Vegan athlete Yolanda Presswood made history today when she broke the Californian and US powerlifting record for Squat, with just one rep, and the state record for Bench. This earned her the title of Best Masters Lifter as well as first place.

According to Great Vegan Athletes the athlete’s Squat saw her lift an impressive 128kg (283lb) and Bench Press 62.5kg (137lb).

This is a particularly amazing day for Presswood, as family circumstances have forced her to cancel three other powerlifting events this year.

Presswood is entirely plant-powered and has been since 2010 when she made the decision to go vegan. Although her diet clearly doesn’t interfere with and may even improve her performance, she is vegan predominantly for the animals. After reading Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet, Presswood said that ‘it was there that [her] eyes were opened to the atrocities animals suffer every day.’

The athlete only began lifting five years ago, but she has competed as a CrossFit and a bodybuilder in the Fitness Model and Bikini classes.

Many athletes are turning to plant-based diets to improve their performance, and stories such as Presswood’s illustrate why.

The powerlifter’s impressive achievements this year do a lot to disparage concerns over whether a plant-based diet can give you everything you need to be healthy. Vegan or otherwise, most people wouldn’t be able to lift anywhere near what Presswood has today, but she’s certainly proving you can be plant-based and a powerhouse.

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