Chronicling one of benchy's clients - getting someone who loathes exercise, exercising

It started with a phone call from a young lady who was herself a personal trainer… “Can you help my sister get fit; she doesn’t like exercise much and hasn’t ever really done too much in the exercise department.” As I returned (what I believed to be) a prospective client’s phone call I instead stumbled into an interview of someone looking for a trainer for her sister, proof that there’s a first for everything. After answering a stream of questions, various scenarios and assembling a hypothetical fitness program it became evident that I had passed the preliminary test and moved onto the next stage: meeting ‘the sister’. Unlike the inquisitive, personal trainer sister, the ‘client’ was much more relaxed and somewhat nervous about what the ‘experience’ would entail and insisted that NO MEASUREMENTS be taken. She explained to me that she didn’t really exercise and nothing had really stuck in the past. What she wanted to do was feel better, maybe lose a few pounds and learn more about healthy nutrition, increasing her energy level and sleep more soundly. After working with her a few times it became clear to me that she was an extraordinary person and dedicated client. Exercising 2-3 times a week was a terrific start and it wasn’t long before we started to see her strength and posture improve as well as some pretty good looking arms appear.

Through a little behaviour modification, some ridicule and endless fun we were able to transform this once non-exerciser into a disciplined fitness queen who has become an uber-healthy ‘athlete’ known to exercise on her own regularly. It wasn’t long before I was able to bring her partner on board and get him working out as well, rehabilitating an old shoulder injury.

Some of the various challenges and obstacles in working with this client ranged from super-rigid posture (anterior head carriage and rounded shoulders) to insomnia. We are still working on creating balance in the upper thoracic spine and alleviating some of the hyper-facilitated muscles that keep her upper back and neck amazingly stiff. Correcting posture always takes time because of the nature of short rigid muscles and long, weak muscles. Since beginning this health journey with ‘the sister’ she’s been very resourceful and open-minded to trying various holistic health care practitioners to assist in carving out a wellness strategy, everyone from naturopaths and chiropractors to acupuncturists and massage therapists. I think we’re on a good path right now although her body constantly throws curve balls; when everything seems to be running smoothly we encounter wonderful things like hives, allergic reactions (not to me thankfully) and ‘sports’ injuries. Yoga has also been part of the routine from time to time as well as running outside which was an incredible feat, in my mind.

Her nutrition was very good when we started and now it has far exceeded my expectations. And although she owns a shirt that reads “eat more cake” this determined client wouldn’t dare eat cake…well maybe just a little, if it were dufflet. We’ve been working out almost 3 years, twice a week and it’s been a wonderful experience. Her body has toned-up; strength, endurance and posture have improved and her outlook and commitment to exercise has also shifted.

P.S. Never trust someone who wears a t-shirt that says “I roll with Mr. Happy”

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