1. How long were you working with fitness and movement before you were drawn to focus on posture and alignment? Why is this an area you were drawn to?
These are some important pieces of my childhood that have always stuck with me. I think most individuals can remember our parents harping on us to “sit up straight”. My mom was certainly that mother, along with trying to correct my left foot, which turned in or was pigeon-toed. I am also flat footed, thanks to my genetics.
I was always an active kids; running around, climbing trees and playing on the monkey bars. Around 4th or 5th grade I would accompany my mother on the track for some laps. With each passing year, I increased my mileage and distance.
In high school I began to develop knee pain; so I went to the doctor. He told me that “I’m a runner and runners get knee pain”. I couldn’t refute the doctor but I always sensed that what he said couldn’t be right. Pain is an indicator that something isn't right. I went to physical therapy and was shown exercises for better foot strike during running. It helped a little.
In college, I started to have lower back pain and later developed more severe pain in my right hip. For about 20 years of my life, I have been plagued with pain and always felt that I was missing something in terms of treatment.
7 Years ago, I decided to leave the corporate world and pursue personal training. I was originally certified with AFAA; and began training individuals. It took me about two years into training before I really realized my calling and what set me apart from other trainers. I believe heavily in doing things effectively, efficiently and with proper technique.
I obtained my personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). I found that this program was better aligned with how I viewed training and what I saw as a growing need in our communities. I truly believe you cannot build a strong, stable house, without a sturdy foundation. I continue to pursue educational opportunities to deepen my understanding of the human body and how to better create programs that will deliver more effective results for my clients.
2. What are the most common types of chronic pain that you see with your clients?
The majority of my clients come to me with what I’d like to call pain due to “aging”; meaning they have accepted the pain because they are a certain age. They believe pain and poor posture come with the territory. I couldn’t disagree more. I work diligently with my clients to show them they can be mobile and active, with less pain regardless of their age. I commonly work with clients who have pain in the hips, knees, and/or shoulder. Some of the pain in these areas is often from misalignment of the skeletal system, and developed as compensation patterns for a previous acute injury (10-15 years prior). While they addressed and healed the site of injury, they never actually addressed what caused the injury in the first place or subsequent compensation movement patterns.
3. Do different age groups require different techniques to correct postural issues?
Everyone is different, with different experiences, backgrounds and reasons that brought them to me. However, we all go through similar thought process when engaging in a lifestyle change. Some will take longer depending on their level of readiness and commitment. However, the biggest difference I have noticed is with my clients over the age of 55; they usually are committed to the program and take the time to learn how to do the technique properly. I have to really work with my younger clientele, so they understand that my role is more than giving them a good workout, it’s also to help re-educate what working with a fitness professional really means and looks like in practice.
4. What do your young athletes experience vs your older personal training clients?
In addition to working with adult clients, I am a Track and Field Coach both at the High School level and club level. My athletes and my training clients all experience a real human being who cares deeply about them and is able to adjust the training to meet them wherever they are at in their life or day. I am adaptable to the needs of my clients. As a person, I am committed to proper and sound technique, but I am not a drill sergeant. Along with hands-on instruction and demonstration, I also provide my athletes and clients guided opportunity to work through movement patterns on their own.
5. How long does it typically take for people to respond to their work with you on posture and pain?
Everyone is going to be different in how they respond to training. However, clients often start noticing differences to balance and coordination within the first 3-4 sessions. Some clients have experienced almost immediate reduction in pain. This definitely depends on what is the cause of the pain. Postural changes can be seen in about 4-8 weeks.
6. Are there other modalities that you find complementary and enhancing to your work with pain?
There are many modalities for movement and wellness that I would say can be complementary. However, this is not an exhaustive list, nor one I would recommend to everyone who has pain without first understanding their previous and current medical history. Generally, the following modalities focus on structural and muscle stabilization, strength, and muscular balance; joint range of motion. From a wellness perspective I would recommend Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care. From a movement perspective I would recommend Yoga, Tai-Chi, Swimming and dancing.
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