Monday, November 28, 2005
I almost forgot – I wanted to tell you about my visit with my Dad.
As you may (or may not) know. My Dad’s a personal trainer. For Bally’s. In Hollywood. While I have never doubted that he’s good at what he does, I did have a pre-conceived idea concerning his cliental. He is, after all, a PT in what I believe has to be one of the most narcissistic cities in the world. I figured his clients were pretty much rich cardio bunnies looking for a good looking (what can I say I’m biased) guy to talk to for an hour.
Well, while we were at his house this past Saturday, my Dad started talking about his clients. And yes, he’s got some spoiled little rich girls who don’t mind paying the money and then ignoring everything he tells them to do. But, my Dad (it turns out) has a ‘special’ certification. (don’t ask me what it is – I don’t know). It makes him qualified to work with people who… for lack of a better word…have ‘special’ needs. He calls these folks his ‘gimp’ squad.
One client is a 20 something male with MS. He’s in a wheelchair, and is angry at the world. He feels the medical community has let him down and he’s turned to strength training as a way to improve his quality of life. My Dad’s designed a program that works with his strengths and weaknesses. He pushes him when he needs it and tells him to take it easy when he needs it as well. Many of the things they do require my Dad to pick him up out of his wheel chair and move him into position. This isn’t your ordinary PT session by far.
Then there is the couple he trains. The husband has Type I Diabetes. He’s always had trouble regulating his blood sugar and thought strength training might be the key. He had used other trainers before but found they were clueless when it came to his unique medical issues. My Dad – spent the days before their first session learning what he could about Diabetes. They then tested this gentleman’s blood sugar before and after his sessions only to discover that his blood sugar wasn’t responding the way it was ‘expected’ to. By working with this man’s Dr they were able to work out a nutrition/training plan that counteracted the spikes and dips that occurred while he was working out AND he’s found that the exercise has improved his fitness overall and he’s better able to regulate his blood sugar outside the gym as well.
His wife has suffered from Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since she was 11. Before she started working with my Dad, she couldn’t walk up the front porch steps without help from her husband. Again my Dad designed a plan for her that not only has helped her get into better shape, but that’s flexible enough to take into account that some days she’s going to be in more pain then others. So if she can’t move a certain way one day, he’ll find another exercise for her to do that will serve the purpose but avoid the painful movement. He said she proudly comes in and tells him how many miles she walked the day before at the beginning of each session.
And it goes on and on.
My Dad is very passionate about his Gimp squad. He’s excited about helping them train, but he emphasizes over and over again that it’s more about the quality of life. He says it’s different working with people who’s measure of success isn’t the amount of weight they are pressing, or the reps. The real measure is the man who used to have wait for his wife to come home to get the mail because he couldn’t walk all the way to the mailbox, but can now make it to the end of the driveway on his own. The man who’s no longer a prisoner in his own home due to a disability.
The other day my Dad found out about a nearby aquatic center. It’s a huge facility that was build specifically for people with special exercise needs. It’s apparently underutilized even though it’s high tech/state of the art. So, my Dad went to speak to the director. He had to find a way to tell her – you’re system’s flawed and you need me to fix it, without totally alienating her. It sounds like he managed. He’s been asked to write a proposal detailing the changes he would make. He’s So excited!
He also told me that when he left the place he had to find a place out a site for a moment – because he cried when he thought about how the state of the art equipment could be used to help his ‘gimp squad’.
My Dad – 6’2” – 225 lbs cried.
I’m so damn proud of him.
Posted by Shawn at 12:20 PM