1. What made you decide you wanted to start a program.
I was just finishing cancer treatment for the second time. My doctor referred me to physical therapy saying “85% of cancer patients don’t die of cancer, they die of heart failure because while they are in treatment they get so weak, they never recover physically.” I wasn’t interested in being one of those statistics. The first therapist I saw told me I wasn’t strong enough to be in physical therapy; that I should go home and he would send someone to my house to help me. He never did. I knew I needed help. A year of strong chemotherapy resulted in general weakness and neuropathy in my legs and feet which made balance and walking difficult, I needed guidance and support, physically, nutritionally and emotionally if I was going to get through this recovery period.
2. Had you tried to resolve this issue on your own? If so how was your experience?
I had been through cancer recovery before and I knew it was a long road with lots of setbacks and frustrations. The first time, I lost 53 pounds during treatment and four young children gave me the incentive to get back in shape. This time I gained 25 pounds, which I was not expecting. The children were grown. While it made sense that I was out of shape, considering the amount of time I was in bed, the steroids and the random not always nutritious food, I had never had a weight problem and didn’t really know where to start. I felt terrible about myself in general, and the extra weight was not helping.
3. What results have you achieved since starting the program?
Discouraged is a good word to describe my feeling after the first physical therapy experience. Facing a forced retirement was another issue I was coping with; more evidence of my lack of strength and stamina. After communicating with Mike about personal training, it confirmed my need for physical therapy, and I realized I was going to need more than 30 minutes a week. He offered to help me find a physical therapist who could get me started, then suggested we meet to outline a longer term program which would see me through the next 18 months and include nutrition supervision. Half way through, I have lost about half the weight, relearned my nutrition needs, my balance is much better and some of my confidence has returned. I still get frustrated and discouraged but Max and Mike don’t let me give up.
4. Would you recommend us to someone? If so, why?
Yes, I would. My experience is nothing like the stereotypical “personal trainer” experience I imagined. When I met Mike the first time there was no one else was in the gym which was huge to me. I was cautious about being in public, not walking very well, my hair hadn’t started to grow back, so I didn’t want anyone to see me and he respected my privacy. He also didn’t act shocked when I walked in the door. My vision of big box gym personal trainers made me hesitant about trying anything. I met my new physical therapist and confirmed I needed more support to carry out her guidance. Physical therapy is self driven and the results are a function of how hard I was able and willing to work at home. This self motivation was one of the problems. I was still suffering from significant fatigue, chemo brain and some depression which was being driven by the cycle of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. I didn’t want to “circle the drain” and knew that my next decisions were going to be critical. Looking back, I wish I had met My Path Wellness the day I heard the words “You have cancer.” I believe my treatment months would have been significantly different, nutritionally, emotionally and even physically. As it is, My Path is helping me “pick up pieces” ; some are more difficult than others and not letting me give up on myself.
5. What are the three best benefits of working with a personal trainer at My Path Wellness?
- Helping perfect form
- Customizing exercise regimen for me
- Goal setting, long and short
- Holding me accountable
- No wasted time, so I get maximum results
- Help me form good habits
- Help with nutrition and mental health
- Flexibility with my schedule
6. What do I like best about working with a personal trainer?
I thought it would be rather impossible to find a trainer who understood me, which included my health history, my lack of motivation and confidence, who had a knowledge base of the relationship between exercise, nutrition and cancer recovery and was tenacious enough to not let me give up on myself. Mike assign the right trainer. Max gets me. I don’t know how, but he does.
7. What would you say to someone on the fence about joining our program?
I was on the fence when I talked to a friend about my decision. She asked me this question: “Are you a better version of yourself today than you were a year ago?” I have always kept a journal, so I actually went back and looked at where I was a year ago (physically I knew the answer was “no” but I couldn’t remember what I had struggled with before cancer) I was an 80 hour a week work-a-holic, completely focused on building a school. Yet, all I really wanted to be someday was a wonderful grandmother. Now, the rug had been pulled out from under me, I had made no progress and now had a major setback that could cost me my life. I could not look in the mirror and say “I am better today than I was yesterday”. Mike told me “your life will change when your habits change.” My fitness habits were going to help me become a better version of myself. Physical fitness was going to help me be a more engaged and contributing member of my family and community. It was the key to re-engaging every relationship I had in a “non-cancer patient” way. Today, I am only half way through my program and when I am out in the world, looking at people, I imagine that every person I meet is looking for some way to become a “better version of themselves”. I am sad to think that many of the people I see each day would probably tell me they need either exercise, nutrition or both. If they had the chance and the help of someone like Mike or Max to do that one thing that would help them be a better version of themselves, it would transform the entire country. Lives change when habits change. Every time I walk in the door to My Path, I have the chance to change the habits that will change my life. I have the chance to move the motivation from external (Max telling me what to do and what to eat) to internal (doing what I know I need to and not letting the “voice in my head” talk me out of it) . I would ask that person on the fence the same question my friend asked me. Then I would ask them, what is your health worth to you?
8. Is there something else you’d like to add?
I would say to anyone who is struggling with weight, has a health issue that could be improved by exercise and nutrition to re-evaluate everything in their world and figure out how to make a personal trainer work. Get the right trainer and your life will change when your habits change.