Podcast: World Records and Game Show TV with Emily Hu

Emily Hu is a multi-time powerlifting world record holder, engineer, and reality TV contestant who’s been making waves in the strength world for years. She had one of the fastest progressions ever from powerlifting newbie to world record holder, and while she’s best known for her record shattering bench press, Emily’s built an elite total that continues to push boundaries across multiple weight classes.

Her profile skyrocketed in early 2019 with an appearance on NBC’s “The Titan Games,” hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. So what does one of the world’s best powerlifters do after a stint on one of entertainment’s biggest stages?

Get stronger, of course.

Emily and host David Thomas Tao catch up to chat powerlifting progressions, bench press technique, and what going mainstream will really mean for strength athletes around the globe.

Want to go even more in-depth on our conversation? Check out the full podcast transcription below on this page.

In this episode of The BarBend Podcast, guest Emily Hu and host David Thomas Tao discuss:

  • How Emily found powerlifting despite having no background in strength training (1:00)
  • When Emily realized she had great potential in the sport of powerlifting (3:20)
  • Setting a World Record for the first time (6:22)
  • Getting cast on NBC’s “The Titan Games” and auditioning from Nepal! (8:08)
  • The toughest part about competing on reality TV (10:10)
  • What “The Titan Games” could do for perceptions of strength sports and strength athletes (14:51)
  • What powerlifting owes to CrossFit (though many powerlifters won’t admit it) (18:05)
  • The things strength athletes should and shouldn’t focus on in their first year of training (21:00)
  • Emily’s training volume and how that has changed with her growth in the sport (24:00)
  • Prioritizing recovery and Emily’s unorthodox approach to nutrition (26:41)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Welcome to the BarBend podcast, where we talk to top athletes, coaches, influencers, and thinkers, from around the world of strength sports. Presented by barbend.com.

Today, on the BarBend podcast, I’m very excited to have Emily Hu on the program. She’s a multi-time world record holding powerlifter, also someone who’s crossed over into the mainstream on NBC’s “Titan Games,” during the first season. Really excited to have her on.

Emily, thanks so much for joining the show. If you wouldn’t mind, give us a little background in as to how you got involved in strength training and powerlifting.

 

Emily HuEmily Hu

With powerlifting, I’ve been in the game for almost seven years now. I came in a roundabout way. I came in really late relative to most other people. I was 30 and I wanted something to do.

I wanted a new hobby as I was having a quarter life crisis. Prior to powerlifting, I had never done strength training. I was a gymnast and a martial artist. I wanted to try something new, and this thing called CrossFit was really popular so I gave that a try.

I also wanted to lose a lot of weight really fast so I had a personal trainer. This personal trainer told me that if I lifted really heavy weight, I’d get the best bang for my buck metabolically.

Of course, at the time, I was a small Asian girl so I said, “Oh no, but I won’t get big. I don’t want to look like a man.” He told me, “Just give it a try. If you don’t like it, then you can stop.” I gave it a try, and I was instantly addicted. Like he predicted, I lost a ton of weight, felt good, looked good. It’s been a thing ever since.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Do you think your background in gymnastics gave you a leg up as far as proprioception. We see a lot of gymnasts go into CrossFit, weightlifting gymnastics. It’s one of the big feeder sports that USA weightlifting looks for athletes in.

Do you think it gave you any benefit when you started your powerlifting training?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Most definitely. Gymnastics made me incredibly flexible in my hips. That really helped me pose a lot. The thing people know me for and give me crap for is my arch.

Another thing is, I was a martial artist longer than I was ever a gymnast. I did traditional Chinese Kung Fu. That’s a lot of one-legged movements. I think that really helped my body awareness.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Do you still incorporate any of…could be training, warm ups, drills from your gymnastics and martial arts days into your powerlifting routine?

Emily HuEmily Hu

By and large, I don’t do any kind of martial arts training anymore. With gymnastics, I go to class, maybe once every month, probably less, maybe once every two months.

