Tiny But Mighty: How Maggie Delgado Breaks the Mold

WORDS BY: ASHELY BERMUDEZ
PHOTOS BY: EDWARD SINGLETON

She stares up to the ceiling, begging every muscle in her body to push the final bit to complete a successful deadlift. After endless cheering from the crowd and what seems like a lifetime of undertaking, she finally drops the 402 pounds of iron down onto the platform. The shouting stops.

They are moved by her effort. Her team stands behind her, proud, as she walks off the platform with a new motivator.

Maggie Delgado is a 22-year-old senior at CSULB. She stands at 5-foot-3, but the only thing small about Delgado is her petite frame. While she may be a full-time student on campus, she is a powerlifter everywhere else. Her passion for the sport is what drives her to balance two-hour training sessions, five days a week, with a 15-unit school-load and a full-time job. Her dedication is grand and continues to grab the attention of many. She currently has over 15 thousand Instagram followers and counting.

Delgado has gained a considerable amount of respect from her fellow competitors in the short time she has participated in the sport. This past January, she competed in the USPA Powerlifting Meet in San Diego and placed 1st in Juniors and 3rd overall.

She weighed in at 142 pounds of explosive muscle. She walked away with three successful lifts – a 127-pound bench press, a 270-pound squat and a 386-pound deadlift. Squatting almost double and deadlifting nearly triple her body weight, it is no wonder Delgado has caught the attention of so many. She has qualified to compete at Nationals in July, where she will once again attempt a 402-pound deadlift and “hopefully more!”

Delgado has been competing for less than two years. She got her start by a chance encounter with her current coach, Jorge Marquez.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing in the gym,” Delgado said. “I would just try different machines… I was on the lat- ibuypower   pull-down machine [when] this guy comes up to me and tells me I was doing it wrong.”

Grateful for his help and interested in his knowledge, Delgado continued asking questions about fitness. Marquez invited Delgado to meet him at the well-known powerlifting gym Barbell Brigade in Downtown LA that Saturday.  She walked in nervous and excited, and with no idea of what to expect.

“I had never deadlifted until that day,” she laughs. “I didn’t even have the right belt; it was soft and had velcro… and I wore running shoes.”

On her first day of training with Marquez, she pulled a 225-pound deadlift and worked her way up to a 295-pound deadlift. He knew immediately that Delgado had the ability to be great in the sport and offered to coach her. She was instantly committed.

With a significant following on social media, Delgado is motivated to instill confidence in others by showing that anybody can reach their goals so long as they give it their all.

“I used to feel self-conscious at the gym,” she said, “but with powerlifting, I feel like I’ve achieved my identity and confidence.”

Confidence that has grown from trusting in her own abilities and learning immediately that this is a sport of mental strength more so than physical.

Delgado eats healthy for the bulk of her diet – chicken, rice, veggies and lots of water – but boasts of the importance of leniency. She eats burgers, beer and fries when socializing with friends and family to make for a realistic, healthy lifestyle.

“My body is a statement… I want my body to serve as proof that you can look feminine and lift heavy,” she said.

The stereotype of a powerlifter has been a husky, 250-pound man with a big belly, fueling up on doughnuts before his training session. Delgado works hard to break the mold of what it is to be a powerlifter, and she wears her curves and muscle proudly.

After competing last October, Maggie set her eyes on making it to Nationals, a goal she has already met and will see through later this year. She will be graduating from CSULB in the spring of 2017, with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She plans to go as far as she can in the sport and encourages both men and women to build their confidence in anything that keeps them driven.

“I’d like to start a YouTube channel to keep inspiring people,” she said.“After Nationals, I hope to qualify for the 2018 LA FitExpo… I want to take this as far as possible.”