I made a lot of new friends along the way. Being the fat me before, I NEVER had ANY attention whatsoever; nobody knew I existed. So now I'm getting all these attention from people admiring me and my strength from across the gym, I liked it. I also used the weights as therapy for me on my bad days. Whenever I am depressed, heartbroken, backstabbed, stressed out, lonely; I know the weights will always going to be there for me.


Who are you when you're all by yourself? Who are you when you have no one there watching you or cheering for you? Who are you when your friends ain't there? Who are you when you don't have your mommy there to hold your hand? #inb4skrillex And none of the questions really matter if you can answer one question, "Who do you choose to be?" Everything we are, is just this moment. Another 10lbs added from last week. It was already killing me. Trap bar deads 410x8 #cerberusstrength #universalusa #animalpak

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3. What are your best lifts?

Competition Lifts: Squat 420, Bench 225, Deadlift 405

4. What is your lifting technique like and how did you develop it?

My lifting technique varies as my body and mobility changes. I read a lot of books, watch a lot of videos, attended a lot of lifting seminars. I try and apply the new things I learn, and if it works, I keep it; if it doesn't, I toss it.

5. How do you utilize your diet as a way to maintain your weight while increasing strength? What is your caloric intake?

I eat like an athlete majority of the time with the occasional cookie pre-workout. On the weekends, I like to stay home and eat ramen lol. It really depends on how far out I am from competition and making weight. I cap myself at a certain weight. I compete at 148s, so if I weigh over 155lbs, I diet down to 145 and then slowly bulk back up again, and repeat the process.

6. Please describe your daily/weekly training. Which muscles do you target to improve lifting?

My training back when I was powerlifting, I was coached my Gracie V. so pretty much it was Westside Conjugate which is 2 Max Effort Days, 2 Dynamic Effort Days. Now that I switched over to strongman, I am being coached by Liefia Ingals (Strongest woman in the world) and our program is quite similar just different exercises. I'm not a huge fan of repetitive percentage-based programs. I try improve EVERYTHING - every muscle in every position possible, endurance, stamina, stability, etc.

7. How do you monitor your strength building process in squat, bench and deadlift?

1RMs overtime; and just trusting my coaches and doing what they tell me with my absolute best.

8. Which lift is easier for you, and why?

Squats come to me naturally just because I've done it the longest. I didn't bench with a barbell until my 2nd year of lifting. I didn't deadlift until 2.5 years in.


Bench 165x12RM (and everything after this set was utter shit lol) Today's bench session felt foreign to me - hence the cheating reps and not touching my chest on all the reps, with the cheating form, with the cheating arch, with the cheating widest legal competition grip, with my cheating short T-Rex arms, with the cheating your-dick-size ROM. Kidding aside, the shoulder injury less than 2 months ago from my last strongman competition took a huge toll on my bench gains. My biceps and all my biomechanics feel off, but I'm working on it. I couldn't even raise my right arm up after the injury, so this is progress. Injuries are bound to happen when you're trying to lift some heavy fucking shit; it's part of the process.

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9. Tell us about some of your most memorable moments in powerlifting so far.

I've done a lot of powerlifting competitions, but the one most memorable was when I first hit my 1000+ total on the platform. It gave me the confidence to start my own business and do bigger and greater things with my life.

10. How do you successfully grow your mental strength in addition to physical strength?

I meditate every night to stay sane. I scream and take it out on the weights whenever I'm frustrated with something. I'm always reading and learning about things besides just lifting - l read a LOT of self-help books.

11. What do you like doing away from powerlifting?

I like to train my clients and re-live my journey through them; read books, cuddle with my dog, make videos, and watch my cartoons (The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy)

12. What is your favorite motto/quote in life?

"Knowledge is power, and I like power." - Cobra Bubbles from Lilo & Stitch

13. Future goals?

I just want to be happy, healthy, strong, and continue doing what I love doing; for as long as I live.

Best of Luck,
In Strength,
Daphne Zhang

Contact info:
IG: https://www.instagram.com/daphne_wants_a_6pack
email: daphnezhang92@gmail.com


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