Name: Lysanne Richard
Location: Montreal, Canada
What does it mean to you to be part of the GGS Community?
I’m happy to see that women’s image is evolving, and that having self-confidence and surpassing ourselves is valued now more than ever.
I’m proud to see all the diversity that’s highlighted, and that each woman’s authenticity is encouraged.
How long have you been strength training, and how did you get started?
It has almost always been a part of my life. My mother tells me that for Christmas, as a kid, I would ask for mats and weights to exercise! I started diving during my childhood, and joined a specialized program in high school. That’s when gymnastics also became a part of my training.
Later, I studied at the National Circus School, and strength training was also part of my program. When I was working at Cirque du Soleil, I loved having access to the gym there and taking the pilates classes that were offered.
I’m a mom of three, and after the birth of each of my children, I enjoyed stroller cardio classes before getting back into circus and diving. For the last few years, I’ve specialized in high diving, and strength work is a major part of my training.
What does your typical workout look like?
A lot of my training takes place at the Institut national du sport du Québec. Cory Kennedy, my trainer, is amazing and I love working with him and having access to the state-of-the-art technology that’s available at the gym. While my training is varied, diving requires a special focus on the core and the legs, to allow me to perform as solidly as I can, reduce the risk of injury and jump high!
In addition to diving-related training, I also do Essentrics and ballet. I mostly commute by bike as well, and take part in many physical activities with my family, such as obstacle course races.
Most memorable PR:
Having been able to come back in strength after a serious injury! I was out of the competition circuit for almost two years after suffering from a cervical disc hernia with severe nerve compression. For several months, I couldn’t move my right arm.
Rehab was long and difficult. I had to be patient and work very hard. Finally, in 2018, against all odds, I’m back doing high diving and taking international podiums.
Training was key to my success, and it’s thanks to it that I gained back the strength to endure the impact that comes with the sport. In high diving, we hit the water at around 80 km/h (50 mph), and our muscles must be ready to deal with this shock — they’re our only protection. In the air, there’s only us, in a swimsuit!
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag:
My water bottle, resistance bands and kettlebells.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
There are positives to both options. I like variety: sometimes alone, sometimes in a group.
Most embarrassing gym moment:
When I was at the National Circus School, I did a split jump and split the entire crotch of my pants!
Most memorable compliment you’ve received lately:
My diving coach writing to me to tell me I’m the best. It feels especially good coming from someone who knows both my strengths and my weaknesses.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
Telling my husband I find him incredible. When I leave for competition, he holds the fort, takes care of our three kids, and encourages me as well. I’m very lucky to have so much support and I’m very grateful for him.
Anything with vegetables! I’m a vegetarian, which is in line with my values and helps me feel good.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
I absolutely love lattes! I vary the type of milk (almond, soy, etc.) but taking a break during the day with the comfort of a great coffee is a moment I always appreciate greatly.
I also love meditation and it’s part of my daily routine.
“To a valiant heart, nothing is impossible”
I believe every person contains infinite possibilities, and that if we really want something and that we give ourselves the means, we can achieve anything.
What inspires and motivates you?
I like being a model of courage and determination for my children, and having the opportunity to inspire other people as well.
What do you do?
I’m a professional high diver and world cup champion. I hold three titles as well as several podiums on the Red Bull Cliff Diving circuit. I’m also a diving analyst on television, a public speaker, a stuntwoman and a circus artist.
What else do you do?
I enjoy doing activities with my family, like picnics, bike rides, crafts, obstacle races, etc.
Describe a typical day in your life:
There’s hardly any typical day in my life! As a freelancer, I have to adapt to very variable schedules between stunts, speaking engagements, television appearances, etc. Also, being a mother of three means I have to be ready to face the unexpected, as well as being involved with school and daycare.
I also have to adapt the intensity of my training according to my competition calendar, as well as my trainers’ availability. Still, barring any special circumstances, a typical day could look like this:
Wake up at 6 a.m., and take a moment for meditation and gratitude. Wake up the kids, prepare breakfast, brush teeth, etc. Take my bike and do drop-offs at school and daycare, then keep going to the sports complex where I work and do my in-pool training. After lunch, take my bike to a different training center for ballet, Essentrics and/or strength training. Bike home and take care of homework, lunches and whatever needs to be ready for the next day with the kids. Dinner, baths, and bedtime routine for the kids. More work for me (writing blogs, preparing speaking engagements, etc.), and then bedtime for me!
Your next training goal:
I’m still working on regaining all my muscle strength, because I’m still not quite as powerful and dynamic as I was before my injury.
For what are you most grateful?
My family and the opportunity I have to live a different and exciting life.
Of what life accomplishment do you feel most proud?
Being both a mother of three and a world cup champion in an extreme sport.
Which three words best describe you?
Determined. Courageous. Positive.
Tell us about a time when you overcame fear or self-doubt.
Every time I’m standing on the platform, twenty meters above ground, I have to be stronger than my own fear, which is always present. But I’m so prepared that I know that my physical and mental strength can conquer this fear, and that I can succeed.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
I learned to overcome the fear that I wouldn’t be strong enough for certain challenges.
I learned that, by taking it one step at a time and using the right tools, nothing’s impossible.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve experienced from strength training?
Training allows me to be strong enough to pursue my passion, which is high diving. It also allows me to feel increasingly young, even though the years go by.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous or hesitant about strength training?
When there’s a will, there’s a way.
The secret is choosing realistic goals for the short, mid and long terms.
Take the time to enjoy the process, to be proud of yourself, and to savor every small victory.
All photos © Jean-François Savaria. Video courtesy of Red Bull.
You can learn more about Lysanne on her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.