Breakthrough Spotlight – Aliza First

Breakthrough Spotlight

Aliza First

Our Breakthrough Spotlight for April is Aliza First! Aliza shares about how she is staying motivated during these challenging times, and why it’s more important than ever to find the ways to take care of you!

BREAKTHROUGH:  Aliza, thank you for being our Spotlight member for April!  I guess we should start off by saying that these are very strange times and that, obviously, we are all quarantined right now and so we not doing this in person, which how I normally is like to do these interviews.  Where I can sit down  with someone face to face. But…

ALIZA:  Right. Well, thank you for honoring me and wanting to know how I feel and what I have to say.  That is really nice of you to give me a chance to share my story.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Yes!  So, start out by telling us how you were feeling before you started training.  What were you doing?

ALIZA:  Ok, so I joined the gym – it’s been just about eleven months ago and something that I hear often in the gym is “What is your why?”  So, a few weeks ago when you first approached me, I sat down and kind of wrote some things down.


ALIZA:  But now looking back, some of those could change with where we are now and where I was a few weeks ago.


ALIZA: But I turned 50 last year. I retired from teaching after 25 years. That was my career.  My kids are now older and more independent.  And I finally decided that it was time to focus on me.  Definitely, Gina has been pestering me for months to come see what you guys were all about.  You know, I haven’t had good relationships with the gym and working out and coaches in the past.  But this is definitely something that has changed since coming to Breakthrough. And I feel like I have found my people!

BREAKTHROUGH:  Yay!  Oh my gosh!  Well, you are definitely our people.  You just brighten the day every time we get to see you.  And now, even though we don’t get to see you, knowing that I had this call scheduled with you today, I have been looking forward to it all morning.

ALIZA:   Aw, thank you!  Call me anytime!

BOTH: Ha, ha!


ALIZA:  And when I say, my people, the people are all so different. We don’t look the same; we don’t have the same experiences; the same backgrounds.  And it has just been wonderful to meet such a diverse group of people in the gym, where everyone is so kind and just so supportive and things like that.

BREAKTHROUGH:  That’s for sure.  We definitely feel really lucky that we get to train people from different backgrounds, like you said.  People who are a wide variety of ages… people who maybe never exercised before, or people who have been exercising for a long time and want some specialized coaching.  So, it definitely makes our day to get to work with so many different kinds of people AND to see how you guys all support each other…

ALIZA:  Definitely! The support system is amazing..

BREAKTHROUGH:  I think now especially, we realize how important that is because we are all kind of estranged from people that we would normally get to see in person and all of that kind of support that we normally have.  I definitely feel like the camaraderie that you guys all have for each other is so important and, it’s really great to see that happening still online now. I think without that, a lot of us, myself included, would be struggling even more with this whole thing.

ALIZA:  Oh absolutely!  You know, I never thought I would be the person who would say, “I miss going to the gym.”  At first, I was like, “quarantine – I am at home, I am going to sleep all day.”  But I realized how important it was for me to get up and get my body moving.  It definitely makes me feel better these last few weeks. Because when I don’t work out, or take that walk, or do some breathing exercises, I feel a difference with my mood and just how things are going in my life.  So, it is definitely important!

BREAKTHROUGH:  It is interesting because you were really dedicated coming into the gym at least three times a week, sometimes four.  And at first I know a lot of people were thinking, “I will just kind of relax it for a minute because times are weird and who knows what is happening.” But then we see pretty quickly if you stop exercising for a little bit, you do notice how you don’t actually feel that great when you stop. It’s another thing we can NOT take for granted after all of this – having these regular times we commit to taking care of ourselves, and of course the gym itself where we can all be training together.

ALIZA:  Right?! And I am putting it on the list. Who would have thought that that would be in my mindset? I mean, eleven months in, and I am stronger. I am more motivated.  I am committed.  I have never committed myself and stuck with any type of exercise routine in my life!  You know, I think it has to do with the gym and all the friends there, definitely the coaching, and the variety.  And I am having fun doing it, which I never would have thought I would say.

BREAKTHROUGH:  That is pretty exciting!

ALIZA:  Very exciting!

BREAKTHROUGH:  So, then, what kind of things have been keeping you motivated at home? Have you figured out a routine for yourself? Like doing something at a certain time of day? Or what has been working for you?

