Emma Zilberman-Vegas

Emma Zilberman-Vegas

IPF Open Classic World Championship
2023 - 57kg - 21st

IPF Open Classic Bench Press World Championship
2024 - 63kg - 7th

CPU Open Classic National Championship
2023 - 57kg - Gold
2022 - 57kg - 4th
2020 - 57kg - 4th

Best Lifts
Classic Squat - 157.5kg
Classic Bench Press - 95kg
Classic Deadlift - 182.5kg
Classic Total - 422.5kg

I first started barbell training in 2012 after struggling with confidence, body image problems and an eating disorder for most of my teenage/adolescent life. I discovered powerlifting in 2015 with my first sanctioned competition in 2017 when I was 25yrs old. Powerlifting completely changed the trajectory of my life and I couldn’t be more grateful for the confidence it has provided me and all the doors it has opened.

My biggest accomplishments to date were placing first at CPU Nationals 2023 and going to IPF Worlds in 2023. I was injured during both of those preps/meets which taught me a lot about resilience. I am looking forward to going to Worlds again one day in better physical health to really showcase the lifting I know I am capable of.

I own a powerlifting gym (Make Your Mark Fitness) with my husband, David, that we opened in January 2020. We were open for 6 weeks until Covid had us shut down for 1.5 years. It was a very tough time, but we are strong enough together to overcome any obstacle and very happy to say we are thriving. I am also the head powerlifting coach of Make Your Mark Fitness and a big step for us in 2024 is that we expanded our facility and will be hosting Ontario Provincial Championship! I am also an OPA referee for the last couple years so I truly live and breathe everything about powerlifting.

I have programmed myself my entire powerlifting journey and am really proud of all the accomplishments, including some big injury recoveries, and competing from the local to international level. However coaching involves so much more than programming and I wouldn't be where I am today without the unwavering support of my husband. He is always my game day handler and helps me think through many of my coaching decisions. Being part of a team of coaches, rehab professionals and other athletes at our gym has shown me that progress is always better as part of a team.

Being how involved I am in the sport from athlete, coach, gym owner, and referee there isn’t much time to explore many other hobbies, however I do love travelling and going on long walks/adventures with our dog, Xena. We are blessed that powerlifting allows us to travel so much of the world. 

I am honoured to be on the SBD team and continue to strive to “make my mark” every day.

What is your favourite lifting memory?
The final deadlift to place first at CPU Nationals 2023.

What is one piece of advice you have for up and coming athletes getting into strength training or strength sport?
Focus on your own progress and don't compare yourself to others as that can sometimes cause you to rush/overreach and risk an injury. 

Stay consistent over a longer time period than you initially think. This will get you the results you want in time and always sign up for "that meet" even if you "don't feel strong enough." You will stay in the sport if you enjoy your own pursuit of being stronger than before.

Finally focus on PR's in every little thing and not just the 1RM as that can help avoid burnout and finding enjoyment in every aspect of training.

What is your favourite lift or event?
My favourite lift always varies and has honestly been any of Squat/Bench/Deadlift at one time or another. Currently enjoying bench the most.

What is your favourite product and why?
Powerlifting Knee Sleeves
I love the support/compression from knee sleeves and they boost my technique and confidence in a squat so much. Out of every piece of equipment they definitely "add the most kilos" to my lift.

What 3 other items are your go to and why?
13mm Belt
Stiff Medium Wrist Wraps
I love my stiff wrist wraps and use them for both squat and bench. At the heavier loads they definitely provide the support needed to hit PRs. I now use my belt for all 3 lifts and that is definitely a key piece of equipment!

What colourway is your favourite and why?
The original black/white was my first ever singlet so I always love that colourway, however the Momentum colourway takes it up a notch and I just love the pattern!

Why do you believe SBD is the gear all athletes should use?
The quality of SBD products is unmatched. I have knee sleeves/wrist wraps and a belt that I got in 2015/2016 in great condition. I haven't seen that kind of quality with other brands.

Why do you believe in working with SBD Canada as a Sponsored Athlete?
Throughout my lifting journey I always looked up to various athletes that were SBD sponsored. Seeing them sponsored by this huge global company has always seemed like a badge of honour for a great athlete. I sometimes cannot even believe I am in that class of lifters and grateful for the opportunity to grow as an athlete with their support. Additionally I appreciate the opportunity to represent the SBD Canada team because of their values in athlete support, good quality equipment and growth they are providing to the sport of powerlifting.
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