I go to gymnastics class because I think the stretching is good. It’s helpful. I’ll incorporate the gymnastic stretches for…especially my back. Sometimes I do the middle splits because I find it’s a great stretch after squatting.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

That’s awesome. You started powerlifting about seven years ago, when did you first start competing? When was the first time where you thought to yourself, “Wow, I can be really good at this.”

Emily HuEmily Hu

I started competing almost seven years ago. I wasn’t powerlifting very long, but to be fair, I was doing really heavy bodybuilding with a personal trainer. He would have me do bodybuilder style deadlifts.

I did squats every so often, but I never benched because it’s just, to me, seemed like the scariest thing in the world. I was so scared I was going to be terrible at it. I did deadlifts all the time. I remember 275 was really easy.

At the time, this was eight years ago, you didn’t see girls in the gym deadlifting. If you did, maybe you saw them deadlifting like a quarter plate. That I thought, “Hey, maybe I’m strong and it’d be really fun to enter a deadlifting with the power of the competition.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Awesome. It’s so interesting because you’re so well-known for the bench press because when I first came across you, I was like, “Oh wow, that’s astronomical all-time world records in your weight class.”

You started in a deadlift only meet. When did you start training for a full powerlifting competition?

Emily HuEmily Hu

I think I remember the date. I think it was September, I did my first…It was like the summer of 2012, I did my first deadlift only competition. I had a great time.

I signed up for another competition three months later. In the interim, I met this guy named Dan Green who had just broken a bunch of world records. He just so happened to live near me.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Pretty good guy to come across early in your powerlifting career.

Emily HuEmily Hu

At this point, he’d not become a household name yet. I said to him, “I’ve entered the deadlift competition three months from now. Could you train me?”

He said, “Yes, but realistically, you should compete in a full power with me and you should train for everything.” I said, “Well, I don’t want to do this bench thing.” He was like, “It’s not that bad. I will teach you.”

I was like, “I really don’t want to do this bench thing. I just deadlift, maybe I’ll consider squatting.” We train for like one month, and then I had my second deadlift only competition. I didn’t realize, but I signed up for the whole thing.

Luckily, at that point, I’d known Dan for two months, and I called him panicking. He said, “Don’t worry, I’ll come to every meet and I’ll get you through this.” I got Best Lifter that meet, and then I broke every USPA state record for my weight class.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

That’s a pretty happy accident there. When did you first compete internationally, and when did you break your first world record? I know there have been a few, so if you have to go back in the mental catalog.

Emily HuEmily Hu

I think RAWM would be it. RAWM even though it’s located in the US, I think that’s an international meet because it was started with the hopes of joining North America. RAWM, I think was probably a year and a half later, that I did bench only. That was in Florida. Then, first world record was three years later. It was three years after my start date.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Awesome. That was in the bench press, right?

Emily HuEmily Hu

That was in the 52-kilo weight class. I had to be really skinny for that. I remember telling Dan six months out, “Hey, for Boss of Bosses, I want to attempt to break the 52-kilo record.” He said, “OK, sure.”

As we got really, really close to Boss of Bosses, maybe we were one month out. I was well over the 52-kilo weight record, and then I was really close to the 56-kilo record. I said to Dan, “Do you think I could break both in this year?” He said, “Yeah, just give it a try.” I broke the 52-kilo world record at Boss of Bosses in the summer of 2015.

Two weeks later, I didn’t want to cut and I showed up to another competition. I showed up to SPF Worlds. I broke the record for the 56-kilo weight class two weeks later.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

That’s awesome. By this point, you’re an established powerlifter, world record holder, competing regularly. You’re probably best known in the public consciousness, in the general public for your stint on NBC as The Titan Games. When and how did that come about?

Emily HuEmily Hu

That was random, too. I think in life, I’m so lucky. I don’t have to do too much. I feel like once you’re open to opportunity, you can find good ways to make things happen for yourself.

