Did you come to fitness via a need to quell pain? From my casual observation (and radar-equipped ears), I’ve seen and heard a lot of IDEA members talk about their personal histories and how they came to embrace fitness.
One woman was obese in high school and decided she wanted to join the cheerleading squad in college. She also had a crush on a football player, but he ignored her. The pain of rejection, coupled with the pain of being obese, combined to motivate her. She started walking on the track during football practice (so she could keep an eye on her favorite guy). Pretty soon she started running. Eventually she progressed to running 5 miles, and the weight melted off. And the football player? Who needed him! She decided to major in exercise science when college started and became a first-string cheerleader.
Another IDEA member said he became excited about fitness after an injury almost cost him his life. At 19 years old he broke his back in a car accident. Nothing seemed to help diminish his pain—surgeries, physical therapy and drugs all had minimal effects. It wasn’t until a very informed and skilled personal trainer helped him train the right muscles that he discovered the power of proper palpation and muscle recruitment. Now, he says his pain is a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10.
What’s your story? Do you have your own pain and freedom tale? How many of your clients come to you with pain (let me guess: 80%)? Are you able to show them how to help relieve that pain through exercise while remaining within your scope of practice?
Exercise is so much more than the three-legged stool of cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. It’s a doorway to optimal health and wellness.
So think about the pain and freedom paradigm when you’re working with deconditioned clients and participants. If you’ve been lucky enough to be healthy and free from pain most of your life, try to walk a half mile in an obese person’s shoes. During her session “Peak Pilates® for the Obese Client,” Zoey Trap, MSc, urged attendees to carefully assess clients. “When in doubt,” she said, “ask questions.”
She stressed the importance of modifications and had some pretty brilliant ideas on how to get results combining a stability ball with a reformer. She also talked about how dangerous it is to make assumptions when working with obese clients.
“Do not automatically presume that your new client can’t do a roll-up simply because she’s obese,” Trap said. “It’s your job to help her connect with her core musculature and find the juiciness of articulation in the spine.” Trap didn’t mince words when it came to which style of Pilates was more “correct.” “You may come up the hill on one side and I may come up on the opposite side,” she said. “The important thing is that a healthy client meets us at the top
Here’s to a pain-free, movement-happy life for all!