Name: Geneviève (Gen) Carisse
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
Health, empowerment, independence, role model.
How long have you been training?
For over 15 years in general fitness and as a Powerlifter. I was originally drawn to Bodybuilding because I loved the aesthetics of these athletes. However, I did not have the discipline to make the changes necessary to reach that level, or so I thought. I had many trainers throughout my athletic life who tried to slim me down, but to no avail. Diets and I were like citrus and toothpaste; we simply did not go together. Two years ago I decided to switch sports to Olympic Weightlifting and set out to become the best in the world. I was told by many that becoming an Olympian was impossible.
I tend to challenge conventional thinking and on February 11, 2013 I started training with legendary athlete, IFFBB Pro, Mr. Universe Mohamed Makkawy. With over 30 years under his belt, including in the competitive arena, and in Weightlifting, he neither said my goal could, or could not be achieved. He said, “let’s see how you do in your first competition.” Nine months later, through his guidance, I transformed my entire life; shrinking physically by losing 70 pounds, and growing stronger mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Nothing is impossible until you accept it as such.
What does a sample workout look like for you?
Fifteen to 20 minutes of stretching following by one or two sets of 10 reps of squatting. I gradually increase the weight and reduce the reps. I will incorporate some abdominal, triceps, or stabilization exercises between sets.
I am called the Squat Queen in the gym, which is the Adelaide Club in downtown Toronto. Front squats, back squats, overhead squats, squat cleans…I love them all! When I am in the squat cage, I am in my element.
Most memorable PR:
I struggle with the squat clean and one weight in particular I kept missing. Weeks went by, yet I could not make the lift happen. Then one day while with my Coach, the bar glided through the air and I caught it with absolute perfection. It was the greatest high I had ever felt! I clapped my hands like a little kid, which sent chalk flying all over my Coach!
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
Dark Horse - Katy Perry
Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey Remix
Waiting for the Sun – Adam Ellis Remix
Far From Over – Rev Theory
Beautiful – 10 Years
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
Chalk, BCAAs for my water, and a snack for post-workout.
Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
I have both an introverted and extroverted personality so I like both. I just recently started training with one of the girls of my gym. She came to me because of my squatting skills. We now hit the cage together on Sundays, which we’ve coined Squat-Date-Sundays (SDS). We call ourselves SS for Squat Sistas.
Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
My male peers are very respectful and don’t try to pick me up. However, the funniest gym moment was when I was doing deadlifts with a workout buddy, Ben. I loaded the bar for us with close to 200 pounds and got into position to lift. Completely in my zone, I was unaware that others were watching. Ben later told me that the guys thought I was preparing the bar for him!
Breakfast! I eat four full eggs with half a cup of eggs whites and a fruit. I load up the eggs with every vegetable I have in the fridge, along with herbs and spices. I go to bed at night looking forward to waking up so I can savor this meal. It’s also my biggest meal of the day.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
I want to live in a world where I can eat nothing but fruit! There are few things I love more than a sweet juicy orange, and I could eat a case of them! I do eat a bit of dark chocolate every other day.
“Follow and trust your intuition. Do things with passion, integrity & energy. The outcome will be filled with the same spirit.” — Marc Jacobs.
Mind Gym by Gary Mack.
What inspires and motivates you?
My Coach, Mohamed Makkawy. He created the perfect physique and has maintained it throughout his entire life. This speaks to the high standards he has for himself and his sport. Since I wanted to be the best, I decided to mirror the best.
To become an Olympian.
The beautiful people who have been touched by my journey. Their phone calls, text messages and emails about how I helped change their life, or gave them the courage to embark on their own adventures. Elevating others gives me strength and holds me accountable to keep moving forward.
What does a typical day look like for you?
6:30am – Wake up, feed 5 cranky guinea Pigs and two prima donna felines (I have no idea how they got that way). Shower; make/eat breakfast, fluff hair, do make-up, head to work.
9:30am - Snack throughout the day. Usually about 6 meals.
6:30pm – Gym for a couple of hours.
9:30pm – Arrive home, feed 5 cranky guinea Pigs and two prima donna felines. Drink shake, shower, check/respond to emails. Prepare gym bag, food and work clothes for next day.
11:30pm – Pass out.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
Finding muscles in places you did not know you had!
Next training goal:
Continuing to learn the techniques of my sport and allow my stabilizer muscles to develop. It takes years to excel at weightlifting.
Three words that best describe you:
Intense, playful, tenacious.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
It has given me the mind and body I always dreamed of, as well as opportunities that I never thought were possible. Example, I entered a modeling contest with a Canadian Designer, Frank Lyman, and I am in the top finalists.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy? The sooner you begin the better. As we age, we lose muscle, which is why weight loss is so much harder with each passing year. As an aspiring fashion model, it is my hope that I can be proof that lifting heavy won’t make you ‘look like a man’. You can have strength, femininity, beauty and grace.
Lifting heavy builds muscle, which is the elixir of youth, longevity and health.
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