I stumbled upon Dan by accident, and that’s a very happy coincidence. [inaudible 8:06] was rather similar, I was in Nepal backpacking and a friend of mine pushed me into some Facebook casting call.

It was a casting call for The Titan Games. The casting director dm’d me, and he said “Hey, we’ve looked into your powerlifting. We’ve looked at your Instagram profile, and you seemed like just the person for the show. Could we have a phone call?”

I said, “Well, I’m in Nepal, but I get back Thursday night. When does the audition close?” He was like, “Friday,” and I said, “Well, I can’t audition from Nepal. I don’t have Internet here.”

He said, “OK. Can you Skype me on Friday? Then we’ll just do a quickie phone interview. If we like you, then we’ll send that to the directors, and that can serve as your audition.” At the time, I worked at Google. I think I did my interview for my lunch break at Google.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

This might be the easiest casting experience anyone’s ever had for network television.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Yeah. I was on vacation, and then NBC called me. I just took a phone call. Then six months later, I’m on TV.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Like I said, I’ve talked to a lot of people so I have a lot of friends who live in LA, or they live in New York. They’re professional actors. If they were to hear this, when they listen to this podcast, they’re going to be so mad inside because they’ve worked their whole life. That is awesome, and it makes sense.

When I first heard about The Titan Games, I was thinking in my head through athletes who I thought might be really good candidates for the show. When I saw your name announced, I was not surprised in the least. What was your experience like filming that?

Emily HuEmily Hu

It was strange. I think with the powerlifting competition, you go in knowing exactly what you’re going to get, and what you’re going to do, and you plan very aggressively.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Unless you accidentally sign up for a full meet when you mean a deadlift only.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Right. I think one of my strengths is, I’m a great planner. I’m actually a really neurotic planner. That’s not as much a strength as it’s sometimes a weakness for me. Apparently, for meets, I feel like I prepare really far ahead of time. I try to train whatever weakness I think I have and prepare for any unknowns.

With reality TV, you don’t get any of that. You just show up. This was like the first season. NBC was really fleshing out what they were going to do still. Nobody knew what we’ were going to do. Not even the staff.

We go there. They don’t want to tell us anything because they don’t want anyone to have an unfair advantage. We found out when we would compete one or two days before, and then we didn’t know what we were doing. We just showed up and they said, “All right you’re going to do this. Now go do it.”

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

You didn’t know like what implements you’d be doing?

Emily HuEmily Hu

No.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

You didn’t know what types you would do?

Emily HuEmily Hu

They truly kept it a surprise because they don’t want anyone to have an advantage and start training for something.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

When you found out what the events are going to be, was it as you were walking out to do the event or did you have like a 20-minute heads up?

Emily HuEmily Hu

We had a two-hour heads up.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

You could warm up for something somewhat appropriately?

Emily HuEmily Hu

I suppose, but my event was the big cannonball thing. Besides warming up my core, I didn’t know what else I was going to do, so I tried to stay calm.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

That would be really nerve wracking for me. I am also a planner. I love prepping things, even just scheduling this podcast. You can see I can be a bit neurotic about things. It would throw me off so much to be sitting in a room and be like, “OK, this is what you’re going to be doing in an hour,” and some physical task I’ve never done before.

Do you think that got to some competitors? Did you see people like on edge, that put them tilt?

Emily HuEmily Hu

 It got to me. The people who did the best on the show were the military people because if you’re with the military, you’re trained to respond physically to any type of stimuli. They were great at that.

Another thing is they don’t tell you this, but the show is filmed between the hours of 10 PM and 3 AM. Because it has to be filmed at night because it’s filmed outdoors. I do not lift at night.

