Lindsay Cappotelli is a personal trainer, a blogger, and a proud member of Team MuscleTech. She started weight training when she was 13 years old and has a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Louisville. Lindsay recently took time out of her busy schedule to chat with MuscleTech.com about her faith, her fitness journey, and why she believes women should lift heavy weights.
Q: You started weight training when you were 13 years old. How did you get started at such a young age?
A: “Well, I was a softball pitcher and my dad was pretty much my pitching coach. He felt that I needed to strengthen my arm to help me get more speed. So, my mom had a little set of pink dumbbells and I remember one day he showed me a few exercises to do. I started doing those every other day, and as I got stronger he got me heavier weights. I just basically fell in love with it from there.”
Q: What is it about lifting weights that you love so much?
A: “Oh, it’s so many things. When I first started, it was about the results that I saw. I loved seeing my muscles grow and getting stronger and how it transformed my looks and my body over time. But eventually, I saw it became about so much more than that. Now, it’s not about just looks but the confidence that it gives me. It’s the strength that I feel, knowing what my body can do. It’s that feeling of empowerment after doing a heavy lift. It’s also therapy for me now. It is a huge stress reliever, and it just makes you feel good knowing that you’re taking care of your body.”
Q: What does strong mean to you?
A: “Strong is so many things. It’s not just about being physically strong. To me, being strong is about pushing through and not giving up, no matter what you’re going through. That can correlate with lifting weights, because it’s easy to just lift weights to try and get a certain look, but it takes years and years and years of hard work and dedication to truly transform your body. It’s about persisting and pushing forward, even when you don’t see the results, or feel like you’re not seeing any changes, or when you don’t always have the motivation. And I think that’s also how it is with life in general. Yes, there will be times when life is hard, when you want to give up, but true strength is being able keep pushing and persevering through whatever life brings you.”
Q: Why is it so important for you to show women that they can lift heavy weights?
A: “For me, it is that confidence that it gives. I’ve trained so many clients, especially older women, who thought that they would never lift weights. Then to see them come to me and start lifting for the first time and do things they never thought they could do, and watching them get stronger and being excited about it, is what it’s all about to me. That feeling of confidence and empowerment that they get is something I believe all women should experience. That’s really what it’s all about, and just knowing that lifting weights improves your quality of life in so many ways. Yes, the physical results are great, but you gain so much more than just muscles – you gain confidence, and you get stronger physically and mentally, which is just going to affect your life in so many ways.”
Q: You were happily married for 12 years before your husband passed away of brain cancer more than two years ago. You’ve written about your experiences as a widow and shared your story with others on your blog and on social media. As difficult as it may be for you to share your story and let other people in, why was it important for you to do so?
A: “It’s about being genuine and real. So much on social media can be fake, and a lot of times it’s just everyone’s highlight reel. It’s everyone’s good moments. And when you’re struggling but see everyone else on social media so perfect and happy, that can make you feel really alone. I know there are other people out there who have been through similar situations as I have, and that there are other widows out there who can relate to what I post, and I just feel that sharing my story is going to show them that they’re not alone. It’s also going to give them hope, seeing what I’ve been through, knowing that it is going to be really hard, but that you’re going to survive. So, it’s important to me to be real and show that life is not always perfect, but as long as you keep pushing and don’t give up, you’ll make it through those hard times.”
Q: Faith plays a big role in your life. How have you been able to keep your faith even after everything you’ve experienced in your life?
A: “What helped me was definitely watching Matt during all that he went through when facing brain cancer. He always had such a strong faith and it never faltered, even when he was diagnosed with cancer the first time back in 2006. He went through chemo and radiation and just watching him and the faith and the trust that he had in God was truly inspiring. He always stayed hopeful, never complained. I had a strong faith too, but watching him go through brain cancer and still trusting God and never feeling sorry for himself really helped me the second time he was diagnosed. I knew that I had to just keep hoping and keep trusting and know that no matter what happened that it was in God’s hands and he was going to get us through it. That still keeps me going even now to this day – I just think about how strong Matt was and the faith he had when he was going through all that, and it reminds me to keep going. Because ultimately I know that God’s got me. I’ll always have that no matter how bad I feel or how sad I am on some days. The hope that I have through my faith definitely keeps me going day-to-day.”
