In 1993 Brandon Flowers made a major career change. A catastrophe claims representative and supervisor for years, when the corporate climate shifted in a new direction, Brandon decided he would, too. This former college shot-putter and discus thrower had never lost touch with his active lifestyle, and since moving to California he had discovered personal fitness training. “This attracted my attention as a unique way to motivate people toward a healthier lifestyle, and also an opportunity to be a teacher and mentor,” Brandon says.
Almost 10 years and three industry certifications later, Brandon co-owns The Dynamic Advantage, a group strength training program for cancer survivors that uses elastic resistance tubing to improve posture, body awareness, balance, bone density and functional strength. Since most of his clients have unique needs, Brandon approaches program design in a unique way. “We evaluate an individual’s mobility level and conditioning, especially as it relates to treatment-related fatigue from chemotherapy, radiation or even surgery,” he says.
Part of The Dynamic Advantage’s success—the company has introduced more than 400 people to the benefits of resistance training since 1996—is its mission to incorporate all fitness levels, as Brandon explains. “We work with the wheelchair-bound as well as their apparently healthy team members. Since elastic tubing is used in multiple levels of resistance, no one is ever excluded from an exercise.”
As The Dynamic Advantage grows, so does its reputation, leading to increased interest and respect from the allied health community. “The participants are primarily referred by their physicians, who have developed a growing level of trust in our program,” Brandon says. “Another key to our success is that three of our programs are fully supported with grants, making them free to cancer survivors and their support teams.”
Along with his business partner, Rick Caputo, Brandon focuses on challenging all areas of the body while making learning concepts easy to understand. “Compared to large machines in a health club, elastic tubing helps lessen the intimidation factor,” he says. “Every session is conducted in an open area large enough to accommodate six to 20 people. The group is kept together and focused by timing each set rather than counting repetitions.”
Seeing positive results among his clients energizes Brandon. He relates the story of one client who particularly inspires him. “We’ve been working with a man in his mid-70s for more than 2 years. In addition to battling cancer, he has pre-existing conditions that have significantly limited his mobility. When he began working with us, he had to use a walker to ambulate. Now he can use a cane for shorter walks because his balance, coordination and strength have improved. He travels more than 15 miles on city buses or community access vans to reach us. Others see the hurdles he overcomes and are inspired by his persistence.”
At the end of the day, when Brandon is battling his way through Los Angeles traffic and resolving business matters in his head, the one thing that keeps him going is knowing he has a direct impact on other people’s lives. He urges fitness professionals to stay abreast of trends and research and never lose sight of why they chose fitness as a career in the first place. “Be active in your own education,” he says. “Find speaking, teaching and networking opportunities where you can help others discover the benefits of becoming active. When people see that fitness doesn’t have to be intimidating, they look at their trainer or instructor as their main source of guidance down a path that [can] offer an extensive amount of misinformation. The more you help people get what they want, the more you’ll get what you want.”
What have you done that’s inspired people to exercise? Do you have a client or class that inspires you? Send an e-mail, letter or fax telling us your story. We’ll be publishing your ideas in upcoming issues.
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