Jessica Lara: Medicine, Motherhood and Metal

WHO: JESSICA LARA: Physicians Assistant, Mom and NCAA Athlete

Where: Colorado – USAScreen Shot 2014-10-13 at 6.18.01 PM

       1. What is your sports background and how did you get into weight training and were you always an athlete? Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 1.07.18 PM

1. I have always been an athlete. My sports background was softball, basketball, track and field, and a sprinkling of cheerleading up until high school where I focused just on T&F and basketball. It was a tiny New Mexico HS, but we won multiple state championships in both sports, and I also won individual titles in the Javelin. I competed for Adams State during my collegiate years, and qualified for the DII National Championships in the Javelin and later the 800m. I’ve been in the weight room since HS, but I didn’t fully understand the impact it could have until after having kids. My husband and I had two babies during my three year graduate school training and the desire to get back into shape drove me into the weight room.

  1. Have you always been geared towards the weight room or was it a difficult transition?
2. Although I didn’t fully grasp the power of weight lifting in the past, I have enough experience that I don’t feel completely out of my element. In fact, I now will go through my cycles and find great satisfaction when I make a breakthrough in technique and/or strength in lifts that I’ve done before but was previously just sort of going through the motions (whether I knew it or not).
  1. Coming from an athletic background has it been difficult to find the same motivation for your personal training without a competitive goal at the end?
Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 1.08.52 PM3. Coming from an athletic background where there are clear training goals can make it difficult to stay motivated now that I am “just” staying fit and meeting personal goals. I definitely crave competition, but I think training without that has been beneficial because I have more confidence in my discipline now. This winter I remember thinking how stupid it was to be getting up while its dark and cold because I wasn’t happy with how I looked or my strength and there was no endpoint. Because I chose to stay dedicated, I now have much fewer of those days and thoughts. When I do, I usually start to look around for a competitive event that might help keep me motivated, but I haven’t taken one on just yet.
  1. You are also a Mom of two, how much does staying fit mean to you now that you have a family.
4. Being a mother has changed my mindset in so many ways. My kids are basically my beating heart, and I am thinking of them no matter what I am doing. Being in the healthcare field makes me hyperaware of what can result from not taking your health seriously. I am so grateful for the healthy body I have, and I take it seriously that I have the ability to impact how long it stays this way. I want to be fully alive and present for my kid’s lives, set an example for them, and I don’t ever want them to have to worry about my health.
  1. Where is your current training facility and do use more than one facility to reach your goals?
Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 11.16.40 PM5. I regularly train at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center on the campus of the University of Colorado Denver, which is where I earned my degree as a Physician Assistant. It’s in located between my home and work, and it’s a really beautiful facility. In fact they sometimes film for the TV show Extreme Weight Loss there. We are usually are welcomed at the Adams State University facilities or at the new 24 hour fitness in Alamosa, CO and of course I sometimes train at Johnson and Wales University in Denver where Nick coaches.
  1. As a Physicians Assistant how do you balance you training with your medical career?
6. I am still learning time management between my family, career, and fitness. Because staying healthy and fit is so important to me, I just fit it in. My schedule varies depending on whatever else is going on, but I will typically either go around 530am before work or go right after I get off work. I like the morning workouts better because I can get home to the kids sooner, and I also have better energy through the day. I have to do any work or learning related activities when the kids are sleeping, because they just don’t tolerate any less than my full attention! Typically I get in 4-5 days of training a week, about 50 minutes each session.
  1. What are some of your best lifts, times and achievements in the weight room and on the track
7. My Javelin PR is 40.73 meters, 800m PR was 2:12.75. For my lifts… Front squat 160#, Back Squat 195#, Deadlift Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 1.05.53 PM245#, Trap Bar Dead 275#, Bench 135#.
  1. What is your current system that you use nutritionally?
8. I don’t have a strict diet, but try to keep the focus on lean meats and vegetables. I eat whatever I want in moderation. I do have a bad sweet tooth, so I know I’m probably getting away with some crimes because I work hard right now. This is an area where I could definitely make some improvements.
  1. What is your current supplement regimen?
Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 5.56.27 PM9. Supplements are kept simple–my staples are daily fish oil and Vitamin D. I was using a pre-workout, but I haven’t for a few months without noticing much difference in performance. I also love iced coffee and will do 1-2 protein shakes a day as well, otherwise
    10. What are some of your techniques that you use for recovery to maintain performance.
10. For recovery I stay out of the gym, foam roll, and do activities like bike rides or walks with my family. No rest days with toddlers! Sometimes I will splurge on a massage which I absolutely need to do more often, and I also get chiropractic adjustments.Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 1.07.49 PM


Categories: Athlete Interviews

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5 replies

  1. Incredible! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Would be interested to see what the current training regimen consists of and how it differs from her workouts as a track athlete

  3. What an absolutely fantastic example for all mothers out there. Thanks for this awesome interview Derek, Jessica is awesome!

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