Q: How have you been able to combine your faith with your fitness journey?
A: “A lot of people who follow me on Instagram and Facebook follow me because of fitness, but I can also set an example and share my faith on that platform to show that my faith is a big part of the reason why I can still be positive and hopeful about life, even after what I’ve experienced. It’s a way for me to connect with my clients and be a positive influence on them.”
Q: We read a post on your blog recently that was about avoiding Toxic Positivity. Can you explain what Toxic Positivity is and how to avoid it?
A: “That goes back to the way social media can make it look like everything in life is just perfect. And it’s not. Before Matt died, it wasn’t like I had never had anything bad happen to me in life, or that I had a perfect life, but I did have that tendency to kind of be like, ‘If you’re feeling down, just think positive! It’s all about your mindset.’ And to a certain extent that is true. But a lot of times when you go through a loss, especially the loss of a spouse or when you have depression or anxiety, those are real conditions and illnesses, and it’s not something you can just think your way out of. That’s what Toxic Positivity is. Telling people to ‘cheer up’ or to ‘think positive’ when they are grieving or depressed does NOT help.
You know, a lot of people when Matt first died would do that. That’s just people’s natural response to someone who is sad. They want you to be happy. But trying to cheer someone up is not always what’s most beneficial. Sometimes it’s not a choice. You can’t always just flip the switch and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to be happy today.’ Grieving isn’t always a choice, and it’s the same thing with anxiety and depression. And actually when you hear those things, it can make you feel worse. It makes you feel more alone when your feelings aren’t validated after hearing people say that it’s not OK for you to feel a certain way. So, you almost in a way feel like you’re doing something wrong or that something is wrong with you.
So, instead of just saying, ‘Think positive,’ or ‘It’s all going to be OK,’ it’s about acknowledging people’s feelings. It’s saying, ‘I can’t imagine what you’re going through’ or ‘It’s OK to be sad. You should feel this way.’ That can make you feel so much better than someone saying, ‘Oh, just cheer up.’ It’s about validating feelings and just being there and understanding that sometimes people are just sad and that’s okay.”
Q: You have a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Louisville. What inspired you to get that degree?
A: “That came from lifting weights at a young age and just falling in love with everything fitness. When I got to college, I actually didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. Then when I met my husband, he was actually taking kinesiology before he moved down here for wrestling and suggested that I look into it at U of L. I didn’t even realize that you could go to school for that so of course when I realized that was possible it was like, ‘Well, yeah, that’s what I want to do!’ It was something that truly interested me, and I was able to take classes and learn about things that I actually enjoyed. So, that was how I ended up with a degree in Exercise Science.”
Q: What’s your favorite part about being a MuscleTech Athlete?
A: “My favorite part is being part of a community of other people who are into this lifestyle who live and breathe fitness like I do and want to set an example and help people. That’s really what it’s all about. We know what lifting weights and eating healthy and supplementation does for us physically and mentally, and we just want to be able to share that with others. And to be given that platform to do so is probably what I like the most.”
Q: What are your favorite MuscleTech products?
A: “I’m big on protein, and of course protein is always best from real foods, but for me personally, because I’ve always wanted to gain muscle, whey protein powder is a convenient way to get more into my diet. I love the Iso Whey Clear for post-workout and Nitro-Tech Protein every morning in my oats, which I’ve been making for like the past 10 years now. I also make protein pudding at night with it before bed.
Creatine has always been a staple for me in my diet because it is one of the most proven supplements to help with athletic performance and building muscle. So, that’s a huge one for me since that has always been my main goal.
And recently, I’ve also been using collagen, which is supposed to help with so much – muscle recovery, and hair and skin. I also like to take amino acids, so I’ll often sip on Amino Build during my workouts. I’m not big on pre-workouts consistently, but I do like to take Vapor X5 before a big leg day, or on the days when I’m dragging and need a boost. I can definitely tell the difference in my workouts when I use it!”