Breakthrough Spotlight – Rich and Lisa

Our Breakthrough Spotlight Members for December are Rich, AKA "Big Cat" and Lisa. They share about the fun and camaraderie of competing in strength challenges, the importance of making training a habit, and the mental health benefits of physical training!

BREAKTHROUGH: Thank you, Big Cat (Rich) and Lisa, for chatting with me! You both have been training at Breakthrough for a couple of years, but just this year started participating in our challenges. So, what made you feel like, “Hmmm, I want to see what stuff is about.” What made you want to do the Powerlifting meet and the TSC?

LISA: (to Rich) Do you want to start with the Powerlifting meet?


RICH: I felt like the Powerlifting meet was appealing to me because it wasn’t just more working out. It was finding out how much I could lift and getting that up. It was almost like a game; it felt more like a game and that made it more appealing.

BREAKTHROUGH: That’s cool!

RICH: I liked the idea. Usually my workout, like I am getting stronger, but it isn’t as obvious, and goal oriented as this was.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, there is nothing quite like having a date on a calendar where you are going to try to do something to see where you are at.

RICH: Yes, definitely, I definitely enjoyed the challenge of working on just a small number of lifts and seeing – that is my limit and I want to push on that. It was super invigorating!

BREAKTHROUGH: Yeah, like a laser focus in on just a few things.

RICH: Like I know what I am doing; I am showing up and I am going to try to do this thing a little better than the last time.


RICH: Yeah, I liked that a lot!

BREAKTHROUGH: Cool! And then what would you say, Lisa, was your inspiration for trying out the TSC this time around?

LISA: I think Mae convinced me. She explained to me that it, as Rich said, it is good to kind of take status of where you are on specific things and have that as a marker to kind of know about yourself or to try to beat it. I said, all right! Ok, I am going to try!

BREAKTHROUGH: And so now that you both have competed in something like that, what do you notice about that being a different kind of experience versus your regular training? Was there anything that stood out to you about the experience itself?

RICH: I like the camaraderie of the large evening class when everybody is together and there is a kind of packed house. And everybody is on the same page, doing the same stuff. It had a kind of good energy to it.

BREAKTHROUGH: It is a good energy. it is fun to have that team environment!

LISA: Well, I guess I will say what I didn’t realize before – I kind of knew it but I didn’t really internalize it -was how different people can be and be strong. So strong means something different to everybody. You can be older and be a super great deadlifter. You can be young and a good lifter, too – there are a lot of different ways to be strong. It means different things to different people. It was kind of neat so see because that group had a wide range.


RICH: Yeah, that is one of the things that is really impressive is how it feels like a cohesive thing even though there are a wide range of people. You’ve got Jackson who is like this giant in terms of what he can lift, and people that are AARP members, everybody is training together, and the fact that that works is impressive to me.

BREAKTHROUGH: It is to us, too. That is a big deal for us. We really always want people to feel like that. I love what you said, Lisa, that there are so many different ways to be strong and yet everyone was really doing that same basic stuff. So even within a kind of niche thing it still can appeal to a wide range of ages and ability levels and injury history and all that stuff! So, I think it is cool that you guys saw that and appreciate that aspect of it because that is huge to us, too. Ok, my final question of the day is what is your why? We always ask people this because I think it is a good thing to share what keeps you doing something like this. What is your motivation to keep you consistent with your training?

LISA: I think at this point we’ve just tried to make it a habit. So, we don’t have to think about it. We just do it!

RICH: It has evolved. Sometimes we drag our a**es out of bed to come here or just not feeling it, but we show up.

BREAKTHROUGH: Well, we all do that sometimes! On those mornings you have to drag yourself, what helps you get here?

LISA: Well, on my own I don’t like doing strength training, so I need a practice where it is forced on me. It’s good for me and I want to be strong, but I wasn’t going to get there on my own. I knew I needed a place where they focused on strength and weights and all that stuff. And it’s nice to do it with Rich… He actually likes it more.


RICH: Ha, ha! I do, I do! I feel that I didn’t expect this. I always avoided things that came off as “jock-y” and that was a real loss for me because I could have been doing this stuff as a younger man.


RICH: But the vibe here is so not that it became a non-issue, and then I realized that I really enjoy getting sweaty first thing in the morning. I feel good coming in. When I leave, I feel strong, and that feels really positive mentally.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes! Seeing what you are capable of.

RICH: It feels good, and it is mentally balancing. That’s part of the thing, at least for me.

LISA: Yeah!

RICH: As Lisa knows, if I work at it, I am very straight, but I can lose my cool so training has definitely helped me mentally – just kind of keeping my cool vibes.

BREAKTHROUGH: We like your cool vibes. Ha, ha!

RICH: Ha. Ha! I guess I get stressed out sometimes, so it’s good to work out and burn off some of that excess steam.

BREAKTHROUGH: I feel that, for sure!

RICH: For sure!

BREAKTHROUGH: A lot of us are in that same boat.

RICH: I guess it is kind of a human thing, right?


BREAKTHROUGH: It is! Well, I appreciate you guys sharing everything you shared.

LISA: Of course! No problem.

BREAKTHROUGH: And I look forward to sharing it with people in our newsletter.

RICH: Thank you for inviting us. It feels very special!

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