Teresa Yeung

“I think powerlifting has had a positive impact on my body image, my confidence, and being a leader,” says Teresa Yeung. (Nathan Cyrprys)

Features | From Pivot Magazine

Worth the weight

Teresa Yeung, a 27-year-old CPA, is a competitive powerlifter—and the third strongest woman in Canada.* Here’s what she’s learned about pushing through.

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I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Markham, Ont. After an undergrad in mathematics and a masters of accounting at the University of Waterloo, I went to work at Ernst & Young, where I’d been a co-op student. I’ve been there since 2011. 

Handling stress at work and when competing isn’t all that different: I break what I need to do into smaller tasks so it’s not as overwhelming—the next lift at a competition, the current task at work. The big difference is, at work I have a team to coordinate with, but in powerlifting, it’s just me. 

I think powerlifting has had a positive impact on my body image, my confidence, and being a leader.  

My diet is pretty flexible. I try to get all my proteins from whole foods like chicken and eggs. I track my body weight every day so I have more control over what to eat. My weakness is Hawaiian pizza. Currently, I’m averaging about 2,700 calories per  day.

I started powerlifting two years ago. Before that, I was on the Team Canada dragon boat team. That’s how I got introduced to strength training. A group of powerlifters at the gym convinced me to try the sport. They were watching the amount of weight I was moving while training for dragon boat and kept saying, “Try it. You’ll be good at  this.”

I train four to five times a week for two to three hours at a time and compete three times a year. At the national championships last February, I squatted 347 pounds, benched 204 pounds and deadlifted 386 pounds. I came in third in my category.

It took my mom a little time to accept all of this—she wasn’t a fan of the big muscles. She’s better now. Sometimes it’s difficult to find clothes that fit, but it’s worth it.  

At work, I analyze different sets of data to provide insights to clients on where the risks and areas for improvement are. In powerlifting, I look at my training data to determine what has worked and what hasn’t. In both training and in work projects, I’ve built dashboards to help visualize the data. 

*in the 63-kg weight class