Our Breakthrough Spotlight for February is Lara! In her interview she talks about the importance of self-care when you take care of others, as well as the power of curiosity in getting results!
BREAKTHROUGH: Thank you for sitting and chatting, Lara. I appreciate it.
LARA: You’re welcome. I love doing this kind of stuff!
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh good! So, the first question I want to ask is what brought you here in the first place? What was going on in your life that led you to Breakthrough?
LARA: After Covid, actually, during Covid, I was pretty much on the couch all the time. Not because I didn’t want to be active – but for whatever reason, I think at the beginning of Covid I was like in fear, and not knowing what was going on. So, I was just kind of laying low. But then I thought, ok I can walk, right? That’s safe. So, I started walking. I loved that it was therapeutic, but then my foot was hurting. The bottom of my foot was on fire; the side of my foot – just all this foot stuff started happening. So, I went to the doctor, and they wanted to give me steroids and I was just like, I don’t like to go straight to that kind of thing. Then, I was going to physical therapy for a long time. But for whatever reason, it just wasn’t healing. So, I stopped walking and then my back started hurting because I was on the couch so much. I just had a lot of body pain.
BREAKTHROUGH: Sure. A lot of people can relate to that.
LARA: After Covid was sort of done, I was more active and going to work and getting healthier all around, mentally and everything. I thought, I can start some kind of workout slowly. I thought I would try Orange Theory because my friend was going to go too, so I thought it would be fun. I thought I would go slowly and do the best I can. I went there for a little while. I didn’t like it because it wasn’t tailored for me. You have to be an athletically motivated or inclined kind of person to feel successful there. Otherwise, I feel like you get ignored. That’s what I felt. And then there you are publicizing your heart rate… it was just like a weird insecurity came on me. I thought, this shouldn’t feel like this when I am working out.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, it is supposed to make you feel good.
LARA: Yes, it is supposed to make me feel good. And I couldn’t do the treadmill because of my back problem. I couldn’t do the exercises on the rower. I just always felt like I wasn’t doing good and that bothered me. I didn’t enjoy it, so I stopped doing that. I just couldn’t find something that worked. I was trying to find something new. I live right around the corner and I never really- I think I had seen this place but I didn’t really know what it was until I was just more intentional in looking. I have my faith, so I literally just prayed, “God, I need something for my body to feel good and it has to work for me.” I have been here a million times. I am at the Target all the time and suddenly Breakthrough just kind of got highlighted. And I was like, “what is this place?” and then I contacted you. That is how I ended up here and I love it.
BREAKTHROUGH: Wow! We were an answer to a prayer!
LARA: Yes! You really were! Honestly!
BREAKTHROUGH: I love that! I feel that life is often like that. You can be near something a gazillion times, but if you aren’t looking for it, if your eyes aren’t open to something, then you don’t see it. Until all of a sudden, it’s like, “oh this was there all the time?” That’s amazing! So, yes, you’ve been here four or five months?
LARA: I think I started in October, maybe. Beginning of October.
BREAKTHROUGH: Now that it’s been several months, tell me how you are feeling.
LARA: I am feeling great! I feel strong. I feel capable. I don’t feel disqualified from exercises because of injuries, or being in a group sort of setting. Training here, it just feels like you could still be in a group setting and feel like you are getting personal attention, but you are working out with other people. So, I like that part of it a lot. I personally feel strong. I feel motivated. I want to come. I never say that I don’t feel like going, or make excuses.
BREAKTHROUGH: That’s great! That’s good news.
LARA: So, I don’t ever feel like that unless I am not feeling well or something. I think also because I feel like I can do the exercises, it feels good to be able to do them!
BREAKTHROUGH: Well, I remember in the first month or so, we were being very cautious of things that just didn’t feel comfortable, like painful knees and back. We were going slowly to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. And then over the past several weeks I noticed you are doing deeper squats and moving in a way that is not the way you were moving when I first met you. So, I asked you last week, do you notice the difference? Do you feel like there is less pain in your knees and back? And hearing you confirm that is just so great! I see the athlete that was always there, that just needed us to be a little bit patient. You’ve been so consistent. One of things that I love about you is that you ask really good questions. I love that because…
LARA: … That’s funny! I have an investigative spirit but it is because I need it to click in my head so I can apply it. So that is why I ask so many questions. It also part of my job, I guess. That is how I get to know people myself. So, questions are really important to me. I don’t know, it is just who I am.
