Breakthrough Spotlight – Lesley

Our Breakthrough Spotlight this month is Lesley! As a retired stunt person, Lesley shows tremendous resilience in recovering from injuries and learning new ways to stay strong and healthy. She shares about the power of having a support team, and focusing on what you can do instead of what you can't.

BREAKTHROUGH:  Lesley, thank you for chatting with me today and for being our Spotlight member this month. So, tell me a little about what brought you to Breakthrough in the first place a couple years ago.


LESLEY:  Well, I was recommended through Chana. And she thought this would be a good place for me because she knew how bad my injuries were and what I was dealing with during the last few years.  When I had the consultation with you guys, it was just amazing what you did.  You paid attention to everything that was wrong with me.  My spine is the worst part of it. My knee has also been a problem since 2016, maybe even before that. Right away, the training and the concentration on the movements – and you paid attention to the aches and pains and the sores –  and everything that was me trying to push myself to do things the way I used to do them before.  And you guys are so good at it, in transitioning and understanding that this is what people are used to, but showing us you can do it this way, still have a good workout, build your muscles and work around injuries. And so, it just makes sense being here and listening to the knowledge that you guys have.  And it works, I think, for everybody in a different way.  So when Chana said you should try this, I am so glad I did!  I am so glad I came here.



BREAKTHROUGH:  We’re so glad! I mean, my gosh!  You touched on a couple of things that I think are really important for people to understand.  We do work with a lot of people who are athletes, and who have had injuries  – we should probably mention for our readers that you are a stunt person and you have done a lot of amazing feats that we have all enjoyed watching in various films and TV. 




BREAKTHROUGH:  And your body pays a price for some of those things, sometimes. So, of course, there is some injury and wear and tear.  But you are certainly someone who is used to pushing yourself really hard and really going for it.




BREAKTHROUGH:  So, it does take a lot of mental strength and courage to say – OK, maybe the way I was used to doing things isn’t the only way.  And I can find a new way moving forward.  What I love, every time you come in, is that even if something isn’t feeling good, you show up and you focus on what you can do, instead of things that don’t feel accessible on that day.


LESLEY:  Oh, yeah. There are so many days that I am like, nope!  Don’t want to.  I mean, hey, even this morning, I was kind of pushing to get out of bed.  It kind of helps my brain, to think hey, these people are waiting for me. If I had no one to do anything with or work with, I would still be lying in bed.  I would not be getting up.  So, it helps me, and it motivates me.  Back ten or twenty years ago, I had a trainer three times a week and my mother and I would go.  I used to take her, and that made me go.


BREAKTHROUGH:  But you are not alone in that.  A lot of us need that appointment that keeps you – I hate the word accountable because we are all adults.  No one needs to be accountable to anyone else.  But it’s a support team and knowing that, hey, there are people who are waiting for me.  I am invested in that, and they are invested in me. It does make a difference!  We have business coaches.  I have things that I check in with other people on because it’s an appointment and it makes me do it.


LESLEY:  Exactly!


BREAKTHROUGH:  Now, it’s been several months now since you had your knee replacement. It was a lot to go through, of course. But how are you feeling now? 


LESLEY:  When I first came in, my spine was the worst.  I had seven doctors tell me I was supposed to be fused from my thoracic down to my lumbar.  I chose not to.  All these seven surgeons I told thank you very much and I went on my way.  That’s when Chana kind of approached me and I started working out here.  That year was amazing! Like I said, you guys helped me through everything –   “Does that hurt?  Don’t do that. Let’s do this instead.” That kind of help assisted me moving forward into having no pain.  And it was amazing! Then of course my knee came back into play, and hindered my back again.  I kind of backtracked a little bit with my knee surgery.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Sure. Because once you are walking funny because of your knee, then your back is going to say why are you walking weird?


LESLEY:  It’s been 8 or 9 months since the knee surgery. So, I am still now trying to get back to working out with my knee properly and also trying to get my back feeling good again like it was.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Well, it’s hard to see the progress on yourself sometimes.  But I see tremendous progress in terms of the knee rehab.  It’s so painful!  It is one of the hardest things to go through.  But you were just so diligent – you were consistent when you were doing your PT. You really stayed on top of it and as soon as your doctor said you could come back and train, you were in! 


LESLEY:  Yeah, I needed to get back to moving and get back to strengthening and trying to do what I could.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Like even today, you were kneeling on that knee and doing fall outs!  That is not something you were able to do even a few weeks ago!


LESLEY:  No, I know! 


BREAKTHROUGH:  So, progress is definitely there. Even though it feels slow and still ouchy.


LESLEY:  My first time kneeling down– it was like, oh gosh!  I can’t even do that.  I was holding Chana as I was trying to straighten up and just be on my knee. It still feels numb and stuff, but it is a lot better like you said.  



BREAKTHROUGH:  The last thing I want to ask you is what is your why?  Like you said, sometimes we wake up and we don’t always want to do it.  Especially when you are in pain, and you are dealing with recovering from a surgery. So, what is the “why” that motivates you?


LESLEY:  I think because I know that in 10 – 20 years I still want to be able to try to at least walk correctly, move correctly.  I don’t want to lose what muscles I have.  I know I don’t lose them, but you lose the strength in them and the capability to do things.




LESLEY:  My why is to be healthy for my body.  Just trying to keep moving forward, even thought I love sitting around and I love watching movies! Haha! I would say my why is just being healthy and trying to be happy.  Exercise is definitely a part of that.  I really hope with my knee I can get back to roller-skating again…


BREAKTHROUGH:  Oh! Wow – that would be fun!


LESLEY:  Of course, I am not doing stunt work anymore because my spine … an injury could really happen with that.  Being retired makes it a little bit easier to maybe continue in focusing more on me; to concentrate on my health more than I think I did.  Because I didn’t really care back when I was doing stunts.  I just didn’t eat anything, trying to be thin and skinny to double for the woman I stunt-doubled for.  That’s the unhealthy part of it. Even though I was working and training, I was thinking I needed to be “this.”  I just thought this is the way you lose weight.  I know that is not right. You need your body; you need fuel; you need food to keep the muscles going. My next 50 years is a totally different situation for me.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Yes, you get to take care of yourself!


LESLEY:  Yeah! More or less on track!  I am trying!  Haha!


BREAKTHROUGH:  Well, that’s good! Anything else you want to share?  Any other things we didn’t cover?


LESLEY:  You guys are my… to me sometimes better than PT.  I know you guys aren’t physical therapists…


BREAKTHROUGH:  We are not.


LESLEY:  But still you have that mentality of a physical therapist of pushing us in the right direction, of what is good and what is not. You do the homework of which muscles are what.  What is making that hurt? What is connected to this? You guys are just very knowledgeable in what you are doing and performing here in training all of these people.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Well, thank you!


LESLEY:  And that is what you need.  I don’t think I know how many people belong here, but I think there are quite a few!


BREAKTHROUGH:  About 100 members.  And we are looking to grow.  We would love to expand and keep reaching more people!


LESLEY:  And you are helping each person move forward! I love it here, like I said.  I would be in bed if I didn’t have a place to come to.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Well, we are happy to get you up out of bed and into action!


LESLEY:  I love all you guys.  You guys are amazing! You help on personal levels and emotional levels as well because I have been going through a lot of different stuff.  I come in here and you always know what to say.


BREAKTHROUGH:  Oh gosh!  We will close on that before any one starts crying..

Thank you, Lesley!  This is great stuff!




This website or its third-party tools process personal data.
You may opt out by using the link Opt Out