SIERRA VISTA — On her first date with her husband at a Pittsburgh gym, Victoria Yarbrough lifted 225 pounds, astonishing her future spouse and the owner of the facility.

Soon after, not only did love blossom between Victoria and Eddie Yarbrough, but the 37-year-old Victoria Yarbrough also became enamored with the sport of powerlifting, a passion she shares with her husband of 14 years.

Powerlifting is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. It’s different than weightlifting. According to the website Muscle & Fitness, weightlifting focuses on performing two ballistic lifts overhead with a technique known as the clean and jerk, and the snatch. Powerlifting is less technical and focuses more on completing three, controlled, heavy lifts known as the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

Yarbrough, whose day job is working as Sierra Vista’s deputy city manager, trains four times a week for about an hour and a half each time at the Eifler Fitness Center on Fort Huachuca. She recently sat down with the Herald/Review and explained why she was hooked on powerlifting after that first date at a gym in Pittsburgh.

Herald/Review: How did you become interested in powerlifting?

Victoria Yarbrough: I was always into sports. My first date with my husband was at a gym. This (powerlifting) was his passion. I lifted 225 pounds (that day) and I had never lifted. I didn’t know I had done anything special. But the owner of the gym came up to me and said I could come back anytime I wanted — with or without Eddie. I remember thinking, ‘This is kind of cool. I could get into this.’ That was 16 years ago.

HR: How often do you train?

VY: I started training four to five times a week.

HR: Do you train by yourself?

VY: My husband Eddie — he is a retired Marine — is my trainer and he always has been. He’s into the programming and the training (of our training routine). We always train together.”

HR: Have you competed in the state or nationally?

VY: I have competed here and in other states.

HR: Is there a powerlifting community in the Sierra Vista area?

VY: The powerlifting community here is very small. Competitions are usually in Phoenix and Tucson.

HR: What’s the most you’ve lifted so far?

VY: The most I’ve lifted is 1,074.8 pounds. That was a full meet, which means it was a squat, a bench and a deadlift. Individually, the deadlift was 407.9 pounds, the bench was 259 pounds and the squat was 407.9 pounds.

HR: Do you do any special exercises to help your powerlifting?

VY: I do accessory movements to support the lifting, I also do back and hip exercises.

HR: Is there a special diet you follow?

VY: There is no special diet, but you do compete in weight categories, so I have to make sure I’m getting enough food. I do eat a lot of protein because that repairs muscle. Fat and carbs give you energy.

HR: Once you started powerlifting, did you have any second thoughts? This is not the average sport after all.

VY: I struggled with the possibility of looking like a man. There has always been that stigma that if you lift, you’ll look masculine. That was difficult. But once I got over that, I started training and I fell in love with feeling strong.

HR: What else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

VY: My husband and I ride motorcycles. We also collect wine and scotch.

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