Chapter 6 Commitment, Perseverance, and the Lisa G Story
Lisa Gniewek is a Mash Mafia Team Member, mother, wife, and she is my friend. She started out as one of my personal training clients in 2008. Lisa is a Pediatrics Registered Nurse, and she came to me to get in general shape. Let me tell you, she was out of shape, maybe the most out of shape person that I have ever trained. Lisa would do a body weight squat, get stuck in the bottom, and just fall over in the floor. I remember wondering if she would be the first person that I absolutely couldn’t help. Really I didn’t think that she would train with me more than a couple of weeks.
That was six years ago, and I can honestly say that no one has ever inspired more people than her. Lisa not only got into the best shape of her life, but she went on to compete in both Olympic weightlifting and Powerlifting. She can now squat with 200 pounds on her back, Snatch 115 pounds, and Clean & Jerk 150 pounds. She has traveled with me and my beautiful wife to over ten competitions, and now she is as much a part of my family as my own sister. Lisa’s very presence lights the room at the Mash Compound. Lisa is also the first person to put me in my place. I have the tendency to let my pride get in my way, and she is quick to tell me exactly when that happens. She will also let me know when my focus drifts from my God, family, and loved ones. She keeps me grounded.
Lisa has been with my wife and me during every phase of the Mash Training Center. She was with me when I was just a trainer at a gym. She has been with us during birthdays, holidays, good times and bad. Lisa is Mash Mafia Weightlifting. January of 2013, Lisa was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. NO She didn’t smoke! It was just a genetic trait gone bad, and now my friend had cancer. She was given 6-18 months to live, and the whole Mash World was turned upside down. Most people would feel sorry for themselves and just quit on life, but Lisa never stopped Slamming Bars and Killing PRs. God had led her to the sports of Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting, and she was going to give her all. Believe it or not, she has continued to set Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat, Bench, and Deadlift personal records during all the chemo treatments, doctor visits, and family duties.
Every week all of us at the Mash Compound watch in amazement as Lisa continues to slam those bars. She works out every morning with my precious morning crew. Every person in that morning crew is Mash Family, and they all act like brothers and sisters. We work out together, have bible studies, and do life together, and all of our lives have been changed by Lisa G. Whenever I feel sorry for myself, get lazy, or want to quit, I think about Lisa’s determination and perseverance. There have been times over the last year where Lisa was setting personal records almost daily. I remember watching her slam those bars in what looked to be absolute defiance of cancer. It looked like she was spitting in the face of cancer. I remember watching her Clean & Jerk 150 pounds. After she completed the lift, she slammed the bar down, threw her arms in the air, and screamed in celebration. At that moment, I told myself that I God has put me in the Mash Compound for a reason. I am there to serve others and to help others discover things about themselves that they never knew.
God put Lisa on earth to be a great mother, wife, nurse, and now I know that she was also put on this earth to inspire others to give their all in what God has given them. When I see her, I remember that we are to give our all in whatever we do to Glorify God. Lisa has without a doubt done just that, and she has also reminded me and the rest of the cast of characters at Mash to do the same.