This Mom Was 47 Years Old & 100 Lbs Overweight. Now She's An Olympic Weightlifter


Lisa Fisco was living her dream life: she was married to a successful dentist, had three sons, and lived in a beautiful hilltop home in Calabasas, California.

But when she was 47 years old, things became rocky in her marriage. Soon, she found out her husband had a girlfriend.

They filed for divorce, and in losing her marriage, she also lost her home to him. She felt like nearly everything she had in life was ripped away from her just like that.

She began to gain weight, depressed by her seemingly lackluster “empty shell” of a life.

But one day, she’d decided she’d had enough. She didn’t like who she’d become, but her issues went deeper than just what she saw in the mirror.

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So Lisa enrolled in an entrepreneurship course at UCLA. “I had always liked the idea of becoming my own boss and creating a personal brand that would empower women,” she said.

With a course from the most inspiring professor she’d ever met, Lisa felt encouraged. But not in the way she expected.

During their first class, the professor asked the students to think of something they’d loved most as children to incorporate into their lives.

Lisa remembered her love for lifting weights with her father. “It was just simple weights in our basement, but it made me feel strong and like I could do anything.”

While Lisa left behind the idea of starting her own business, the very first day of class changed her world forever. The mother-of-three realized it might not be too late to get into Olympic lifting, aka O-lifting, after all.

While the sport does not always mean going to the Olympics, many involved in it often train to do so.

Lisa was able to get into contact with the trainer of the San Diego Olympic team, coach Mike Burgener, who agreed to help train her.

“I told him I was a 40-something, overweight mom, but that I loved athletics and that I wanted to train in Olympic lifting. He wrote back within 5 minutes saying he loved my letter and my motivation and asked when I wanted to get started.”

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Lisa took her three kids with her to San Diego that weekend, and from there, her training took off.

Although it was challenging, she was fully committed. After her day job, she would drive three hours to practice for 3-4 hours, three or four times a week.

And soon, everything she felt falling apart when her marriage ended slowly moved back into place.

“I was absolutely exhausted, yet I felt better than ever: Very quickly I lost the 100+ pounds of fat that I’d been carrying around, and my stress and crippling depression melted away. For the first time since my marriage started crumbling, I felt like I had something to look forward to.”

In 2010, three years after she began lifting, Lisa had qualified on the local and national levels. She began training to attempt to qualify for the Olympics, but a sudden knee injury put her plans on hold.

After working through different issues in her life and making her way back into training, Lisa is more determined than ever. Her goal is to go to the world championship and win a world title, and she won’t let her age or her body slow her down.

At 57 years old, Lisa Fisco has her life ahead of her. Mentally and physically stronger than ever, she isn’t going to let anyone take that away from her.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Languages Spoken
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Topics of Expertise
Health, Entertainment, Faith