BRYAN, Texas — Most of the time, high school freshman Kady Albarado is a normal teenage girl.
But at the gym, when the stainless steel bar in front of her is loaded with hundreds of pounds of weight - Kady squats 325 pounds, dead lifts 340 pounds and bench presses 180 pounds - the bubbly 14-year-old transforms into “Da Beast.”
“We don’t call her ‘Da Beast’ for nothing,” Kady’s mother Tisha Traeger said. “That is her nickname because she’s so strong.”
During a recent wednesday morning practice, in preparation for The Texas State Girls Powerlifting Competition on March 16, “Da Beast” spent hours pacing the Bryan High weight room, huffing and clapping her hands together. Small clouds of chalk drifted from her palms. Occasionally, she would squat over a barbell, obsessively wrap and re-wrap her fingers around the worn metal bar, lift almost twice her body weight, howl and send the the bar clanging to the floor.
“I can outlift most of the freshman boys,” Kady giggles. “Other people are like ‘Dang you’re swole,’ especially the guys. Like they always challenge me to see how much they can lift.”
Kady is the first freshman female powerlifter from Bryan High School to qualify for the state meet. Watching her lift over 300 pounds again and again, it’s difficult to believe the state-bound teen started lifting less than a year ago.
“I’ve always been into lifting and I wanted to show people what I can do,” Kady said. “I pushed myself to the limit and I wanted to see how good I could be and I made it to state.”
Before Kady began lifting competitively, she’d frequent her father’s crossfit gym. She remembers how her father and gym staff often stopped her from lifting what they thought was too much weight for a then 13-year-old girl. They didn’t want Kady to injure herself.
“She would throw weight on and I’d hold her back because I didn’t want her to get hurt because I had that stigma, her being a girl” Kady’s father Chris Albarado said. “I didn’t want to cut her loose and she joined powerlifting and boy did she prove me wrong.”
Now, the father-daughter pair work out together, often using the same weights.
“It’s good to have a partner as your daughter who can lift almost as much weight as you can,” Albarado said. “She’s definitely an inspiration to me.”
Kady said powerlifting has helped her show others what she and other young women are capable of.
“This really has boosted my confidence because it helps us girls show the guys what we’re capable of, that we’re not weak, that we can do this,” Kady said. “It’s not just a guy sport.”