Being tired, being nervous, being stressed out, everything was very hard on me. When you’re a military person, that’s fine because they’re used to those conditions. They all did well.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Interesting. That makes quite a bit of sense. What was the reaction from your social media followers, your friends, your family when the show was announced, and also when it when your episode aired?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Everyone was really happy for me. I don’t do well in the show. Once again, I got lucky. They put me on the poster anyways. That’s the biggest victory, but I myself, I didn’t win. I didn’t get to semifinals.

But all my friends and family, they were they were so happy for me. Everyone watched my episode regardless. Even when I knew I lost, they were so happy for me.

 

 

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

It was really neat when they were promoting the show. I remember I heard you were on it, and then I started seeing the collateral for it…the posters, the trailers. Your face was everywhere. I was like, “Oh, my God I know her. I met her,” which is super cool.

Does that open up more opportunities? Have you been approached by other, whether it’s casting directors, producers, other shows or anything else after that?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Mostly just creepy guys on Instagram.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Well, that’s probably nothing new in your world.

Emily HuEmily Hu

I got a few free protein bars here and there out of it, but nothing yet. We’ll see.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

We’re going to talk like a year from now. You’re going to have a recurring role on some NBC comedy. You’re going to be like, “Yeah, they just told me to show up one day. Now, I have my own show,” or something like that. I wouldn’t be too surprised.

Emily HuEmily Hu

That would be the best.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

If it’s going to happen anyone, it’s going to happen to you.

The Titan Games, it was not athletes doing the squat, bench press, deadlift. It was not athletes doing the snatch and the clean and jerk. It was these gladiatorial, larger than life implements. It looked honestly more like World’s Strongest Man competition or something.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Yes. Yeah I agree.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

But it did get a lot of strength athletes, a lot of powerlifters, CrossFitters, mainstream exposure. What is the impact you think shows like that have on the perception of strength training in the mainstream?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Shows like The Titan Games are great for powerlifting and strength sports in the mainstream because if you watch the show, you see that Charity Witt won. She is a powerlifter and a strongwoman. She’s muscular and she’s very beautiful.

People like her, female lifters are a very positive image. A lot of women used to think, “Well, if I’m a bodybuilder, I’m going to look dysmorphic, and big and gross like a man,” but then they see someone like Charity Witt, who is actually very strong, as most of the other competitors were, everyone was very strong and very feminine.

There were none of these negative stereotypes of women in strength sports, so I think any female who would be apprehensive about strengths sports might look at these girls and say, “Well, these girls are look wonderful and they’re all so strong. They can do all these crazy tasks.”

A fun fact, they don’t scale down any of the tasks for the women. Pound for pound, we did more work than the men. You look at that and you see pretty girls doing it who have great bodies. I would say that’s great for powerlifting. That’s good for strongwomen.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

That is interesting how they didn’t scale any of the task. It wasn’t weight classed.

Emily HuEmily Hu

No.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

It was all an open category. It wasn’t like the 52-kilo Titan Games.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Right.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

That’s very interesting. Another thing I think that I found from The Titan Games from friends and family of mine who know what I do with BarBend, but still might not follow along super, super closely is it did start to break down this perception that all strength sports are just bodybuilding, which is one of the most prevalent things.

When you say you’re a powerlifter, do people confuse powerlifting and bodybuilding more than anything else, do you think?

Emily HuEmily Hu

All the time people will ask if I put on a sequin bikini and spray tan.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

It’s interesting to me because I’ve met you in person, and it made me want to wear long sleeves. I mean I’m completely kidding. You’ve got like you’ve got fantastic muscular definition, especially in your arms. I do wonder if people in the mainstream when they find out you’re a powerlifter if they do misconstrue that for bodybuilding.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Yeah, I get that a lot too. Typically with the responses, “Are you a bodybuilder?” I would say, “No, I’m a powerlifter,” and then they will respond with, “You don’t look like one.” I know they always mean it in a nice way. They mean, “You don’t look like a man.”

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

It is interesting because powerlifting, weightlifting, powerlifting especially, there’s just so many different body types. You go from lower weight classes to the super heavies. If you ask me to describe what a powerlifter is, someone who’s covered the sport for years now, I have no idea what to say.

