Breakthrough Spotlight –
Akemi Hayashi is our Breakthrough Spotlight for October! Akemi has made some great achievements since joining Breakthrough, and is an awesome training partner to everyone she works out with. She embodies the Breakthrough motto of “Celebrating the Strength in Us All!” and we wanted to share her story!
Breakthrough: Akemi, thank you so much for being our Breakthrough Spotlight for October! We really appreciate our members being willing to share their stories, because your journeys help inspire others to keep going, or to get started in the first place. That being said, where were you at before you started with us about five months ago?
Akemi: First of all, thank you for asking me to do this. I’m honored and I feel very special! What brought me in was that I had been wanting to get more active, get in shape, and lose weight most importantly, for a while. My entire life I have been overweight, since puberty – I’m not exaggerating. But ever since puberty I started gaining weight every year, every year, every year… In high school I pretty much maintained because I was so active. I was in three different sports, but then no more sports after high school. I joined different gyms, tried different diets and fads and everything, so I gained a lot of weight in the past ten years, but my life was so crazy with work. Crazy, crazy, long, long, long hours. And I was raising my nieces as well as my stepson, and I never made myself a priority. So now that my kids are older, there is no more excuse for why I’m not taking care of myself.
Breakthrough: So was that the turning point for you? That they are older now and now you feel like you have the time?
Akemi: Yeah, exactly. I always wanted to, but then I would never finish. I would start for three months and then work would get in the way, or some family crisis would get in the way. I was always taking care of work or family.
Breakthrough: And so now that you are prioritizing and focusing on you, what’s helping you stick with that? What do you think is making a difference this time around?
Akemi: Well, definitely making myself a priority, as well as my husband encouraging me, not that he didn’t in the past. But you know, with his encouragement and the support of my family, it’s extremely helpful. Having that time, and making sure that my time is for me, and I don’t make it an excuse… because then it’s just another excuse for why I failed, versus trying something and not succeeding. It’s far different than “oh I don’t have time,” so in my mind I didn’t fail because I had to stop because of something else. That’s where my mindset is at this moment of time, if I have to take care of myself and it’s ok if I really put 100% in this and I’m not successful today, it’s ok I can start again tomorrow.
Breakthrough: Exactly. We are big believers in the “clean slate policy”- we all get to start over the next day and say “ok well today is a new day and I’m going to focus on what I can do today instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.” So it’s good that you give that to yourself because not everyday is going to be a perfect day where everything goes exactly according to plan.
Akemi: No, it’s not like that!
Breakthrough: So now that you’ve been training for five months with us, whats been some of the biggest surprises for you since joining?
Akemi: Well my best friend Mae comes here and she’s been coming here since you guys opened this location, so she’s been trying to get me to come for a year. What I find surprising is really everyone’s spirit, everyone’s support, and I’m not just talking about you the trainers.
Breakthrough: Yeah we’re really lucky, we have a great group of people who train here and it makes a big difference for everyone.
Akemi: Absolutely, I mean I feel guilty when I come in and I know I work out with certain individuals and they say “oh where were you yesterday?” Not only are my coaches going to notice that, but I miss seeing the people that I work out with and it encourages you because the atmosphere here is so amazing. And even though Mae has told me how great it is here, it surprised me.
Breakthrough: That’s great to hear!
Akemi: Another thing that surprised me was that you don’t have all these elliptical machines and everyone’s always saying you have to run or work on this machine, or push yourself to a maximum, almost to injury, to gain success or to see change.
Breakthrough: Yeah our set up is definitely different from the average gym, and we know that certain things that mainstream fitness would tell you are the most important priorities are not necessarily true. You’ve experienced that we focus on good movement, and strength training primarily as our foundation. You’ve experienced some pretty cool results from doing that, haven’t gotten injured, you’ve been able to accomplish some pretty amazing things. So can you share some of your high points and accomplishments in your training so far?
Akemi: Yes! So in these first five months, I’ve lost over 10 inches total, I’m down 2 pants sizes, and I just finished my first Tactical Strength Challenge!
Breakthrough: Yeah – some really exciting stuff! And you deadlifted how much in the TSC last weekend?
Akemi: 200 pounds!
Breakthrough: And you did how many kettlebell snatches in the five minute test?
Breakthrough: So that’s pretty exciting for having not done any of that stuff prior to a few months ago!
Akemi: No, and I woke up not sore, and I of course posted on Facebook because I wanted my PR stickers haha, and everyone’s commenting “oh my goodness, don’t get hurt” and I’m like “no, I’m good. I’m not even sore!” You know, that’s the whole point, you’re teaching me to use the proper technique where I’m not getting injured.
Breakthrough: And you’re getting stronger everyday!
Akemi: Stronger everyday.
Breakthrough: So any other words of advice that you’d offer to someone who was maybe like you before you started? Any words of wisdom?
Akemi: Definitely give it a try! The moment you walk in you will feel comfortable. You will not feel as though you are walking into another gym and intimidated, because there are so many different fitness levels here, same thing goes for age, so it’s welcoming to come in here. And I would just say take care of yourself first, and make yourself a priority. I stopped trying to make excuses for why I wasn’t.
Breakthrough: That’s definitely a big one, when you make yourself a priority then you’re better able to take care of all those other people you take care of. And you’ve seen that in action because unfortunately both your husband and your mother had injuries recently that you have had to help them with.
Akemi: Yes, and I was just telling my husband the other day that I know that my feeling better and stronger is helping me take care of them, and I’m not sure I could have done it as well a few months ago. So thank you!
Breakthrough: Thank you, Akemi! And thank you so much for sharing your story.
Akemi: Of course!