Can someone tackle a chronic health problem, such as back pain, and use the opportunity to improve their fitness level and reduce their weight? A client of mine here in Ottawa for both my Physiotherapy and Personal Training services successfully managed to make all those changes.
Monique spent four years working with an Orthopedic Specialist and a Chiropractor to address a chronic lower back condition. Even though she felt she was receiving excellent care, she was not making the progress she hoped for and believed that it was time to try another approach. She also wanted to use the opportunity to change other aspects of her health.
Monique came across my website while doing a Google search for a Physiotherapist with a fitness or Personal Training background in the Ottawa area.
When we first met she told me about her back problem and stated that she wanted to “remake” herself. I sensed that Monique was committed to the changes she needed to make to improve her health and well-being.
I completed her initial evaluation and we reviewed the results together. We agreed to the following:
- She was carrying too much fat and we needed to reduce her weight.
- We would address her back problem with an exercise program that incorporated strength exercises.
- She would modify her eating habits.
Monique and I agreed on the following action plan:
- Increase her protein, fruit and vegetable intake. Monique needed a more balanced food mix. She needed the right nutrients to support her goals.
- Establish small achievable goals, which included getting up and moving every half hour. Sitting and moving in ways that supported her back as well as taking Omega 3 and drinking plenty of water.
- Daily walks that gradually increased in distance and pace over time. Monique was doing very little exercise when we first met. A daily walking routine is a great start.
- Incorporate strength exercises into her routine. Like most inactive people, Monique needed to increase her strength. This was particularly important given her history of back pain.
- Since Monique lives in a small community just outside of Ottawa (with limited access to gym facilities) her exercise program should be home based. We both wanted to make sure that she had no excuse not to exercise!
How did Monique do? Did she stick with her exercise and nutrition programs and achieve her goals?
Here is Monique’s step-by-step progress plan:
- Meet Regularly with Your Fitness Professional: Monique and I met once a week for the first three weeks to get her started. Follow-up sessions were spread further apart to encourage independence.
- Commit to Change: Her commitment to personal change overcame her resistance to exercise regularly. She forced herself to complete her prescribed walking and strength exercises.
- Reenergize: Her back felt worse when she missed her morning walk and her energy lagged. She was finally getting hooked on feeling reenergized!
As you can see in her photos, Monique is well on her way to her personal transformation.
In Monique’s words:
“Well being is the natural result of putting exercise first in your daily routine.”
Monique has not had a flare up of her back pain for several months.