Client: Rocky E.
Personal Trainer: Tim Minnick
Location: Gold’s Gym, Cedar Park, Texas
Rocky E. had never set foot inside a gym, much less followed a program to develop his physical fitness. At age 60, weighing 270 and in declining health, he was ready to try something new: He reached out to personal trainer Tim Minnick, a specialist in functional aging and corrective exercise.
Though an older client new to exercise might be daunting to some trainers, Minnick is well-acquainted with late starts. After all, he obtained his first personal training certification when he was 74! Now 77, Minnick has built a successful fitness career with 10 specialty certifications, and he holds the Guinness World Record for oldest active fitness instructor!
“I have been able to train individuals who have had heart transplants, strokes, severe head trauma, cancer and Parkinson’s disease, among others,” he explains.
Minnick has a passion for working with senior clients to improve their functional health and longevity. Given his inspirational journey to fitness and his extensive experience with older clients, he was the perfect trainer to help Rocky reach his health goals.
Rocky’s condition was multifaceted, requiring improvements in strength, endurance, body composition, mobility and balance. Minnick started off slowly with a total-body strength program. “I tried to keep it simple by doing upper-body strength, lower-body strength, core strength and total-body conditioning as a training split,” he explains.
Due to Rocky’s lack of experience, Minnick knew he had to focus on programming and education. “He was unfamiliar with proper movement patterns,” says Minnick. “It took longer to go through each session, [but] that was a good thing because it helped both of us concentrate on proper mechanics.”
Not only was Rocky’s training a helpful lesson in form, but his dietary needs posed new challenges to Minnick, who was still learning the ropes when it came to nutrition. Undeterred by difficulties, this inspired him to obtain his nutrition coach certification.
“That helped a lot because Rocky needed to revise his eating habits,” says Minnick. “He is on an intermittent-fasting eating pattern currently and has buy-in from his doctor as well.”
The combination of functional training and better nutrition propelled Rocky toward greater strength and endurance over the next year.
Thanks to Minnick’s committed guidance and support, Rocky has shed 55 pounds! Training has also improved his overall health. “He is diabetic, and his insulin dosage has dropped in half,” says Minnick. “He is on the right track, and he can do things he never thought possible before.”
For Minnick, this experience was another chance to grow his knowledge, enhance his profession and help another client enjoy better health. But Minnick says fitness involves more than just exercise; it’s also about personal growth and connecting with others. “Work to have empathy with your client,” he advises. “Continue to educate yourself and seek advice from others.”
Most importantly, fitness is about second chances—whether you’re a trainer or a client—which Minnick perhaps embodies best.
“I have a powerful message for the baby boomers,” he says. “Your health and well-being are the baseline of your life and affect your ability to be productive, remain independent and continue doing what you enjoy. Take control of your health!”
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