Breakthrough Spotlight – Jeanette Benlatreche
Our Breakthrough Spotlight for August is Jeanette Benlatreche! Jeanette truly lives strength of mind, body, character and spirit, and we just love the positive energy she brings to her training!
BREAKTHROUGH: Thank you, Jeanette, for being our Spotlight member for August! We feel really blessed that we have people from a lot of different backgrounds and a lot of different ages. You are one of our younger people here at the gym, so I’d love to get your perspective on how you were feeling before you started training here at Breakthrough?Tell us how you were feeling and what brought you in?
JEANETTE: Well, I had never had prior training with weight lifting or anything to do with weighted anything. And I actually hadn’t been on a regular exercise routine since moving over to this area. I was doing some training in San Diego before moving here that had to do with either using my own body weight or, you know, cardio type stuff. So I decided to look into places that were close to me that I could maybe just learn a little bit about strength training. And I found you guys! I was just drawn to you guys just because everything is very personal and positive. And I love it! I’m feeling really strong.
JEANETTE: And really motivated to do other things. And, you know, when you build strength, it helps in so many different areas in your life. I didn’t really think about that at first, but I will be doing things around the house and things will be so much easier. It is so great in every way.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yeah, we love hearing that! I always I tell people I train not because of the awesome stuff I can do in the gym, but because I really enjoy seeing how my life outside the gym is better. How I can do things that I want to do. I think that makes a huge difference in not just physical strength, but mental well-being too.
JEANETTE: Yes, body and mind! Things like pull ups and push-ups for me personally, it’s a little bit of a challenge. But I like little challenges because it helps my mind, too. It’s almost like a weird form of meditation. I do silent meditation sessions at home. It’s just really yummy to connect the mind and body, and I am really enjoying getting started with my strength journey.
BREAKTHROUGH: That’s so great! One of the reasons I wanted to chat with you in particular is that lots of ladies your age stay away from strength training. Certainly, when I was in my early twenties, I thought if I lifted weights, I was going to get bulky like a guy. I thought I don’t really want to do that.. It’s not going to give me the results that I want… It is not going to make me feel good about myself… Of course I was so wrong! But, I am excited to hear why you felt that strength training was something you wanted to do.
JEANETTE: Well, it is interesting, exactly like what you just said. I did not think that working with weights would give me the results that I wanted. I feel like, I don’t know if I am wrong on this, but I feel like, it’s relatively a new thing for strength training to be the norm for young women, especially.
BREAKTHROUGH: Ladies are slowly starting to get better information about this, but yes, I would agree it’s relatively new.
JEANETTE: I think in the ‘80s and ‘90s you’ve seen these women who are competing in bodybuilding, and they are super bulky. And there is nothing wrong with that. But I feel like, because of our society, some girls get freaked out about that. I have a just few young friends who are actually getting into being trainers. I’ve seen the results, and the change of mindset. They are trying to show people that, “Hey, this is not the typical… You can really adjust what you want when it comes to training.”
BREAKTHROUGH: Sure, there are lots of different ways to approach training depending on the results you are after.
JEANETTE: For me, I wanted to learn about strength because at this point in my life, I just want to be strong. And I know if I keep getting at it, it will get me the results I am looking for.
BREAKTHROUGH: What are some of your motivations for being strong? At Breakthrough we call this your “why”. Especially being someone who meditates,you seem like you are really connecting the things you are doing physically to other things in your life. Can you share some of your whys?
JEANETTE: So I have a very big obvious one that comes up in my mind. The very first thing is that I am a mom. I have a four-year-old.
BREAKTHROUGH: Of course!
JEANETTE: Whether you have a four-year-old boy or four-year-old girl, they are… everywhere! Always running fast. Always “on” all the time. Always ready to rock and roll! So, actually there was a time when my son was one and a half years old. We were living in San Diego, and we were at the San Diego Zoo. I remember walking around and he is running up this hill. It was fall, so it wasn’t that hot, and I was like just dying trying to keep up! It was ridiculous. I saw other parents glide up there- like- no problem. And that was my moment. Then I was only 21. Some people, it takes a while they before they realize, “What was this feeling that I am feeling?” And then they do something about it. But that was my one moment.
BREAKTHROUGH: You had an “A-ha” moment.
JEANETTE: Yeah. I need to be able to very easily keep up with my child and future children. That is very important to me because I don’t want to be the parent who just stands around while the kids are all running around. I want to be able to run around as well.
JEANETTE: So, I started by biking, and doing a little bit of training at my gym in San Diego. And then, I wasn’t exercising on a daily basis for just like a year when I first moved here. And BAM! My strength was very low, and I felt weak again. That is pretty much around the time when I came in here. But that’s my lingering “aha” moment. That is my biggest why. I am sure there are others in my mind. But if it is just that reason, it helps everything else I want to do or be.
BREAKTHROUGH: I love that you see the connection between feeling physically strong and how it helps you feel mentally strong. I know when I enrich my life by some physical practice, I feel mentally stronger, and emotionally stronger. It has the power to change lives. So I am excited when you say, yeah, pushups and pull ups to me, that is a form of meditation. You have to be mentally ready to challenge yourself with something that is hard for you. Get in the frame of mind, like “Hey, I can do this! I am going to approach this with positivity and see what I can learn here.” So it is really exciting to me that you are having that experience because it’s really what we want all of our members to have.
JEANETTE: Yeah, I’ve realized that the mind, body and soul, although they are separate, one can help the other. I am not going to come in here and work on my muscles, balance and flexibility and then turn my mind off.
BREAKTHROUGH: No way!
JEANETTE: So I use the connection between the mind and body. Just for the past few years the word “strength” has been something that has been very prominent in my life. Because, in high school, I was never really an athlete; I was the actor kid. I feel like, especially, in this day and age, when you are young, it’s like “strong? I don’t care about being strong.”
BREAKTHROUGH: I feel like this is especially true for ladies, unfortunately! When I was younger, I didn’t care nearly as much as I do now.
JEANETTE: But now it does matter to me. So I will just keep on keeping on…
BREAKTHROUGH: I love it! I have definitely seen you get so much stronger over the past several months since you’ve been here, and you bring such a positive attitude to how you take on each new challenge. I don’t know you outside the gym, but I can’t help but know that the strength and positivity you bring into your training is going to carry forward into life. So, it is exciting to see.
JEANETTE: Yeah! It is really exciting. It is nice to be able to create that energy and then to be able to use it. It’s just like an amazing little super power!
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes! Well, thank you for sharing your super power with us and sharing part of your journey!