I absolutely have like no idea just because there’s such, such a range. It is interesting that people get ahead of that and they’ll apologize, “No offense, but you don’t look like this thing you are.”

Emily HuEmily Hu

Right.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

How do you think powerlifting, itself, go into a broader scope here. How do you think the sport, itself, has changed in the seven or eight years that you’ve been involved in it.

Emily HuEmily Hu

The sport’s become way more mainstream. CrossFit has done so much for powerlifting. As much as powerlifters love to hate on CrossFit, we really owe them because prior to CrossFit, we are considered like the really fat, ugly brother of straight sports. And with CrossFit, it’s cool for women to be strong. It’s hot for women to be strong, it’s hot for women to have muscle.

I think CrossFit is the gateway drug to all strength sports because most people who are powerlifters and weightlifters and strongwomen, especially woman. They’ll say they got into this sport through CrossFit. I think it’s great.

I think powerlifting has become more mainstream. You see, there’s a large variety of people. It’s not just these meat heads. It’s a lot of normal people. It’s a lot of former athletes, and it’s a lot of first time athletes.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

I noticed that I always thought that my stereotype, even before CrossFit had brought strengths for it’s mainstream was, I hung out with a lot of weightlifters. Weightlifters, we always consider ourselves like the big nerds with a lot of PhDs, doctors, people who were over-educated and just wanted to like feel smarter than everyone else.

I think that’s something you find across strength sports these days. You find a lot of…especially for masters athletes or people who find the sport a little later. You find them hyper overachievers and these type A personalities because they always want to change something about themselves and strength sports is a great way to never be satisfied with your performance.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Yeah, that’s true.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Do you find that people who come to you, or are finding the sport maybe reach out to you about it? Do you find commonalities between them? Do you find that they tend to be people of a certain background, or a certain career, or industry, or is it pretty broad these days?

Emily HuEmily Hu

I think it’s pretty broad, but it’s usually more petite women. The rationale here is, they look at me and they see someone who’s like relatively small for a powerlifter. They think, “There’s a person who’s not gigantic that managed to do it, maybe I can, too.”

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Interesting. What do you think is the biggest mistake a lot of new powerlifters you see or work with might make just when they’re first getting into the sport?

Emily HuEmily Hu

 I think they’re too obsessed with body weight. I was too. I probably still am now. I am a girl, after all. There’s a lot of women try to do aggressive weight cuts, they want to go down a weight class, because a lot of us get into the sport because we wanted to lose weight.

There’s this other half of the spectrum that’s very aggressive, but we sort of gain weight too. I think part of that is because of Mark Rippetoe. When starting strength, he tells you like, “To get strong, you have to gain an enormous amount of weight your first year. Just always be eating.”

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

There’s that drink a GOMAD…gallon of milk a day.

Emily HuEmily Hu

There was this really heavy emphasis placed on body weight the first year, but realistically, the first year, that’s probably not the biggest thing you want to be concerned about. You want to be concerned about a safe training regimen and good form.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Do you think that when people get into powerlifting…Something as I learned more about powerlifting coming more from a weightlifting background was, I really underestimated the role that technique plays, and the role that technique development plays.

How you squat, how you bench press, how you deadlift your first year in the sport may be very, very different than how you’re doing this move three years later on. Are you someone who encourages lifters to experiment with form, or do you think that people should lock it in earlier in their careers and just practice that?

Emily HuEmily Hu

 I think your formship will evolve. There are things that are easier to learn when you’re a beginner. Maybe your first two years, you’ll have a squat that’s one way. As you get stronger, as your CNS develops, then you’ll probably make tweaks to your form to make it a more advanced type of technique. I don’t think anyone should be stagnant ever in anything they do, but not even lifting.

I think there’s this misconception of whatever works the first time is going to work every time. Things change. As you get better, your technique should be more specific to however you are in that moment.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

How has your technique on the three main powerlifting movements changed over time in your career?

