Name: Lisa (Lipari) Zgutowicz
Nicknames: Mom, Mommy, Ma, Dr. Lisa, Doc
Hometown: From Setauket now live in Ridge
Marital Status: Married 14 years to Steve
Pet: Jake (chocolate lab), Charlotte (hedgehog), keeper of “The Girls” (egg-laying chickens, not really pets LOL)
I was born at 2:10am on 10/10/1972 (in what was then called Franklin General Hospital) in Franklin Square, NY(11010)…do you see anything interesting here, yet? My lucky number is 10. LOL My first 2 years I lived in Brooklyn in an apartment above my grandparents’ espresso shop. (My dad was born in Sicily and came here at age 8.) We moved to Setauket when I was 2.5 and I attended Three Village schools through graduation from Ward Melville in 1990.
I was never athletic but always an active kid. Dance was always my go-to activity since age 3, although I did try soccer (terrible LOL). I danced competitively as a teen and traveled to California for a national competition and then Poland and the U.S.S.R in 1989. What a trip that was! In High School I was also a Varsity Cheerleader, and Feature editor of the school newspaper. When it came time to go to college I was certain I wanted a pre-med curriculum, and I double majored in Biology and Spanish at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. I gave up my beloved dance for academics but I did continue to write and shared a health and wellness newspaper column with a friend entitled “What the Health is Going On?” 2nd semester of my senior year (after MCATS were said and done and as I began to apply to Med schools) I began to question my choice. (I knew I aspired to get my doctorate but I also aspired to be a mom, so this got me thinking…) Would I be happy balancing work and family? I also began to question if I would be happy functioning within the model of Western medicine, as I seemed to gravitate more towards holistic methods and preventative care. Several factors played a part in my decision to pursue Chiropractic as a career, and I have never once regretted my choice.
Ultimately I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Life University in Marietta, Georgia. I had an amazing 4 years in Georgia and I loved the people and the area but it was time to come home. I got a job with a local doctor and worked with him for 5 years. And then came that time…that time you know it is time to spread your wings and fly. I left with no hard feelings. We are still good friends and I consider him a mentor. I opened my own private practice in Holtsville by taking over an existing practice and the rest is history. I have had zero turnover in staff since 2003, something I am quite proud of. We all work as a team and my practice is a family based- practice. I have post-graduate certifications in Pediatrics and Pregnancy, and I love the variety I see every day. I see mothers, fathers, babies, elderly, athletes, injuries, pain, wellness…I love it all. I may have even seen a few SHW come through the office, although HIPPA policies prevent me from saying who (wink, wink).
As for family life, I am a wife and a mother to two awesome kids. They really are the super coolest LOL Sierra Grace is age 10 and just started middle school (what?! LOL) and Tanner Kai is in 3rd grade. They have various interests but the 3 of us share the love of CrossFit. People who are friends with me on FB have probably seen me post videos of their various accomplishments, and of course I am proud of them. But honestly, the part I love most is how proud they are of themselves. They are learning that if they do the work they will reap the reward. And this will translate into anything in life. So yes, toes to bar or pistol squats are great, but the ‘take home’ message is that if you consistently put in the effort you will see results. I love that. The physical strength and self esteem boost are a bonus.
My husband is an avid hunter, and got me to appreciate it as well. I understand it is not for everybody, but for us it is a lifestyle. We eat primarily wild game (I rarely have to buy meat) and we only take what we will consume; we hunt during hunting season and stock our freezer for the year (venison, wild turkey, pheasant, bear, wild boar, wild rabbit, wild duck). We maintain our shooting skills year round (we prefer bow hunting) so that we are proficient when the time comes to harvest an animal. My children both have an appreciation of this lifestyle. We do not trophy hunt (my husband will be the first to say you can’t eat the antlers), but nice bucks do happen. A very proud moment for me was when my husband took a very impressive buck, and I knew that night was going to be what I call “The Man Show” at the house. The kind of night when pictures are taken and you know to have extra beer on hand because various pickup trucks will be going in and out of the driveway as the men come over to check out the specimen. Tanner was really young and went outside as the guys were all hanging out admiring the rack on this extremely large deer and said, “Wow. Look at all that meat we are going to get!” In that moment I knew he ‘got it’ and my heart was full.
I try to be the best role model I can be in every aspect of life, and I know my kids “see” my professional and personal accomplishments. In addition to CrossFit I train for and compete in Strongman. (I currently hold 3 US Strongman records in deadlifting for my weight class of LW123.) I love CrossFit for the endurance and skill work/Olympic lifting and I love my Strongman programming for the strength (obviously LOL) and working with the various implements. It’s just so different from anything else I’ve ever done and it challenges me to the absolute max I can endure. I *may* explore powerlifting in 2019 but that remains to be seen.
So right now some of you are probably asking: Why is she even posting in SHW? LOL Because I also do distance running, and I fell in love with the Hills last year. Here are my two confessions: 1. I am admittedly a fair weather runner and I no longer make excuses for it. I simply don’t feel great running in the winter (below 40 degrees I’d say) so that is when I focus on hypertrophy and strength and 2. I am not a sprinter. I don’t feel ‘great’ until after 3 miles so I will admit I am not a huge fan of the 5K. I will take a half marathon over a 5K any day. I have never even really been a runner (before CrossFit) but over the past few years I have built my mileage up. At one point I felt ‘stuck’ at 4 miles and was at an event where there was some world-renowned running coach. I was speaking with him and asked him how to increase my mileage and I got some amazing advice I will never forget: Just go further. (BOOM- mindblown LOL) In 2017 I completed my first (and only?) full marathon and it was an amazing experience. Those who did the Suffolk County run that day know it was a miserable, rainy day. I knew I had a choice to make and I decided at the Start line to just embrace the day including the rain and enjoy the experience. And I did. I had an amazing run punctuated by a few highlights as I went along (speaking with and thanking a Veteran and helping someone who was extremely close to the finish but was cramping badly, so I gave him my salt. I saw a little later on that he had finished and he thanked me.) I never cramped, I never hit the wall, I did the last several miles laughing and singing (probably high on endorphins haha) and finished strong. I was so grateful. It may be a One & Done for me, but I always say…never say never.
I am looking forward to getting back out there on the Hills after my next Strongman comp in March. There is something rewarding about hitting those hills. If I find I need breaks I try to run the steepest parts and walk the flats. I tell myself “I can run flat anywhere…you came here for the HILLS!” That usually gets me to the tops on Adirondack and Berkshire. Rosemont? That’s a different story LOL I usually run the hills solo on a day off, but I also do Sunday mornings with friends at times. I did it once with a weighted vest- as if the hills themselves aren’t challenging enough. I’ll probably never do that again. I proudly wear my SHW gear because I have to say being in this group you really do feel like part of a family. I only know a few members in person (aside from my personal friends who run the hills) but through Facebook I have met so many wonderful people, who have given me great advice at times, especially before the marathon. (When I had an unexpected knee issue 2 weeks before the marathon I did not hesitate to message Amos even though I had never met him- and still haven’t LOL- but I asked him What would you do? and we discussed a few things. I really appreciated that.) I have been a little shy at events and have seen SHW at various events like the marathon and the Ocean to Sound Relay (so fun!) and have not said Hello because I really don’t run the hills with other members…but I wanted to say ‘I’m one of you, too!’ But I promised myself in 2018 I am going to be more a part of the family and come out of my shell a little bit. Maybe this week will break the ice for me. I’m looking forward to meeting more of you and running those hills together…or just running and posting to celebrate/commiserate as we all do. Thanks for taking the time to read this! See you soon.