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Fitness and Personal Empowerment

Needing change. One of the most common reasons people work with a personal trainer is to lose weight. Not for Katie. By age 29, she had devoted countless hours to becoming a successful real estate agent on Martha’s Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She was rewarded for her efforts with professional and financial success but at the expense of her physical and emotional health. The young entrepreneur had become overstressed, overworked and underrested, and knew she needed a change. Grudgingly, Katie agreed to join a friend for a meeting with personal trainer and holisitic health and nutrition coach Griffin Hughes Douglas.

Facing fears. “The first session was interesting,” recalls Douglas. “Katie was very shy. I could tell that her friend dragged her to my studio, and she was nervous.”

Douglas facilitated a few assessments to better understand Katie’s physical state. She noticed postural discrepancies, specifically chest tightness and weakness in Katie’s back. Douglas suggested that the two clients opt for a 6-week partner program to start, followed by a reassessment of progress and interest.

“Katie had a lot of reservations about committing to a program because of her work demands,” Douglas says. “She was frightened of failure and by how much extra planning this would take, and she needed help caring for her dog so she could go to training directly from work.”

To assuage her concerns, Douglas suggested that they meet for 30 minutes a few times per week. Katie reluctantly agreed to try the program.

Going solo. “In the first session, I learned that Katie could not perform a basic squat, push-up or plank in a safe and successful way,” says Douglas. “Those three exercises became our starting point, and I set three goals: performing a perfect 30-second plank; holding an optimal squat pattern for 1 minute; and doing 10 solid push-ups. We also took body fat measurements and waist, arm, thigh, hip, chest and neck measurements.”

Throughout the first few sessions,
Douglas could sense Katie’s stress. “Katie was getting very frustrated with her partner, who started most sessions standing on her head, as well as stretching by doing advanced yoga poses.”

At the end of the first 6 weeks, Douglas gently suggested that the two women train separately because each presented with vastly different physical capacities. They agreed.

Shedding weakness. Katie had difficulty with the workouts, and often expressed frustration during them, but Douglas says her client never gave up. “I kept our sessions moving with little or no rest, using TRX® mixed with body weight exercises. Katie had a lower-back dysfunction due to a very weak core. She struggled with cardio intervals and would get pissed off at me and herself. However, she would always pick herself up and be open to trying whatever I threw at her.”

Douglas recalls that Katie turned a corner after she’d received uplifting comments from her father about her appearance and improved posture. At that point, the once timid client began to thrive.

“Finally, after about 6–8 months, Katie could do 10 perfect push-ups, which was a huge goal for us. She could hold side planks for 30-second intervals in great form and complete jump squats and recover wonderfully.”

Living fully. Douglas and Katie continue to work on improvements in strength and stamina, and Katie couldn’t be happier with her progress. “She tells me that she is now so strong, but that there’s always room for improvement,” says Douglas. “Katie is ecstatic because she says that all she had to do was commit to 30 minutes, three times a week, to completely change her life.”

These physical improvements affected her entire well-being. “Katie told me that in 1 year, she grew her business exponentially and fixed her personal life, and she feels like she can handle anything that comes her way because she is committed to herself now.”

“Just show up,” adds Katie. “Nothing can happen until you do.”

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