Emily HuEmily Hu

 I think the easiest one is the bench arches because we’ve gotten more dramatic as the years have gone on. My deadlift and my squat technique were not great to start. My squat technique is still not wonderful.

I think my deadlift, the only reason I’ve gotten away with not having the best technique is because my back’s very strong. Over the years, I think I’m trying to put a bigger emphasis on my lower half rather than just throwing my back into everything at once.

I’m trying to put more of my entire body into the movement, and hopefully that will lead to bigger gains because it’s not just one muscle group doing everything.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

The next question I wanted to ask in regard to powerlifting training and competition prep is training frequency. How has your training frequency evolved as you’ve gotten stronger, as you’ve gotten more experienced in the sport, and as those gains maybe over time come a little bit slower?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Training frequency for me is pretty inconsistent relative to other athletes. I work at a very aggressive job. Currently, I travel maybe three days a week. When I travel, I don’t get a chance to go to the gym. When that happens, the training frequency suffers. I’d say, at this point, I probably train three and a half days a week. When I first started, I trained maybe four days a week.

The first two years as my stamina got better, I bump it up to five. I think by year four, I tried doing six shorter sessions. Maybe two or three years ago, as the weights started getting heavier, five or six sessions a week was too hard. I needed more time to rest. I bumped and back down to four to five. Frequency is…It can be as high as your recovery allows, and that’s always going to be different.

A lot of things that change that…sleep is the most important thing, sleep and nutrition, and then external stressors. If the sleep and nutrition are great, which it seldom is for me, and the external stressors are low, I will to try to do like five to six sessions. If it’s six, they are very, very short sessions. I try to sleep a lot, and I try to never be in a calorie deficit.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

You can always figure out how well a strength athlete’s life is going by if you ask them how their recovery is.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Yeah.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

You could infer things about their personal relationships, their job, their sleep, how they’re eating with like, “How are you recovering these days?” It’s the ultimate question.

Since you’re traveling so much for work, and your training schedule and frequency are always up and down, are you doing anything when you’re on the road whether it’s mobility, body weight work? Is there anything that you incorporate into your travel routine to be a little bit more training-ready when you do land back at home?

Emily HuEmily Hu

I always travel with a lacrosse ball because I find that when I travel, I’m very stiff, not just from previous workouts but mostly from being crunched up on a plane. The lacrosse ball and…I’ll try to mobilize the foam roll. I’m pretty realistic that I won’t get a workout in. I try to stay  nimble.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Gotcha. Your frequency is about three and a half sessions a week, call it, what kind of duration are those for? Are we talking hour sessions, two-hour sessions, are you trying to get in the main movement and your accessory movements into the same sessions?

Emily HuEmily Hu

I try again the main and the accessories, so I’d say probably two hours.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Do you find the recovery time, in an ideal world say you’re at home for stretch of two weeks, how much time would you have to recover? Do you need to recover between those? Those are pretty big sessions. How long between sessions do you need to recover optimally?

Emily HuEmily Hu

In the ideal world, I’d say like 48 hours. I could bench Monday, have a good session, then bench again Wednesday.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Awesome. What does your nutrition look like these days?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Do not come to me for nutrition, for a nutritional model because I can tell you what to do, but I myself I eat like a 7-year-old.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Is it like Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops all the time?

Emily HuEmily Hu

No, it’s more like frosted cupcakes.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

You’re not strict paleo, keto, or any particular thing like that.

