(On Saturday, October 3rd, our first ever real [FIT] life Powerlifting team entered the Northeast Iron Beast USAPL Push Pull meet in Latham, New York.
For five of our team members, this was their first powerlifting meet experience, and they all did an amazing job.
Each day this week, real [FIT] life will feature one of our team members, their stories, their struggles, and their amazing successes.
So be sure to check back tomorrow and every day this week to learn more and to be inspired by everyday real people just like you!
To learn how to bring out your own inner athlete, be sure to read our recent real [FIT] life newsletter topic, “Do you believe you can achieve fitness greatness? (you should)” Click here.)
A little info about Jessica
Jessica has been with real [FIT] life since our start, in 2010. When I
first met Jessica, she enrolled in a continuing ed fitness program I was offering at a local school gymnasium. I still have some very vivid memories of her during our early sessions and many of them involve her leaving at the end of the hour looking frustrated, and often times, upset. Exercise did not come easy for Jessica, and in the beginning, she certainly did not seem to like it.
But she kept coming back.
I’m going to tell you a secret about Jessica. Of all my clients, she holds a really special place in my thoughts. And that is saying a lot, because I have had the privilege of working with incredible people every day, for many years.
But the amount of tenacity, persistence, and stick-with-it-ness that Jessica has shown through the years, makes me beyond proud of her. She is definitely an inspiration to me.
I can just about guarantee that there are days where Jessica probably wanted to smack me, as at every milestone she hit, I expected her to do more and to do it even better. I saw potential in her and I wanted her to see it too.
At some point over the years, Jessica came to love our sessions.
What was once something she felt she had to do, out of obligation, suddenly became something she HAD to do, for pure joy. On a bad day at work, Jessica would show up and say, “I really need this workout today.” With a smile on her face, she would be eager to start, and excited to learn new things. Training became her solace, her stress reliever, her vehicle for feeling capable.
When we moved into our first studio space, back in the winter of 2014, it was the first time real [FIT] life had access to bars, racks, and plates for our members. For those that were ready, I eagerly started to implement the key lifts into their training, Back squats, bench pressing, and eventually deadlifting, became staple exercises in many of our members weekly programs.
And that’s when it became crystal clear that Jessica was made to lift.
Seriously, if you watch her in any of the three key lifts, it is just a beautiful thing to see. The proportions of her body lend themselves to seamlessly move through all of the lifts like they were made for her.
Jessica has had her setbacks. This past winter, she badly injured her elbow in a sledding accident and was not able to use her arm at all, until it fully healed. For about 6 weeks, we modified her sessions to keep her training, as best she could, without using her arm. But that meant no benching, no deadlifting, and no back squats for a solid 6 weeks.
The fact that Jessica continued to train through her injury was a great help for her speedy return to where she had left off. Many people want to quit all together when they get hurt, either out of frustration or because they aren’t sure what they can do. Because Jessica maintained her base fitness levels, through a lot of lower body work, she had less catching up to do when her arm healed.
We did eventually get Jessica back to training her favorite three lifts. We eased her back into things gradually.
By the time everyone decided to enter the push pull, Jessica was still a little behind the rest of the group, but there was no doubt she was prepared to enter.
Through the whole meet, the main response from the crowd,
judges, and ref’s, after each of Jessica’s lifts, was “too easy”. And when you watch the videos, you’ll agree. Her lifts look effortless.
When we had tested Jessica’s max bench in training, the most she could bench was 105 lbs. Jessica had been making great progress with her bench, but after her injury, she had to build back up. I was certain Jessica would successfully bench 105 for her second attempt (and she did), so I had selected 110 lbs as her third.
You never know how people are going to respond in a meet setting, with nerves taking hold, so it’s a wait and see sort of thing.
Well, for Jessica, she apparently thrives under pressure.
Here is a video of her third bench attempt, 110.2 lbs:
The day we tested Jessica’s max pull in training, she pulled 230 lbs, but it scared her a bit. I still remember her picking up the bar and as it traveled easily to her shins, and continued on up, a look of surprise came over her face. Just as she was about to draw her shoulders back, fully erect, and complete the lift, she set the bar down.
I asked her why she didn’t finish the lift. Her response was, “It was heavy!”. I reassured her that the bar had gone up very quickly and that she was capable of pulling even heavier. That’s when I talked to Jessica about commiting to her lifts. “When you approach the bar, you cannot hold any doubt. When you pick up that bar, you have to fully commit.”
Apparently Jessica took my advice to heart because when she performed her deadlifts at the meet she had zero hesitation, and they looked very easy.
Here is Jessica’s third deadlift attempt of 242.5 lbs:
Since the meet, I have thought a lot about Jessica. Had she not had the strength to stay when she first started, and fitness was a struggle, or had I not had the fortune to find lifting when I did, and the urge to share it with others, Jessica may have never discovered this truly wonderful gift that she has.
Luckily, everything worked out the way it did and I am honored to have gotten to discover it with her.
I do think I’m going to tell her to skip the sledding this year, though. I wonder if she’ll roll her eyes at me when I tell her.
Thanks for putting up with me, Jessica. I am so proud of you and we all can’t wait to see what you do next!
Be sure to check out the rest of our Lifting Moments series, and read more inspiring stories of our Team Members. Everyday people, just like you!
Jeannine Trimboli, CEO, real [FIT] life
If you enjoyed this and found it inspiring and useful, then join our real [FIT] life community! Sign up for our FREE real [FIT] life newsletter (at the top of this page) today!