Subject: Brad Ruger

Location: Atlanta

Company: 180 Degrees Fitness

Experience: Five years as a trainer, two years as owner

Maverick Strategy: Brad Ruger spends
20 percent of his work week training brain and spinal cord injury patients at the Shepherd Center and has obtained referrals
to his private practice from the doctors and physical therapists he works with.

Rehab Hospital: At the Shepherd Center, Brad trains people with neurological and spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, amputations and Parkinson’s. He has clients concentrate on practicing activities of daily living and stretching.

The Shepherd Center employs four personal trainers, who are in greater demand as insurance companies become stricter about who can receive physical therapy. The Shepherd Center sets the rates, but the clients pay the trainers. The trainers then give 20 percent of the rate to the facility.

Brad sees himself and the other trainers as “stepping stones.” The clients may not be ready to function as well as they would like once they end physical therapy, and working with Brad and the other trainers allows the clients to still be in contact with the physical and occupational therapists. “I have been able to step in and set them up on programs that enable them to maintain a quality of life that they desire,” Brad said.

Private Practice: Most of Brad’s clients have come from the Shepherd Center or word of mouth. He is currently at his client limit with the 12 people he sees two to four times a week. He goes to his clients’ homes, but is looking to open his own studio in the near future. He has received referrals from physician and physical therapist colleagues at Shepherd Center, though he doesn’t have many former Shepherd Center clients currently.

Quote: “I recently had a client with a spinal cord injury drive for the first time in five years. The work I do is very rewarding.” lIDEA PERSONAL Trainer February 2002