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Breakthrough Spotlight – Yury Orlov

Breakthrough Spotlight

Yury Orlov

Our Breakthrough Spotlight Member for January is Yury Orlov!  Yury shares about recovering from back pain, training for longevity, and how taking the time to prioritize your fitness is a huge stress-reliever.

BREAKTHROUGH: Thank you, Yury, for being our Spotlight member to kick off 2019.

YURY: Of course!

BREAKTHROUGH: So, you had a pretty awesome 2018 with us. You had a great performance at the Tactical Strength Challenge in the fall, and you completed the 100 Workout Challenge at the end of the year.  Now, I know when we first met you, you came to our Relax Your Back seminar… presumably because you were having some back stuff going on.  Tell us how you were feeling at that point.

YURY: My back issues have been relatively chronic. I’ve had them on and off since I was 17. And every year or so, sometimes several times a year, they would creep up.  More so when I started working out with a little more intensity.   Maybe 5 or 6 years ago, I started going to the gym, and then I started CrossFit. Especially when I started CrossFit, a lot of heavy barbell work with a lot of reps and at a very high tempo.  All added together, it was a recipe for disaster, especially when the technique is not exactly on point. Things go sideways on you. So, I had been struggling with that. Even when the back was OK, it was still always tense and tender. Like if I would do back squats or something relatively heavy, I would feel my back be kind of tender for a couple of days, or a week. Recovery times were longer. So, it has been an ongoing problem.  But since I have started here, it’s been much, much better.

BREAKTHROUGH: That’s good!

YURY:  Knock on wood, – I don’t want to jinx it!

BREAKTHROUGH: No, of course!

YURY:  It has been awesome!  Even with the TSC and heavy dead lifts, lifting several times a week, and then with the event itself – No problems.


BREAKTHROUGH: That’s great.  That is really good to hear.

YURY:  No problems at all. So, I think that the adaptations that happen here are helping me heal and stay healthy.

BREAKTHROUGH: Fantastic! Well, that’s good news!  Our first job is always that we want to do no harm. And then we can layer on the strength, but we have to make sure you are not injured and in pain first.  So, was the back pain a turning point for you that you felt you needed to do something different with your training?

YURY: Exactly. Yes, I wanted to go to the gym more.  I was only able to make it in once or twice a week at best, mainly because the recovery times were so long.  It is just a different workout.  The intensity is just crazy.  And I am no spring chicken!  The next day I was out for the count for sure.  The following day was even worse because all the muscle soreness would set in. Like doing stairs or even sitting up and down was painful, so going to the gym and doing squats or something was just not possible.  I would say my average was 4 days between classes, sometimes 5, until I felt I was fully recovered and could go back and do some more heavy work.  And then I started kind of dreading this whole thing with the muscle soreness. I noticed that I wasn’t going as much as I’d like to.  I figured I needed a different program, different approach.

BREAKTHROUGH: Well, we certainly see you at least, I would say average, 4 days a week.Sometimes it is even more.  Which is great! So obviously that is an improvement.  I feel we should be able to do something physical every day.  Not every day should be …

TOGETHER: All-out effort! (laughs)

BREAKTHROUGH: That happens maybe a couple of times a year when you are training for an event or something like that.  For the most part, you should feel like you can get up and do it again the next day.

YURY: I feel the same. I mean, I feel like even if the volume over all is equal, I would much rather get into the gym 4 times a week for an hour than twice a week for two hours or once a week for 4 hours.  And then work my butt off and then not show up for a week.

BREAKTHROUGH: Especially considering our bodies are meant to move on a daily basis. And then you are so sore you can’t do that.

YURY: Exactly.  I think showing up and doing some work every day or almost every day is the recipe for health; keeping yourself mobile and moving and taxing your body every day with a little bit of a challenge.  That’s better, as opposed to going in and ending up sore and broken and not wanting to go back to the gym the next day.  It shouldn’t be that way.

BREAKTHROUGH: No, it shouldn’t!  It is a little bit different training style than what you had been used to, and I’m glad you are feeling better in terms of pain and recovery. Anything else you have noticed?


YURY: Well, my strength is improving overall, I think. There were certain exercises and lifts that were sort of the core of the CrossFit workout that would be hammered time and time again, but here I think I’m getting a better all-around strength improvement.  You know, small muscles and other muscles groups that you don’t usually work in other body work.  The RAMP itself is awesome!

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes!  Specific mobility work for your needs and what your training will be…

YURY: The RAMP, I feel like, is just a completely different thing than I have even done before a class.  Not only do you roll out a little bit and stretch, but you really get your body moving and mobile.  I feel so much better after just the RAMP, even if I didn’t do the workout, I already feel looser and like my body is starting to lubricate everything better. I love that part.  It really gets me after a day of sitting at the computer and hunching over the screen. You come here, and you finally let it open up and stretch out.  That feels so much better.  My mobility is definitely better.  Flexibility and mobility has been improved.

