Breakthrough Spotlight – Kathy

Our Spotlight Member this month is Kathy! In this interview she talks about the importance of strength training as we age, the power of strength training for women, and the overall benefits on mind, body and spirit!

BREAKTHROUGH:  Thank you for being our spotlight member this month, Kathy. We appreciate it!


KATHY:  You are welcome.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Let’s start by talking about what brought you to us in the first place.  It has been a few years now.


KATHY:  Yes. I am so fortunate that a few years ago my doctor specifically recommended StrongFirst training, and then helped me find my family coaches at Breakthrough, in my own work zip code.  As an introvert/learner, I do value the true community at Breakthrough, though as in any family, I get my share of abuse.


BOTH: Ha, ha!



KATHY:  When I dropped out a few months into the pandemic, you showed great care, I could say some persistence, and gave me the needed encouragement to get me back.




KATHY:  That is special beyond customer service!  I think at that time, I didn’t actually know that I have significant scoliosis. So, it is a fight against gravity, or the battle against gravity as you age  – and during our three years at home all curled up over a laptop.




KATHY:  That pretty much did me in.  So, that required some additional physical therapy and medical analysis.  I have osteoporosis so anything I can, as Dr. Ryan and everybody says, to strengthen what’s around that ever-increasingly fragile frame…


BREAKTHROUGH:  …is important.


KATHY:  It is important. It’s lifesaving.


BREAKTHROUGH:  It is, and you are really good at committing to it. You mentioned Covid, and we all had our moments of feeling like we weren’t sure what to do during that time.


KATHY:  You guys were amazing!


BREAKTHROUGH:  And yes, I did sort of rattle your cage and say, come on, its time.  And now, I feel like you have been really consistent in your training these past couple of years, apart from vacations and so forth.


KATHY:  Well, it is interesting, as I noted as Caleb wrote recently, we all work through injury of various kinds and it is interesting to see that thread where you guys have been consistent and have been able to knead out of me whatever the next issue is. So that has been really helpful. And I appreciate the care, the caution actually, as people walk in with their different sets of challenges.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Yeah, we all have them. If you have made it out of your teenage years, chances are you’ve got some kind of little tweak, or you’ve had an injury that you still have some ramifications of in your body.  We all have those things.


KATHY:  That’s for sure!


BREAKTHROUGH:  If you expect things to feel perfect every single time you train, or if you think you’ll be able to navigate life and never have an injury, that is not the way it goes for most of us.


KATHY:  On that count, I did want to share a favorite quote of mine. “Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.”


BREAKTHROUGH:  Ha, ha! Oh goodness!


KATHY:  I kind of like that!


BREAKTHROUGH:  Well, I think you are doing all the things you can to make sure you are being penalized less, let’s say that! Strength training is certainly one of those things that helps you. 


KATHY: Oh yes!


BREAKTHROUGH:  You know, you just took a major vacation by yourself in New Zealand.


KATHY:  Yes.


BREAKTHROUGH:  You can’t do that kind of thing unless you are strong.


KATHY:  One of the things I wanted to say, although I may not manifest it, I really often look about with great respect and awe at the obvious grit and spirit of some of my senior training partners, even as we groan together!  Decades of yoga was a gift for me, but the strength training in age is pure gold!  And I think, unfortunately, I often look about and I want to say, as in many aspects of our society, women are grossly under informed, under privileged and under challenged when it comes to the importance of core and upper body strength.  And feet!




KATHY:  Feet! The rolling therapy!


BREAKTHROUGH:  Yeah, we spend years squished into the perfect footwear for the office and yeah.. totally!



KATHY:  So, I want to say, my sisters, you could still walk tall and look good in sleeveless!

It’s just not emphasized – you can just look around and you can see that they don’t know.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Yeah!  It’s true! That is one of the reasons why I decided that, in particular, I wanted to pursue this path.  I really didn’t know anything about strength training in my earlier life. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s…


KATHY:  Except that you would turn out looking like a guy!  You know, that was the big worry….


BREAKTHROUGH:  Right… Many of us grew up with wrong information about strength training:  “Well, you know that is for men. Men are the ones who lift weights and do all of that stuff.  I don’t want to get all these big muscles…” It’s misinformation and it’s culturally you know, no one teaches girls – like, in PE, did anyone ever teach you how to do a push up?


KATHY:  Excuse me?  Catholic girls’ school?  Did we even put on a uniform in girls’ basketball? I don’t think I ever tossed a basket.


BREAKTHROUGH:  No one expected you to as a woman.


KATHY:  Exactly, exactly!


BREAKTHROUGH:  So, I agree with you that, unfortunately, there are so many people out there who still don’t understand the benefits that could come from strength training. 


KATHY:  Yes, and I walk out of Breakthrough feeling hopeful, with strength in body and mind. And full of gratitude for the expertise, enthusiasm, humor, and care I always find here, regardless of what I drag in! Some mornings I am reluctant to fall out and get there, especially up the 101, but never a regret. 


BREAKTHROUGH:  Ah, that is awesome!  Thank you so much for sharing all of that!


KATHY:  Oh, you are welcome!


BREAKTHROUGH:  I think I you have covered a lot of things here.  So, the only other thing that I’ll ask is, what is your why? What is the deeper reason on those days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed and driving down the 101, what gets you out of bed and makes you come do it anyway?


KATHY:  I am not sure how to explain it but for someone with my personality, one of my main salvations is getting into the body. And that’s what I do here. It gives me some space, I guess, that I don’t give myself. I can’t figure out how to sit in the chair and give myself that space.  And I believe in the well-being of the body, mind, spirit.


BREAKTHROUGH:  And I think that sometimes if you are someone who has a very intellectual mind… you are thinking a lot about stuff..


KATHY:  Cerebral..


BREAKTHROUGH:  Yes, cerebral. You are very cerebral.


KATHY:  Yes, I am.  That is my type!


BREAKTHROUGH:  It makes sense, knowing you.  I think it is important for people who are cerebral, and are thinking a lot of thoughts all the time to have somewhere to put that. To ground that energy.  As you say, body, mind, and spirit.  They really all do have to work together.  Sometimes we will see someone who is quite physical naturally, who really enjoys physical activity, find their way into a calmer mindset. When you are doing things to take care of your physical body, it positively impacts your mind and spirit, and vice versa.


KATHY:  Who doesn’t want that if they knew it was available.


BREAKTHROUGH:  But the hard part is getting started because it is not immediate. You have to do it in order to feel it. I know you have been working hard and you are very consistent, and it shows – which is why we wanted to interview you!


KATHY:  Sincere thanks to all of you. You guys constantly have a lot of manage and a lot to handle, including me! I’m very grateful!


BREAKTHROUGH:  We are grateful for you too!


KATHY:  Thank you!








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