BREAKTHROUGH: From a training standpoint, it helps me to learn about you better, too. Some people are not question-askers and I have to probe a little bit to figure stuff out. But I think that the fact that you are curious has helped you progress faster because you are asking the kind of questions that give us insight into how you learn, and how things are feeling for you. I think curiosity and inquisitiveness are a benefit to you, certainly in training.
LARA: I hope so! But I also see that in you guys. Whoever I train with, you will directly ask me how are you feeling? How is your back? How was yesterday’s workout? So, Breakthrough is a match to me because all of you are watching and learning. I can see that you guys are talking to each other about my program and what I am doing and what I lifted and whatever it is. It feels like I am getting what I need, which is why I came here – to get stronger.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yay!!! Exactly!
LARA: Or even like last week, I told Caleb I didn’t know if I can do the single arm swing that was on my program because the night before I thought I hurt my back. He said, Ok, let’s see if you might just need to stretch out. So, he guided me through these stretchy things, and it was that! I was able to do the rest of the program.
BREAKTHROUGH: You were feeling tight…
LARA: Yeah, it was that. But I didn’t know. I just thought that I can’t do this exercise because I am in pain. I associate pain with the inability to do something. Whereas, I am getting coached that there could be other things going on might require a stretch or a different way, so I am constantly learning that I can do things. Not I can’t! That’s what I really like.
BREAKTHROUGH: I love that! One of the questions that I always ask in these interviews is, what is your why? What is the reason that motivates you to keep coming and taking care of yourself?
LARA: The type of person I am outside of here is, I am kind of like everyone’s counselor, so to speak, right? So, because I ask very sharp and pointed questions, people come to me a lot because I can, boom, get to the problem. Like, this is what I think you should do. I have a lot of people on my plate.
BREAKTHROUGH: And that would be work related and probably in your personal life?
LARA: Work I can compartmentalize. This is what I do from this hour to this hour and then I can leave. But then on the weekends and on my personal time, I have a lot of people that I carry in that way. Not in an unhealthy way, but I need to be sharp. And I love that. I love it. That’s who I am. People rely on my energy. But when I feel like there’s an imbalance, I have noticed that when I am not in a regular physical, mental, spiritual, healthy self-care mode, I am not well and my light is out. So, it impacts a lot of people and mostly myself. I don’t like feeling like that. I like to feel the best that I can feel, especially after I hit 45 maybe, lots of change has happened. And then with Covid it was like, I have got to figure out a fitness situation works for me. I have to feel good about who I am, at the phase of life that I am at.
BREAKTHROUGH: You need something a little more targeted that’s for you.
LARA: Exactly, and I am enjoying it and it feels good. Especially with you, I just feel like you really understand when I ask you something or when I need something. I receive it. I don’t need to ask it a different way or spend more time going back and forth. I can get to where I need to get quicker. I appreciate that.
BREAKTHROUGH: This makes a lot of sense to me, and this is something that I am so glad that you are doing because a lot of people who are givers, the ones who people turn to, the helpers… if you don’t put on your own oxygen mask first, if you don’t take of yourself, then you can’t give what you want to give. I think the way you said it a second ago is that is who you want to be; it’s who you are; that is what you are called to do. It’s not an imposition on you, but it does require that you look after yourself too. You can’t do it if you’re not as strong and healthy as you can be.
BREAKTHROUGH: That is a really strong and powerful thing. It is amazing that you are doing that for yourself. I appreciate you sharing all this.
LARA: Of course! Thank you for everything you guys do. You guys make such a big difference. You make everyone feel good. That’s what I really like. It is not about how your body looks; it’s about how you feel. You guys always use the word strong.
BREAKTHROUGH: That is one of our key words.
LARA: Yeah, I noticed!
BREAKTHROUGH: I mean, a lot of people want to make changes to how they look, but if you feel good then other changes are easier, and they will start to happen faster.
LARA: Yeah! I am excited to see where we can go!
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh, the sky is the limit! Thank you, Lara!