Chana is our Spotlight Member for October and we are so happy to share our interview with her! Chana embodies being strong in mind, body and spirit, and is one of the most supportive and encouraging training partners you could be lucky enough to have! She’s about to compete in our first ever Breakthrough Strength Challenge and we can’t wait to see her set some new PRs!
BREAKTHROUGH: Thank you, Chana, for being our Spotlight Member for October. I wanted to chat with you because you’ve gone through a couple pretty cool shifts in terms of your training and your mindset around training over this past – gosh it’s been about a year you’ve been training with us…
CHANA: Yes, I first came with Rachel as a guest a year ago in August, and I think I joined shortly after…
BREAKTHROUGH: And when you started with us, you had been training in a different style. You were working with another trainer on figure competitions, and initially wanted to do some kettlebell work to supplement that. So obviously you came to us already very committed to your fitness. I wonder, how did that start for you?
CHANA: I would say, I think I kind of worked out on and off after I had my three boys. But nothing major. And then when Jonathan and I moved to the Valley with the boys back in 1998, my friend got me into Tae Bo. And that is what kind of started it.
CHANA: We had a treadmill at home and I would do that. But when my oldest was going into high school and he played baseball, he got a trainer. I remember looking at him and saying, “Jimmy, why don’t you start training me?” That was the beginning. That was it.
BREAKTHROUGH: And then you were hooked.
CHANA: Yeah, I haven’t looked back. I haven’t stopped. I love to train! In fact, Fridays are hard for me because those are my days off and I don’t workout. And it is like ugh!
BREAKTHROUGH: But that is your recovery day!!
CHANA: Yes, and I know I need it… I know I need it, but is so hard.
BREAKTHROUGH: I know. Especially when you exercise as a form of stress relief it can be hard to take a day off. And this is actually one of those shifts you have gone through in the past year – getting better about seeing purposeful recovery as part of the training process. Taking the time to work on rolling out, mobility practice, breathing practice, meditation… You can still be doing stuff related to your training on your rest days. I know you have gotten so much better at that stuff. I remember that we have had conversations about that. Like – OK, this is part of it. This is how we prioritize recovery. And actual rebuilding of muscles, rebuilding of energy systems. So it’s been really great to see you embrace that!
CHANA: No, it’s true. I do my rollouts at home regularly. Even before I come here, I do my own RAMP at home before I come in and do the real RAMP. Ha, ha!
BREAKTHROUGH: Awesome! The more you can be in tune with your body, the better. One of the things we always like to hear from people is what your deeper motivation? What is your Why?
CHANA: My why. Well, I have to say my why was, recently, to do continue doing bikini competitions. I was going to do one October-ish. I reached out to my old trainer, who had trained me for past competitions. “Will you prep me? I want to do at least one more.” She said she was too busy and kind of wanted to step away from that. So, she is not going to do it. I was like, ok, do I really want to go find somebody else? And we worked so well together. Then I really thought about it and thought – You know what, my head is so good right now with my eating and everything that I think that now my why will just be to enjoy who I am and enjoy the body that I have worked for. And, so I decided to focus on doing a photo shoot! Ha, ha!
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes – and you just did one and you look fantastic!!
CHANA: Thank you! And I love to do my Breakthrough challenges. Those are going to be my whys from now on. Those challenges.
BREAKTHROUGH: I know for me and many others, focusing only on how you look can be kind of a negative thing, and it starts to become boring. So, when I have a challenge like the Tactical Strength Challenge or like our new Breakthrough Strength Challenge, I like that I can focus on what I’m trying to get my body to accomplish. Yes, as a sort of happy byproduct, I’ll probably find myself leaning out a little bit or adding muscle in areas that I want to. But if I am only focused on that, I lose interest and inspiration. So I feel like it is good that you have that balance that you are feeling now where you say, “Okay, what am I physically capable of doing, rather than just what do I look like?”
CHANA: Right. Well, you know I noticed, I did three competitions. And after each competition, my food was just terrible. And my trainer warned me, she said, “it will mess with you.” And oh my God, it messed with me!
BREAKTHROUGH: Of course!
CHANA: But I think she did me a favor because she said no she couldn’t do it. I thought okay, let’s just focus on other stuff. You know, just getting stronger, getting leaner but not for anything in particular.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, it’s just a particular challenge, when you are doing things like that. To figure out how, like an Olympic athlete or someone who practices for a powerlifting competition. Your body isn’t going to be in that competition shape all the time, so it can be really hard to find the normal middle ground or…
CHANA: Or why can’t I look like this?
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, why can’t I look like this all the time?
CHANA: Because it’s not….
BREAKTHROUGH: Not very healthy long term!
CHANA: No, it’s not!
BREAKTHROUGH: Getting down to single digit body fat and that sort of stuff is not the way most of us can sustain a normal life twelve months out of the year. I think you’ve found now the balance where it is like, “I can look a certain way and look my best and eat normally without really having to deprive myself and be able to train for strength.” There is a way to do it “all”. It’s just that you can’t really take any one thing to the extreme which you might have to do for bigger contests. It seems to me that it was a little blessing in disguise, as you said.
CHANA: Yes. It was because like now, “Okay. My food is good. My workouts are awesome. Okay!”
BREAKTHROUGH: Yeah! And now it should be fun in a way that is not stressful, like preparing for a competition or something.
CHANA: It does. It does get stressful for a competition – for three to four months you are eating your tilapia and asparagus. Ha,ha!
BREAKTHROUGH: Ha ha! There is only so long a person can do that for sure!
CHANA: So, this way it is fun, and I am thankful. I am thankful.
BREAKTHROUGH: Well, we are sure thankful for you, and it’s been wonderful to be a part of this journey and to see you making these shifts. And you are such a great example of – it’s hard – it’s hard to do, but you have to find a balance of keeping yourself healthy, keeping yourself looking great, keeping yourself challenged by doing things that are inspiring to you. And that is one of the big reasons why I thought, “I want to share some of Chana’s story.”
CHANA: Thank you. I am honored. And I would just love to pay it forward. I mean, I wasn’t born this way. I was always the chubby one. I know what it is like to be the fat kid…
BREAKTHROUGH: You want to share and help other people…
CHANA: Sure! Jonathan once told me, “Chana, you would be such an inspiration to other women who are close to your age to see that, Okay, it is possible.”
BREAKTHROUGH: Sharing your story is a way of paying it forward and helping to inspire other people. We definitely appreciate that!
CHANA: Thank you! Now it’s time to work out!