Breakthrough Spotlight – Richard Lander

Breakthrough Spotlight – Richard Lander

Our Spotlight member for October is Richard Lander!  We sat down with Richard after he recently completed a triathlon to hear about the event, and of course to hear his “why”. Richard is a great example of how a positive mindset is a huge key to success!

BREAKTHROUGH: So, Richard I wanted to start by chatting a little bit about your recent success with your triathlon.  When you came to us a couple of months ago, your training goals were mainly related to that…

RICHARD: Yes, I was scheduled to compete at Malibu on September 15, and my running coach said, “Well, you’ve got to get some strength training.”  Rather than make it up as I went along, I decided that it would be good to get some guidance.  I have friends who had been coming to you years past.  Phil Palmer. And so he had been recommending you. And it had been kind of in the back of my mind that I’d like to come over… and I am glad I did.

BREAKTHROUGH: Me too! So, when you came in, I know you mentioned you thought you had a chance to win your age class; you had some specific goals you wanted to improve on from your last triathlon.

RICHARD: Yeah, I think it is always dangerous to try to measure your performance in a triathlon based on other people.  There could have been somebody who was just unbelievably good showing up in my age group, and it wouldn’t have been a failure if I didn’t win.  On the other hand, I wanted to do my best and I was hoping to improve on my prior year.  Which didn’t happen, but a lot of that had to do with conditions at the race.  It is always a little bit unpredictable. I had been doing a lot of running training.  I felt like my run was stronger. I may have been shorting my biking and swimming. And so, while it didn’t work out that I did better, I did end up winning in my age group which was gratifying!

BREAKTHROUGH: What effects do you think strength training had on the triathlon?  How do you think that factored in for you?


RICHARD: I think the strength training has to be a supplement or compliment to the actual technique training or specific discipline training for a triathlon. It is good to do strength training for your quads and hips, hamstrings and legs and whatever.  But if you don’t actually go out there and bike for a while, you aren’t going to feel a big difference.  Same thing with swimming. What I noticed is that I felt better at the end because of the improvement in my running.  You know if you go into the run at the end, it is the last of the triathlon. It goes swim, bike, run. If you go into the run and you don’t have enough strength to complete it, you just end the day feeling – not that happy!  Whereas, this year even though it wasn’t faster, I felt like I was picking up speed at the end.  It was good!

BREAKTHROUGH: That’s great!

RICHARD: The main problem is I ran into a lot of trouble with the swim.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, it was really choppy water that day.

RICHARD: Yeah, there were 6-8-foot waves!  It is hard to practice for that!


RICHARD: I am trying to get over that so that next year I can deal with it.  It was ironic because I went out Sunday to Malibu, and the waves were literally less than 2 feet high. So, you just never know what’s going to be out there and if it had been two feet waves, my time would have been much better for the whole race.

BREAKTHROUGH: Definitely. There are going to be factors completely beyond your control.  But it is really good to feel that you ended stronger than last time even if your time wasn’t necessarily better.  Hopefully, you feel that in the recovery.  You are already back in the gym. You didn’t miss a beat! You weren’t out for any time at all.

RICHARD: Yeah, I didn’t get injured really.  It was fine. It’s kind of like studying for a test in school. You always feel like you could have done more.

BREAKTHROUGH: Of course. So, the other thing that we like to hear from people is about your “why.”  What is your deeper reason for why you train and compete?  It is not easy to prioritize doing these things with our busy lives. But you are dedicating a lot of time to do this. So, what motivates you to do that?

RICHARD: Well, as you know, I work in the health field.  I am a doctor.  And I think there are a couple of factors beyond just personally wanting to feel as healthy as I can. And as in shape as I can. I feel that I want to set a good example for my patients. I have people coming in who are literally old enough to be my children who are complaining about how they are getting old and how it sucks getting old. I just think, “Come on, you can do this.  You just have to get your foot in the door and start some kind of exercise.”   Find something that appeals to you so that you are more likely to stick with it.

BREAKTHROUGH: Right, that’s great advice!

RICHARD: So, I think it is a combination, to answer your question, of personal goals and professional goals.  It’s kind of selfish too. I mean, it is fun to stand up on the podium and to be recognized for your efforts.  I did triathlons years ago and I was always very middle of the pack. There would be 80 guys in my age group and I would be 46 or something.   And now that there are 2-3 guys in my age group, just by attrition, it feels like beyond competing against the other people in the age group, one is also competing against one’s age.  And so, a lot of people my age can’t do what I am doing.  I’ve kind of beat my age in that sense.

BREAKTHROUGH: I totally get that. We see people that compete in powerlifting, for example.  That is one that a lot of our members will do, and they will go and they’ll be the only person in their age group.  And people will say, well you were the only one, so, of course, you win the gold medal.  I say, yeah, but you don’t understand. They deserve it because so few people in their 60’s or70’s are doing powerlifting meets at all! It is really hard to, as you say, beat your age.  I like that!  That is an interesting way to think of it.  Like you said about your patients, they are not really old but they are acting like they are, and that’s a choice a lot of the time.


RICHARD: They start to feel old, just by virtue of that fact.  But if you push yourself and think about your posture and think about your weight, it makes a big difference in how you function as you get older.  And there is really no need to throw in the towel just because you are on Medicare.

BREAKTHROUGH: Right. Exactly. There is plenty of stuff that you can do. It is like you said, whatever you feel drawn to that’s the step to go towards because you will stick with it.

RICHARD: Sure, that is what I always tell my patients.

BREAKTHROUGH: That makes perfect sense. Anything else you want to share?

RICHARD: I just want to thank you and Caleb for your help and for creating such a positive, creative atmosphere with your gym here at Breakthrough Strength and Fitness. I always tell people, you know, you want to experience some positive motivation.  You guys are very good examples of that.

BREAKTHROUGH: Awesome. Thank you!

RICHARD:  It is interesting because I certainly pick up on that now.  I will be seeing a patient and I will think, how would Caleb handle this? Seriously, you know Caleb, he is always like, go, go!  Someone can be struggling or having an off day and he is always positive with them.  So, I have kind of tried to incorporate that into the way I work.  And creativity is the other thing I have noticed with you folks. I can’t believe how many exercises you come up with.  There is always something new.  Having my workout pre-programed in a way that it is creatively structured to meet my needs is really helpful for me.  I really appreciate it.

BREAKTHROUGH: I am so glad that you feel the positive atmosphere!  And I like that you see some creativity too, because we definitely come from a creative background. I really feel that sometimes people in our field don’t feel like they can be that creative.

RICHARD: That is true. I’ve had trainers who you knew were just phoning it in, counting reps… three more, two more, one more.  Well I can count, excuse me.  I don’t need somebody to count reps for me.

BREAKTHROUGH: Haha! Yeah, we’d rather come up with creative ways to inspire.  And like you said, positivity goes a long way.  Mindset goes a long way.

RICHARD: It makes a big difference.  It is energizing.

BREAKTHROUGH: Thanks so much Richard!  I’m really excited to share your success and your story with everyone!

RICHARD: Thank you!


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