"Road to Recovery"

Submitted by: Kevin Callender

Kat's Success Story

Although I have worked within the fitness industry for twenty years, working with a trainer is an invaluable part of my fitness regimen. It is obvious that I know my way around a gym by now, however, there are so many other reasons why working with a trainer is important.
Following a wave runner related back injury in late October 2007, I had to take a break from working out due to serious back pain. As someone who’s identity is determined by being physically fit, this was extremely difficult for me to do, and emotionally draining. Therefore, after almost a 3½ month break, I began to return to my regular routine of Pilates and cardio workouts. However, I was also doing so with some residual pain. In May of 2008, I re-injured my back while attempting to learn to surf, and the resulting pain led me to have an MRI to determine the underlying cause of the injury. I was told I had a serious 8mm herniated L5 / SI joint, a bulging disc at L/4 – L/5 and a pinched sciatic nerve! Two different doctors said I would need surgery to alleviate the pain. Having had a father and brother who had undergone the same surgery with minimal results (and a big scar), this was something I wished to avoid at all costs. I was advised to stop working out for the time being, because it was as if I were “picking at a scab”. Therefore, I took yet another break, at the end of which, I had put on a grand total of 20lbs since the original injury due to emotional eating and lack of exercise! I felt like a dentist with bad teeth.
I began going through what I call the Goldie Locks syndrome of trying different trainers to see who could not only help me to work around my injury, but who could keep me motivated and return my faith that I could be strong again. Along the way, I worked out with other people who just gave me the same generic routine they give everyone else, and then stood there during the workout, bored, just counting reps., oblivious to whether or not an exercise was causing me pain. Then I found Kevin Callender. Kevin worked with me to design a workout that would not only AVOID aggravating old injuries, but in fact has helped reduce the symptoms of the past injuries. He encouraged me when I was afraid to try something, as pain and fear of re-injury had made me timid about testing my limits on my own. Kevin was fun and personable during our sessions, but ultimately, he never let me quit. This was probably my favorite thing about training with him. When I hit that 13th rep out of 15 and stopped on my own, other trainers would allow me to move on to the next exercise. Sometimes this was because they were not counting, or sometimes because I said “I can’t”. Kevin always counted my reps (even when I tried desperately to distract him with my charm), and never accepted “I can’t” as a cop out when I was tired. For this, I am so grateful to him. He made training fun for me, and I truly looked forward to our sessions (except for the squats). I was back to my old self“ stronger, and once again looking forward to the rush I get from exercise.
I worked with Kevin for just under six months before he moved out of state, with only about a month’s break due to unrelated health issues. My lean muscle mass has increased, my body fat dropped, and I am finally at the point where I feel strong enough to intensify my cardio routine to take my weight loss to the next level. I can run again, which a year ago I feared I would never do again. There are a few nice ways to compliment someone. Once is to say you learned from them, and another is to say you would work with them again undoubtedly on the spot. Both of these apply to the way I feel about Kevin Callender. I am sad to see him go!