Breakthrough Spotlight – Galina Cherny

Breakthrough Spotlight

Galina Cherny

Our Breakthrough Spotlight for May is Galina! We talked about staying motivated while training at home, how being a part of a community can help you feel more connected, and how training to look and feel your best can be related.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Thanks for chatting with me today, Galina! One of the things that we always like to start with is hearing about what led you to begin doing this kind of training…  I know we are coming up on a year of your training with us at Breakthrough.  What brought you here?

GALINA:  So, this was kind of unexpected because doing that type of workout is not in my nature.  I have never lifted more than 3-pound weights while I was exercising.  I don’t like gyms.  I am intimidated by all the gym machines, so weightlifting wasn’t in my vocabulary.  But I had a bone density test done and, when the results came, my doctor first wanted to put me on medication to help slow down the process.  And knowing how much I hate medications and the side effects, he recommended instead maybe trying weightlifting and building muscle and strengthening bones that way. So, after giving him a look of, “Are you kidding me?” I asked if he had any recommendations.  I didn’t want to go to the gym because I just didn’t feel like that type of approach was for me.  He recommended Breakthrough.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Great!  Awesome!

GALINA:  And that is how I showed up!  I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is way more intimidating than I anticipated,” but that is what brought me in.

BREAKTHROUGH:  We have met a lot of people who have been in that boat where they weren’t gym people, and the thought of lifting weights is very intimidating, especially to ladies.  It was to me before I first started.  I thought I don’t have a place here; this isn’t my scene.  I don’t fit in. But that is one of the reasons why we decided to open our gym in the first place.  We thought, “Oh gosh you know what?  There is something missing; there is an environment missing for people that maybe haven’t had the exposure to this.”  Especially as we get older, really the only way to maintain muscle mass and help keep bone density is by doing some type of resistance training, so I am glad that you found us!

GALINA:  Yes, me too.  It was an interesting experience for me to just see a completely different approach than anything I would have found at the other type of gym, with these big classes and an instructor who is just ‘go-go-go’ at a very fast pace without paying any attention to what is going on in the room.  I attended some of those classes like once, or until I hurt my back.  And I found a completely different environment at Breakthrough.  And just the individual approach and also the framework and the philosophy that you guys are using just really resonated with me. So, that was like Step One to get me in the door.  I like this, small, family type of environment, and then I began noticing how much of a part of the community you guys are. How much you care for people and all the work that you are doing for the community that you live in.  To me that was sort of a bonus to be in an environment that is so caring as well.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Oh, good!  Yes, we do believe that we want to live lives that we can be of service, not just to people that are coming in to train with us, but to the world in general.  We want to surround ourselves with other people who feel that way.  We feel really lucky that we get to meet people like you and all of our members who really do believe that same thing.  I think that is what makes a community, and that is what makes us feel like more than just a gym. That is why we do what we do.  I am glad that you found that, too!

GALINA:  It shows definitely!  I would imagine that is why a lot of people stay, to be a part of it.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Yes, I think so.  I feel like if you can connect to something that is a little bit bigger than just yourself, and a community of like-minded people, you are more likely to succeed and feel supported. We all come into fitness with our personal goals.  And those can be vastly different goals.  I know a lot of our members come for weight loss, which was not what you came for at all!  You are training to add muscle.

GALINA:  Ha, ha! Yes!

BREAKTHROUGH:  We have people who come to train for sports, for different occupational things; we train a lot of different types of people.  But I think what does keep people connected is that feeling that they are a part of something more than just them.  And that actually gets you better results, when you feel like you are in a supportive place where people share some similar goals.  But we don’t all have to be focusing on the exactly the same thing to feel like we are connected.  And that provides that little bit of motivation.

GALINA:  Right!  Well, I have to say, that there is almost like a special type of person that I see at Breakthrough.  They are not your typical gym group.  There is a variety of backgrounds that people bring to the gym and to each other, the variety, like you were just saying, of reasons why they are there.  But the personalities and the backgrounds are so different, and people are just so interesting.  Every time I meet somebody new or talk a little bit more with another person, it is just completely amazing for me to see that the type of people and the type of different backgrounds that you guys are able to embrace, around your strategies for workouts and all the things that you are exposing people to and all the things you are doing for the community.  I think that together, all of that, brings this amazing quality of people.  I just started thinking about that this morning. That is part of what makes it so enjoyable as well. Somebody will share a book in the middle of the workout session or a TV show or all of a sudden you learn about somebody’s background that just completely mesmerizes you.  It is sort of in that hour, there is much more happening than the workout itself.  Just the workout is very important!  That is why we are there!

BREAKTHROUGH:  Yes, Right!  But if you can do it in a way that you are connecting with other people, the world feels a little bit smaller.  I do love what you said about people having different backgrounds because I definitely notice that with meeting so many people.  This is coming up on our fifth anniversary of having the gym open and prior to that Caleb and I were working as trainers for many years before opening Breakthrough.  So, in working with so many different people – I learn every day! I think that is another really important part of life for me.  I like learning and I learn through, maybe a non-traditional route, but I definitely learn through meeting people who can share their different experiences.  Oh my gosh, hearing your story that you shared on Facebook of how you came to America –  What an incredible thing that I never would have known! Certainly, you hear things like that, but to have it shared from someone who I know and see several times a week-  wow!  It means something different when you connect stories to people!