BREAKTHROUGH: Great!

YURY: And like I said, all around I feel like I am stronger. A well-rounded strength, if that makes sense.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, absolutely!

YURY:  As opposed to, you know, just biceps, shoulders, legs, abs.  You know the major muscle groups. Everybody goes after training those.  But I think if you ignore other smaller…

BREAKTHROUGH: Stabilizing muscles…

YURY:  … less visible muscles, you do yourself a disservice because you are building imbalances. I think that has been better overall and is what has contributed to me staying healthy and injury free because now I have all of those stabilizing and supporting muscles also involved now.

BREAKTHROUGH: For sure!  So, we always like to hear – what is your “why?”  Your deeper purpose for why you take the time almost every evening after work to come in and do all this.  Do you have a why you’d like to share?

YURY:  Well, everybody has a reason.  I don’t think mine is especially insightful. You know, as I am getting into my mid-forties, I want to stay active.  I want to be able do things, play sports and be active with my daughter.  I feel like slowly but surely that limberness or flexibility is starting to go a little bit. You’ll wake up in the morning and feel more like an old person a little bit.  Everything is creaking and hurting, and I want to hold this off as long as possible.  Stay healthy as long as possible.  Keeping my weight in check and improving strength and flexibility.  Quite honestly, as I get older and age, I think those are vital things to staying healthy and active.  At any age, it is a good thing to do. But if you start that because you’re feeling you aren’t capable to do these things when you are 70 or 75, it’s going to be a lot harder to catch up with at that point – not impossible to catch up but a whole different process. I feel like I did myself a disservice that I haven’t been doing this since earlier. You see people who have been working out in their twenties or their teens even. I think it is easier to maintain these things once you get them then to try to establish them in the first place.  So, the goal is getting myself to some level of fitness that I find acceptable.  I am not there yet – as they say, a work in progress always.  If I ever get there – I want to maintain that for as long as possible.  And stay healthy. Yeah, that’s really it.

BREAKTHROUGH: I think a lot of people can relate to this… longevity…

YURY: Right! Not longevity like “how long will I live?” but “how healthy am I going to be?”

BREAKTHROUGH:  Sure. Quality of life.

YURY: Quality of your elder years. I don’t want to be in a retirement home bed ridden and whatever for my last years.  I’d rather be in my 90s and have a stroke on a pull-up bar or something!

BREAKTHROUGH: Me too!  Haha! That’s perfect. I mean, I feel like we could just wrap this interview up with having a stroke in our 90’s on a pull-up bar… but anything else you want to share?

YURY: Just that I think it adds so much to your confidence and well-being generally just knowing that you are healthy, that you’re strong, and that you are capable of doing certain things you want to be doing.  The aesthetics doesn’t hurt as well.  You keep yourself in whatever shape you are looking to keep yourself in, whether it is leaner, more muscular. That is part of the equation as well. It is all of those things and I think it is vital, especially as we get older.

BREAKTHROUGH: For sure!  It is definitely not going to make things worse as we get older – to be in good shape!


YURY: And there is a big component that is mental as well. It is not only physical. You feel so much better.  I mean, I sometimes have these tough days at work and, let me tell you, every single time I come in here…  sometimes I’m doubting – I just want to go home and crash. But I make myself come in. I have never left here saying “I am sorry I came in.  I should have gone home.” That just never happens!  Every single time you leave here you say “I am so glad I came in.  I am so glad I didn’t go home.”  I feel so much better.  It just kind of wipes that whole funk clean and you feel a lot better.  I am sure it is chemical as well. All of the endorphins and whatever circulating throughout your body.  And just on a personal sort of achievement level – I didn’t phone it in. I didn’t skip the workout; that would be easier.  I came in and I did the work. And you feel better about yourself.  My wife works out as well, and she can’t say enough about the mental health benefits. The stress of work and everything.  It helps a lot.

BREAKTHROUGH: It does.  This is what I find too.  It also sends a signal to you. When I choose something that is actually good for me, rather than going home and being like, well, I am just going to have a glass of wine and sit on the couch.  I am sending a signal to myself that I am actually worth taking care of. And that does build your self-esteem, and your confidence, and your sense of well-being. You can make choices to take care of you.

YURY: Exactly. You always feel better afterward, even though in the moment when you are trying to decide. Should I have a pizza or salad? Should I go workout or go home and watch TV?  Whenever you make the right, the harder decision, I think you always feel better about it afterwards. It signals to you that you have the will power to stick with it. Things are going well and in the right direction.  It reinforces the process, too.

BREAKTHROUGH: For sure!

YURY: It gives you incentive…

TOGETHER:  to keep going!

BREAKTHROUGH: Haha! Totally! Thank you so much for sharing all this Yury!  We really appreciate it!

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