ALIZA:  I am trying to stick to the routine that I would normally do during the week.  Because I find that if I work out in the morning, the kids are either busy online with school or maybe they are sleeping.  My husband is in his office working.  I’ve got a dedicated space.  I’ve got my routine taped to the window, I’ve got my yoga blocks, my mat is out, my therapy balls – everything is there for me.  I know when I enter that space, I am going to be taking some time for me. I love the routines that have been sent out.   And it has been kind of exciting to say, “oh I know what that is… I can do that” and be able to do things on my own.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Well, you have put some really good habits into place… It is not just us as your coaches saying, “Now come on.  You can do it!”   You’ve established that you can do it, and you will do your training even when things are tough.  That is really awesome!

ALIZA:  Exactly. And another thing- your recipe came out yesterday or maybe even the day before to remind me about food…  The first week or so, we had snacks; we had candy bowls.  And after that I was like no, no, no!  We need to get back. This isn’t a time for free-for-all with the eating and slacking off.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Yeah.  Food can definitely be something people turn to for comfort or emotionally, and a lot of people I know are working with those feelings right now. But it is also an opportunity, if we are willing and able to take it as such, that we could try some new recipes for example…

ALIZA:  Exactly!  I was going to say that.  I am cooking more.  The family is home, so I know they are going to be eating at home, and it is not going to go to waste.  My kids are excited to be in the kitchen with me, and I love it.  You can smell things cooking in the house and it gets everyone anticipated for a good meal.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Right and, like you said, some family time that maybe you wouldn’t have had normally.  People’s schedules are all over the place.


ALIZA:  It was a bit bumpy at the beginning. I am sure you can attest to that as well, when we are forced to be together. But now, I think routine was the word you used. So now, every night after dinner, we play a couple of board games.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Yay!  How fun!

ALIZA:  You know, before we would separate and go do our own things or into our rooms.  I think routine is an important word.  Exercise, eating, family time.  Definitely helpful, for sure.

BREAKTHROUGH:  That is great!  That is really, really awesome.  So, you said that your “Why” might have shifted a little bit through the course of this quarantine.  Do you have any insights on that?

ALIZA:  Well, I think definitely, if I am not taking care of myself, I am not being the best person I can be for my family.  Like I said, I was kind of grumpy when I wasn’t working out those few days I took off.  Eating poorly. Like I wasn’t my best self for those around me.  So, I think that is also important. Being 51 and moving forward, there is lot left!  You know, I want to be healthy and be able to experience things, where maybe before, I was just going through the motions, I guess is the way to say it.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Well, yes, I think taking care of ourselves definitely takes on a little bit more meaning now… and wanting to be your best self coming out of this…

ALIZA:  Oh yeah.  We are like, where is the first place we want to travel if we can travel when this is all done for a family trip?  What do we want to do next?  What are some of the goals for the future?  It’s got us looking toward the future more.

BREAKTHROUGH:  That is such a great thing!

ALIZA:  Yeah!

BREAKTHROUGH:  I am going to ruminate on this myself!

ALIZA:  Yeah!  What do we want to do when this is done!

BREAKTHROUGH:  Right! And start working toward it now!

ALIZA:  Will we continue to play games after dinner?  Do we want to plan a family trip?  Do we want to continue to help others?  I think that is important as well.  You know, it is a lot right now.  I am happy that we have this down time. Not to get philosophical, I think the earth needs to heal a little bit. And they say that it is doing that with less traffic and less resources being used.  Who knows?  You hope for the best!

BREAKTHROUGH:  I do agree with you that figuring out how you can help others, as well noticing your own habits and the way treat yourself is so important, and definitely something we might be able to think about now…  Our relationship to our planet and the people in it.  I think all of that is going to change and I truly believe that is going to change for the better.

ALIZA:  Absolutely!  And we are going to be OK.  We’ve got a couple of weeks, months where it is going to still be different, but we are going to be OK.  I have to believe that.

BREAKTHROUGH:  I believe it too. I really do!

ALIZA:  We will get back to the gym. We will see our friends again and we will have stories to share.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Right! I can’t wait for that!  Thanks again, Aliza!

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