Breakthrough Spotlight –
Breakthrough: So Shannon, we’re super excited to share your story today because you’ve done a couple of our challenges now… You did the Drop 2 Sizes Challenge at the beginning of the year and just finished the Tactical Strength Challenge. Everything has been going super awesome for you but I want to start with backtracking to how you were feeling before you started training here.
Shannon: Before I started training, my body just hurt all the time. After years of getting my doctorate and having a pretty sedentary job, I pretty much stopped working out, due to all my time in front of the computer and all my obligations to those areas. And so I found that, you know, obviously my weight had increased substantially but also my body just wasn’t maintaining at all. Like walking up and down the stairs every morning, it took my body a long time to get warmed up. My feet hurt all the time, my back hurt all the time and I was really just pretty miserable. I wasn’t strong, I got tired easily doing household tasks, that got really annoying and tedious, and when you’re at that level where it’s not even that you’re trying to exercise, but just doing little life things and those are hard to do, that’s when you realize you have a problem. So that’s how I was feeling! Haha.
Breakthrough: So then once you finished school and had some more free time, was there anything that was kind of an eye opener for you that led you to feel like “alright, now is the time to get back into training, I’m going to start taking care of me again?”
Shannon: Yeah, I actually went to the doctor and found that my blood pressure was high and my blood pressure has never been high! I run typically very low no matter where I am on the weight scale and my cholesterol had gone up and overall I wasn’t as healthy as I wanted to be. So it was a matter of committing to doing this, and yes I have a little more free time because my schooling finally ended, but also that I really had to make this about me and I had to just decide that even if it wasn’t my new year’s resolution- because I started in I think October and not January – this is just my resolution now. I’m 40 years old, I don’t want to start falling apart in ways that I can control, there are things that I can’t control, but there are things that I can take control of and I really just want to commit to myself now. I have taken care of a lot of other things in my life and I’ve never really put myself first. Plus I’ve seen Janel training with you folks for several months, and I trained with you guys previously, so I knew the results would be there. I watched her getting stronger and stronger and I thought “she’s going an hour at a time, and not 5 days a week, 4 hours at the gym every night, this is manageable.”
Breakthrough: Right, yeah for sure. So now you have successfully dropped 2 sizes, from the D2S Challenge and even more-so now that it has been a couple months past that! And you just conquered the TSC with your 225 pounds deadlift, and 115 kettlebell snatches and a flexed arm hang, when at first you weren’t even able to get yourself up over the bar, and in just a few short weeks you were like “nope I’m going to get myself over the bar!” So how are you feeling now, what’s changed?
Shannon: I feel one thousand times better, my energy level is much more consistent, that’s not to say that I don’t get tired and things don’t get taxing, but it’s much more consistent. I get home in the evenings and I can do things. I can cook dinner, I can take care of the insane dog life that we live, I can hop up and down the stairs! I didn’t even realize that every morning I was getting up and running down the stairs with the dogs, which hasn’t happened for me in years and one day I just realized “wow I just ran down those stairs, why did I do that?” because I wasn’t even able to do that months ago. So it’s just that overall I feel healthier, my food choices are a thousand times better because all that you’ve taught us about nutrition and so I don’t feel gross after I eat a meal anymore, which is also great! Sustained energy! It’s amazing how many little tweaks you can make to give yourself an overall better outlook, and my blood pressure has dropped substantially so it’s right back to where it used to be, and things are just looking better across the board and my doctors is a lot happier, haha.
Breakthrough: Good! So speaking of the stuff with your dogs, we should also mention that another super awesome thing that you do is that you completed your second marathon at the beginning of the year and that’s all to raise money for the charity you support, Angel City Pit Bulls. And so the second time through the marathon, I know that one of your goals that you had when you started was that after you finish your marathon, your body didn’t feel so destroyed. So how was your recovery following your second marathon?
Shannon: The recovery from this one was a lot better. I probably spent a couple of weeks not fully in bed, but really down, after the first marathon and it took me months to feel fully recovered. But I walked away from this last marathon and was sore, because you know, your legs are a little hurting. But we walked and I got home, got up the next day and the first thing I did was put on clothes and said “I’m going to take the dogs out,” just out front to walk them a little bit so I would stay in my routine and my body responded beautifully, and that’s what I wanted to see. And so you’re sore and a little bow legged, but I was back into training within that week!
Breakthrough: Yeah it wasn’t even a week, what like five days and you were like “ok, I’m back!”
Shannon: Yeah, I knew I wanted to take a couple days off for my body, but I was fine when I came back. I didn’t feel like “oh I have to start a whole different thing.” My body was really responsive to everything we’d been doing at Breakthrough, so it was great.
Breakthrough: And something that I love is that your dedication to take care of yourself helps you be more able to do all the things that are important to you. It leaves you more able to commit to things that are close to your heart like taking care of your puppies. Like you guys are foster parents to Angel City Pit Bulls all the time and doing the marathon to raise money for that cause that’s close to your heart. Taking care of yourself allows you to continue taking care of others, so that’s super important and awesome that you’re doing that.
Shannon: That’s a good way to look at that.
Breakthrough: And it makes me especially happy in this case, because God knows that animal causes are my favorite!
Shannon: Indeed! Haha!
Breakthrough: Is there anything else that you want to share, did anything surprise you, anything you would say to people like you just looking to get started, any words of wisdom, inspiration?
Shannon: Trust the system, because it definitely works. The system you have in place and the way you work with us and how you bring us through things, makes so much more sense because I realize if I tried to do some of these workouts back in October, I would have been a mess doing them and probably would have ended up with some sort of injury if I wasn’t being guided. What I love about this program, is that if you’re feeling something wonky about it, the coaches will help you bring it up to whatever level in your head that you think you need to be at, and you will work hard and get everything out of it. And on the nutrition front, I cannot believe how much I love fruit!
Breakthrough: Yay fruit! Haha!
Shannon: And cottage cheese, and all the things I eat! I was so excited to grab my snap peas and my stick of cheese, to come to work with my snacks and turkey wraps and I love it because my life is so much easier. It’s actually not harder to meal plan, its easier. So I want people to know you guys really do the holistic part of things, it’s not just come in and workout and we’ll see ya. No, it’s how are you feeling, let’s do your Functional Movement Screen, let’s do another one after you do something major and let’s also talk to you about the foods you should be eating in and around these workouts to really maximize whatever benefit you’re looking for.
Breakthrough: Yeah, we’re one big family, and when people join, we’re going to want to know how everything’s going and not just workout wise, but food wise and recovery wise. So yeah, it’s important to us that you guys all feel awesome in all aspects of life, so I’m glad you’ve experienced that!
Breakthrough: I really appreciate you taking the time, because any time we can share one person’s story, chances are that someone else out there will resonate with that. So that just helps us help more people, which is our goal around here, to keep growing the Breakthrough family and have more awesome people just like you. Thanks so much Shannon!
Shannon: No problem, thank you!