GALINA:  For sure! I Agree!

BREAKTHROUGH:  It is incredible.

GALINA:  And then also – your story and Caleb and every coach, right, – just the personalities.  You guys are amazing; each individual is so different and so interesting.  The sense of humor, the camaraderie.  There is just something very special in the way that the coaches are connected with each other, too.  I think that comes across.  I think that sets the tone.  Leadership in any organization sets the tone for culture in how others interact.  That is beautiful to absorb and be a part of.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Oh, Awesome.  Well, speaking of making the world feel a little bit smaller and trying to create that sense of community with everything that we are going through right now, obviously, the gym itself, its physical location is not open.  We are having to do things a little bit differently right now, so, as I have been chatting with people and having our coaching calls and our Zoom calls and all of that stuff, it has been really inspiring to me to see how all of you guys are doing your best on a day to day basis to stay connected to your health and fitness goals.  I am wondering if you could share a little bit about what you have been doing. What has been keeping you motivated and inspired?  How has all of that been going for you?


GALINA:  Yes, I mean this is just incredible.  In my mind, the gym closed and there would be a gap and then we will come back and we would continue to work out.  But what I am experiencing is a different way, I guess.  You can’t even say that these workouts are the only things that are amazing here.  Just the way you provided so many different options.  So, I have my own program that is a 10-12 day program that I can do at home.  I exercise in the room in our house that we lovingly called the baby room.  We quickly created a baby room for our first grandson when he was born seven years ago. It’s been the day room, the room where they play and sleep when they come over.  That now became my exercise room. The fact that I don’t have a lot of equipment, my yoga mat, a couple of blocks and then my therapy  balls. That is it.  It doesn’t stop me from going through each session that you created for me at my own time and at my own pace and just doing what I can.  And it is very helpful to have these weekly conversations with you and sort of be reassured in a way that while the program says five reps, I only did three and I was done.  And it was ok, it was ok for that day.  So that was one way that I try at least to do that a couple of times a week.   And then your daily 6 P.M. sessions are just amazing! You literally feel like you are working out in person.  And the variety of options that you guys are presenting are just incredible.  Use a water bottle, use nothing, use weights; use whatever it is you have or may not have in the house, you can still follow along and exercise.  So those have been amazing. I try to do maybe two of these a week, and I try to also participate in the Friday night yoga.  I do Friday or I do it on a different day.  And that is another huge benefit that all of these live sessions are available so you can create your own schedule.  There is so much help and support that you guys are providing to the team.  It to me is incredible! So, I am not always up to doing that vigorous exercise, but I am doing something.  I will learn to be OK with it.  I can add some more rigor when we are back in person, for which I cannot wait.

BREAKTHROUGH:  We can’t either!

GALINA:  It is almost like the gym just took a different shape with everything that you are offering.  Once we are ready to go back, it will change a little bit.  I totally expect that things will be a little bit different once we start coming back.  But it is sort of flowing from one to another.  Like, I never felt that the gym was closed, and I was lost.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Aww! Thank goodness!  That was our goal!  We knew we couldn’t stop and give up.  We had to find a way to pivot as quickly as we could to start finding as many ways as possible to connect with you guys and to keep you guys feeling like you were still connected with each other and doing as much training as possible.  So I am really glad to know that you have been able to take advantage of all that.  My last question for you is what is your “Why?”  We always ask everyone that we do these interviews with, what is your deeper purpose for why you prioritize taking care of your health and fitness?

GALINA:  Vanity! I know you are looking for deep. Ha, ha!  Vanity!  I want to look great in high heels and sleeveless dresses.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Who doesn’t!?

GALINA:  That isn’t very deep, maybe.  But it is important to me.  And seriously, I have four grandkids, and my husband and I spend a lot of active time with them.  We take them to the park, we go on slides, we climb on bikes and do all sorts of things with them.  And I want to be able to do that for as long as I can.  Since I left my corporate job and transitioned into a coaching career, I also want to be able to have my mind clear and alert.  When I suggest to my clients that part of a good life balance is being up and about and running and moving and working on their healthy habits, I want to be able to speak from experience. And now I can!  Right?  I can tell people who tell me they will never set a foot in a gym, that I know how that is.  So, I can help them with some tools and some ideas on how to make maybe tiny, small shifts and changes to create more balance in their lives, which our bodies are a part of that.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Well, you are so funny because you say it is vanity, and of course, we all want to look our best.  But then I usually find that as people keep talking, there are all these other things, too. It really does go deeper than just wanting to look good.  Why do I want to look good? And feel good? Oh, because I want to able to do all the active things with my family, I want to be a role model for my clients, I want to project all of that stuff so that I can speak from experience. So, it is not just vanity. I know that when I look my best I know that I also feel better. I feel more powerful; I know that I have more to offer.  If I don’t feel like I am taking care of myself the best way I can, I don’t feel that way.

GALINA:  Right.  It is part of it.

BREAKTHROUGH:  It is a deep vanity.  Not shallow!

GALINA:  Ha, ha!  Yes, we are deep for sure.

BREAKTHROUGH: Ha! Thanks for the laugh, and for sharing your story!

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