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Getting to fit (old back injury) - Recommend a trainer/therapist

Original post made by MiddleAgedLad, Palo Verde, on May 28, 2007

I am seeking a recommendation for a trainer/physiotherapist(s).

Basic facts: I'm in my early 40s and healthy but 25-30 lbs over ideal weight. I've accumulated a couple of injuries (back and shoulder) that are impediments to pursuing a standard exercise program. I suffered a lower back injury (chopping wood) 15 years ago. While my back is stable from doing yoga and light exercise (recumbent bike, walking), the combination of the weight and the injury has made it difficult to get back to being fit enough to manage my weight.

I've tried a couple of trainers and have been disappointed in their capabilities in terms of understanding injury. I am looking for someone who has coached people back from back injuries to full flexibility and fitness safely. I am happy to work with the combination of a sports clinic and a fitness trainer.

I am not seeking to run marathons/triathalons, simply regain some flexibility, lose enough weight to be able to run safely. Would like to work with a trainer to build a program, supplement with physiotherapy.

Would be great to get some pointers...Thanks in Advance.


Comments (5)

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Posted by dott31
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 28, 2007 at 4:16 pm

My elderly husband has been very much helped by a mature, skilled, and caring trainer at Agile in PA. His name is Dave.

Like this comment
Posted by Kettlebell fan
a resident of Downtown North
on May 30, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Checkout Mark Reifkind downtown on Hamilton at the corner with High. Kettlebells are transforming my life. I've been a runner, yoga, and qigong enthusiast for years. But this is adding a whole new dimension. Such a simple and elegant technology (looks like a bowling ball with a handle on it.)

Web Link

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Posted by Theresa
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2007 at 11:28 am

I'm a big fan of Carl Sipes' at Heptagon Fitness. I have also worked out with Mark (mentioned in the post above) a few times and like him as well.

I've had some fairly serious spinal issues the last few years, and Carl has kept me in shape while I heal. He has also worked with my physical therapist (Jen at Agile Physical Therapy -- she's great, as is Tony) so that my workouts are not conflicting with P.T.

Another recommendation for back/spine issues is Dr. Joel Saal at the Sports Orthopedic and Rehab clinic in Redwood City ( I was in terrible pain when I found him, and he worked hard to diagnose and treat me.

Losing weight will help you considerably. My new motto is, "Move it or lose it!" I hope you find the help you want.

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Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 1, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Hi Middle-age Lad,

I'm a few years older and do have back/spinal problems, however, I began working out again at the 24-Hour Fitness in Mountain View.

While weightlifting isn't necessarily "fun," the fun begins after a 20 - 30 minute weightlifting and maybe short run around the parking lot

I've worked out my entire life but stopped a year ago. So I just restarted.

Here's my attitude about working out. Do not beat yourself up in the weight room. Do about 12-15 different machines (for chest, lats, legs, arms, back, shoulder). Put on enough weights so that it’s comfortable. Clear your mind while weightlifting. Think differently. Do not let negative thoughta seep in - remember, it's your choice, positive, happy or otherwise.

THEN, Jacuzzi, steam room, dry sauna and pool. For about 1.5, hours rotate all around those taking showers in between. When you're sweating, get in touch with the unknown, the spirit world, God, challenge yourself to think differently. Get off your routine kind of thinking. Feel and pass on good energy. During this period, realize that there is much that we don't know about life, as opposed to what we know or think we know. Invite God, the spirits, what and whoever you feel to allow you to EXPERIENCE good, positive, healing energy, and that you are going to have a fantastic life. This isn’t difficult and again, it’s a choice. A good book to read is There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne Dyer. I’m not talking religion nor is he.

After you take your last shower, dress and groom, when you leave the fitness center, you will be a new person - EACH TIME, TOO.

Okay, that's what happens for me. Here's passing on the good energy to you.

Andy Freedman

Like this comment
Posted by jessica
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2007 at 11:53 pm

Hi MiddleAgedLad,
There are a lot of good trainers out there; goodness of fit with personalities is one of the considerations that many people forget when they are looking for a good trainer. I can recommend some good trainers, but what may be more helpful are some guidelines for hiring a trainer. First and foremost: look for a trainer with an education in exercise science, exercise physiology or a related field. The trainer should also have had some coursework in injury prevention, managment and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, there are no licensing requirements or national standards for what it takes to call oneself a personal trainer, so the field has attracted many people of questionable background and even sketchier ability. Look for an accredited certification: the American Council on Exercise, the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine all offer certifications that are only granted upon the completion of a college degree. ACE, for example, offers a specialty certification for trainers who work in clinical environments like PT clinics called the "clinical exercise specialist" and it requires that people who hold it safely work with people who are affected by chronic diseases and injuries. If you have doubts about a trainer, ask them if they have experience working with people who have similar health issues. A good trainer will ALWAYS ask about your health history and use that information -- as well as your feedback -- in determining an exercise program for you. A good trainer should also possess CPR and first aid certifications. If you are overwhelmed with choices, a good place to start asking for more recommendations is your physician. Many orthopods work with trainers of their own and can point you in the right direction.

Finally, one of the best low impact ways to lose weight in order to increase the intensity of a workout routine is swimming. You will be working against constant resistance, your weight will be supported by the water and swimming can help develop core strength. I hope that helps!

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