Breakthrough Spotlight – Linda Holbrook

Our Breakthrough Spotlight for October is Linda Holbrook! Linda shares about how strength training has helped her combat arthritis and keep up with her grandkids, and how having great training partners can help you have more fun and stay accountable with your workouts!

BREAKTHROUGH: It is really great to be able to chat with you, Linda. We love to have this opportunity for our members to share a bit about themselves. Can you tell me a little about how you were feeling right before you joined us?

LINDA: Well, I had a trainer for a long time, but he had gone into school for his RN. So, with COVID and with him being so busy, I was just not actually doing any workouts, and my body was used to doing a workout. Even though I walked my dog a lot- like three times a day- ha, ha!


LINDA: That is not the same as lifting weights or moving in different directions and stuff like that. And my arthritis was really making itself known. When I first started working out, I was told that I had severe neck arthritis. I was 55 or so. And it made a huge difference to be moving my body around. When I went into to see my doctor for my physical – I don’t know if I told you this originally – she was amazed at my mobility and the fact that it wasn’t hurting me like it had been before. I told her, well I have been working out and lifting weights and doing strength stuff. The next time I saw her, she said I started exercising because of you! Ha, ha!

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes! That is awesome!

LINDA: She said, I have seen your x-rays. I know what your arthritis is like and because you are doing this, it has made a big difference. That made me feel really good!

BREAKTHROUGH: That is so great!


LINDA: Yeah. I have felt better since I have joined Breakthrough and I have felt the way you guys set it up, I don’t feel like I really worked that hard, you know?

BREAKTHROUGH: You feel like you still have energy left after your training?

LINDA: Right. But I just always felt like I had to work really hard to get the benefit, but it seems like I am getting the benefit and not quite pushing myself as hard as I used to.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, our approach can be a little bit different. We want you guys to feel like your training should support you being able to do all the things you want to do in life.

LINDA: Right.

BREAKTHROUGH: Maybe a couple of times a year you might really push your limits in a challenge or competition or something, but most training sessions should leave you feeling like, okay I could go and do whatever I need to do for the rest of my day. I could train again tomorrow or take a hike tomorrow or take a nice long walk with my dog the next day and not feel – you might feel your muscles a little bit – but you shouldn’t feel destroyed.

LINDA: No, no! You have never had me feeling that way.

BREAKTHROUGH: That’s good! And it is always so thrilling to see, that even though it seems like we are not really going crazy with the weights, you have been able to progress to some really impressive loads. When I have been working with you, you have been swinging 18 kilos and deadlifting double 18s. That is pretty exciting! To be able to see someone do that sort of thing and still know that you feel like that was not such a big deal.

LINDA: No! Ha, ha! And I enjoy feeling like I have energy and I can do things. You know, I don’t like feeling like, “I am 72, so I can’t do that.“

BREAKTHROUGH: Yeah! Oh my gosh! We want you guys to feel like you can do things you want to do in life, and your training should support that.

LINDA: Right.

BREAKTHROUGH: Now, I know that it was a little bit of time that you ended up taking time off because of COVID and losing your trainer…

LINDA: It was over a year – close to a year and a half. That is a long time, and it just feels good to be doing stuff again.

BREAKTHROUGH: So, what are some of the things that you are experiencing now that you are back in the swing of things?

LINDA: Well, I can trot along after my grandchildren who have gotten to the point where they are riding a two-wheeled bicycle. One is still on training wheels. I used to be able to walk along side of them, but now that they have gotten a lot faster, I have to trot alongside them!

BOTH: Ha, Ha!

BREAKTHROUGH: Yeah! That is going to keep happening! They will keep getting faster! I’m sure your grandkids are a big part of your “why”. Do you have any other deeper reasons for why you do all this strong stuff?

LINDA: Well, I just want to live a full life. I want to be able to hike and do things like that for as long as I can. Yes, I can definitely play with my grandchildren, which is what I want to be able to do.

BREAKTHROUGH: I feel like all of our members who are grandparents, that is always a big one for them… Being able to keep up and experience as much of that energy as you can.

LINDA: Right. Playing with them at the beach and all that stuff.

BREAKTHOUGH: Absolutely! I thought it was so cute what you told me the other day about one of them calling you the world’s strongest grandma!


BOTH: Ha, ha!

BREAKTHROUGH: It’s so nice they think of you that way!

LINDA: Yes. I was always the reader, the scientist, the artist, but not physical. My youngest sister made varsity on all the teams and was actually riding a two-wheeler without training wheels by the time she was two!


LINDA: She was very, very physically fit. But she no longer is, and now I have become more of an athlete and she is going, “Oh my God! You walked up and down Platt hill! How could you do that?” I do that every day! Ha, ha!

BREAKTHROUGH: It is part of your regular life.

LINDA: Yeah!

BREAKTHROUGH: I think a lot of people will discover when their life shifts in a certain direction that sometimes there has been an athlete in there the whole time. We just haven’t had a chance to develop that side of us yet. But you obviously found it and it is such a pleasure to see you in action. It really is!

LINDA: Yeah, well! I was always the uncoordinated one. Ha, ha!

BREAKTHROUGH: Well, you could have fooled me! I don’t know, Linda. I watch you move in the gym and I don’t see anyone uncoordinated.

LINDA: Yeah, well, I have done that by little steps.

BREAKTHROUGH: That is how it goes, though. One baby step at a time. One baby step. Is there anything else that you want to share that we didn’t cover?

LINDA: Well, as a retired microbiologist, I have been very impressed with the gym’s response to the pandemic. The vaccinated membership and the separation into zones have made me very comfortable. And it is nice to be working out with other people, too! When I did work with my previous trainer, we were private. There was a group ahead of me and a group behind me, so I did interact with them. But this is nice to be working out at the same time with other people.

BREAKTHROUGH: Good! Awesome! I am glad to hear that. Before we opened Breakthrough we offered private lessons. At some point we started creating, sort of just by accident, these small groups of people that had some similar things that they wanted to work on. People wanted that interaction. We started to notice that there were so many positive benefits from people training together, even if they were working on different things in their programs. There is something really nice with being able to share that time with someone else. Even people like me… I am an introvert. I like to have my focus on what I am doing, but I do still feel like I have more energy and I get more out of my training session when there are other people in the room who are also working with me.

LINDA: Right! Right!

BREAKTHROUGH: I am so glad to know that you have experienced some of the benefits of having your own program and sharing that time with other people. That is really cool!

LINDA: I have enjoyed it! Unfortunately, I am not completely self-motivated – I could have done stuff over the pandemic. I did a couple of videos, so I know how to work out. I could have worked out, but I sort of need somebody there expecting me at 7:00. Ha, ha!

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, we are! Ha, ha! You are not alone in that. That is very true for many of us.

LINDA: Also, I think having paid somebody. Then I say, “Okay! I’ve got to be there!”

BREAKTHROUGH: Oh, yeah! Absolutely! There is accountability. You have invested in yourself. You want to make good on that investment for sure. This is so great, and I really appreciate you sharing all of this! Thank you, Linda!

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