Emily HuEmily Hu

No, I’m not. I’d say, if anything I follow something closer to the Atkins diet, I do very high protein. I switch off between like medium fat or carbs depending on how the needs of the day feel.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Gotcha. You heard it here, folks. Go to Emily for all tips on bench pressing and most things in powerlifting, but don’t follow her nutritional model. You can patent the cupcake diet in a few years, if you want, world records.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Yeah, I think so. Just cupcakes with ice cream, and then lots and lots of coffee.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

After weigh-ins, between weigh-ins, and lifting, everyone has their go-to thing. I’ve heard Pop Tarts. I’ve heard cupcakes, Twizzlers was something that I hear people do. What’s your refuel, if you will?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Nachos.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Nachos?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Yeah, but not right away because my stomach is always so sensitive, like the first two hours after I weigh-in. It’s probably something sugary, but then like the big thing I look forward to is something cheesy.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

That’s a new one for me. Normally, you hear people go for the sweet stuff. Nachos, I gotcha. Where’s your favorite place to get nachos close to where you live?

Emily HuEmily Hu

There’s this place called Nachoria. They have the best chips, and then they do that American style liquid queso, I love that.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Is it like the melted Velveeta style?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Yeah.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

That’s an aggressive choice. Wow. She likes what she likes. The last thing I want to cover in this conversation, Emily, is I know that you’re a very cerebral person. I know that you do a lot on the recovery, that side that we haven’t even gotten a chance to talk about this podcast. You’ve already talked about CNS nervous system preparation.

Is there anything that you do on that end that is a little different or maybe something that a lot of other lifters aren’t really focusing on too much when it comes to recovery and performance?

Emily HuEmily Hu

I place a pretty heavy importance on foam rolling and the lacrosse ball, but I don’t think that’s any different from any other powerlifter. I’m a really big fan of fish oil. I do take a lot of natural supplements that I think helps.

There’s like fish oil, there’s [inaudible 29:47] , there’s glutathione. I’m big on antioxidants. I studied nutrition a little bit after I went to powerlifting. I got an online certification in nutrition so I could get a good idea, a better way to rehab myself.

I’d say, at the end of the day, what’s really important is sleeping a lot and eating well. I try to focus on that. Other than that though, I don’t think I do anything magical that no one else has tried before.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Gotcha. We’ve talked about how powerlifting has changed since you’ve been involved. What do you think is next for the sport looking in the range of the next 5 to 10 years?

Emily HuEmily Hu

I hope that in 5 or 10 years powerlifting has the same reach that CrossFit does. I don’t know if that will happen, but I think it’s likely. Powerlifting is an easy sport for first timers to get into.

I think that’s going to make it a very popular sport for adults. Marathons used to be that, about 10 years ago. Hopefully, powerlifting will become the next 5K in marathon trend among adults.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

What’s the equivalency there? Because people when they start off running, they start with the 5K, then they’ll do the half marathon, then the full. Is that like in powerlifting the deadlift only meet, then the push-pull meet, then the full meet is like the full marathon?

Emily HuEmily Hu

 It’s probably like you join the gym, you do a fun meet, or you do a single event meet, then you do a regional meet, and then you get more serious, and then maybe you cut weight for the first time, maybe you travel for the first time.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

I like that. I’m personally and I’m biased…I hope powerlifting and strength sports becomes the new marathon because I’m so tired of hearing people talk about running 26 miles.

Emily HuEmily Hu

Running is painful.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

It’s just so exhausting sounding. Emily, thanks so much for coming on today. If people want to follow along with what you’re doing, how you’re training, where is the best way to tune in?

Emily HuEmily Hu

You can find me on Instagram. The handle is amithebenchbrah, ami is A-M-I

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Awesome. Brah is that B-R-A-H?

Emily HuEmily Hu

That’s right.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Remember to have the H at the end, folks. Awesome. Emily, thank you so much for joining. It’s always a pleasure chatting with you, and really, really looking forward to what’s next for you. Do you have any upcoming competitions?

Emily HuEmily Hu

Boss of Bosses is coming up around the corner. I’m thinking of training for that. It’s hard though because with my work schedule this quarter, I won’t be around very often. We’ll see what happens there. Otherwise, maybe something in the year.

David Thomas TaoDavid Thomas Tao

Awesome. Thanks so much, Emily. Appreciate it.