A first hand account of the amazing journey "On the Yellow Brick Road" written by Genevieve Carisse, Adelaide Club Member
My wondrous journey with Weightlifting and Mohamed Makkawy began February 11, 2013, and in nine months I would drop 70lbs and 16 dress sizes, all while maintaining my strength.
When Mohamed and I met I had been a gym enthusiast for 15 years and had several trainers throughout my athletic life. One showed me the “Clean & Jerk,” I became obsessed with the movement. My trainer did not have the knowledge to teach me so I went to other gyms and asked for a Weightlifting Coach, but kept getting paired up with Powerlifters. Thinking that the two sports where the same I went along with it and spent 2 years learning Powerlifting. Although I enjoyed it, it was not what I wanted to do so I began searching for a Weightlifting Coach who was certified. I not only wanted to learn the sport, but I also wanted to compete, and God willing, take it to the highest stage - the Olympics.
As I interviewed various Coaches, I was given all sorts of reasons why my goal was not achievable; I am too old, too inflexible, my chest is too tight and on they went. Those that did believe in me did not have the credentials to get me there. I began to lose hope that what I was trying to achieve did not exist in the Emerald City.
A new job brought me back to the Adelaide Club. I knew of Mohamed. After all, he is hard to miss in the gym. I read his biography and saw that he had the skills I was seeking so I reached out to him. When I shared my goal he neither dismissed it nor said it could be done. The answer I got was, "let's see how you do in your first competition." He gave me and my dream the respect we deserved and we began our journey together. What I did not anticipate was the dramatic changes that would take place, both physically and mentally. In just a few months Mohamed would recreate me into a new person.
Within minutes of our first session I was instructed to drop the pounds and given a classic bodybuilding diet. In addition to being overweight, I lacked energy and had all sorts of joint problems, as well as muscle inflammation. Mohamed, with his infinite wisdom and guidance, restored my vitality and within months of proper training, new diet and weight loss, I was no longer suffering from the chronic ailments that had plagued me most of my life. Revived, Mohamed gave me the health and spirit to handle the journey ahead.
I also lacked self-confidence. Mohamed slowly chipped away at my insecurities and pushed my boundaries. He allowed me to overcome my fears and taught me to let go of the limitations that prevented me from growing. For example, I did not believe I had the discipline to lose so much weight I such a short time; I did not believe I could be disciplined enough to hit the gym on a daily basis while working two jobs to finance my journey. Yet to those who know me, these were no surprise. I have always been an extremist and done things with great intensity.
It was therefore important that I find a personality match with my Coach so he could tailor my drive and ambition. Mohamed and I had an instant connection and over the months that bond deepened allowing us to be in perfect harmony with one another. We can communicate without speaking. If I think or feel it, Mo picks up on it immediately. He always knows where I am at and what I need, often before I do. It's also kept me accountable as it is (annoyingly) impossible to hide anything from my Coach. In less than a year I transformed my entire life. I grew mentally and emotionally while shrinking physically. I have redefined my personality, character and values and have been amazed by how differently people react to me. Being thin opens doors and opportunities. I now have mentees under my guidance, from children to adults, who look to me as a source of strength for their own aspirations. It is deeply rewarding to see that my success inspires others - the very purpose of embarking on this journey.
I believe that we are the creators of our destiny and of our lives. Unfortunately we often allow the world around us to define who and what we are. We suppress our identity, which creates tension in our bodies and leads to a host of problems. It takes courage to break free and be true to yourself; to be willing to open the door to your dreams; to be strong enough to step inside the unknown and persevere no matter how difficult the road gets. Yet, when you are in alignment with the Universe you become powerful and unstoppable. The doors open up; events unfold and you meet the people who will help you discover yourself so you can reach your goals. The key is to have faith and to never, ever give up.
I realize the yellow brick road will be a long and difficult journey, and while I may not have magic shoes, I do have the "Magic Egyptian" as my Coach. I am enjoying the Emerald City with this legendary athlete as we make our way to the top of the world.
Genevieve is currently competing as 1 of 30 semi-finalists to be a model for Canadian designer Frank Lyman
to vote for Genevieve and for more contest details.
Photography by Melissa D’Souza, Ripe Resolutions