Overcoming Physical Limitations through Personal Training

“For years I have struggled with low back pain. It began after a car accident left me with two herniated discs. The chronic pain constrained my overall fitness and recreational life. I came to RVC last summer hoping to finally correct the issue and overcome the physical limitations it had imposed on me.

Right away I began looking forward to my visits to the gym. I started working with Alex Blakeman, who is one the Club’s personal trainers who came recommended by a friend.

My sessions were a lot of fun, but also more challenging than I expected. I discovered how limited my mobility really was. Even though I was staying active, I had developed dysfunctional movement patterns that worsened over the years as my body avoided putting pressure on my lower back and spine.

Working with Alex enabled me to turn this around. She helped strengthen my core and posterior chain, allowing me to recruit muscle groups that had been laying dormant.

The new movement patterns I developed in our sessions started to take hold in my daily life as well. With a mix of CrossFit and weight training, Alex kept things fun for me.

I began to develop an interest in all things fitness. After a couple months, my back issues began to subside. It wasn’t all easy. I had to work through the pain, but I was able to do it in a safe and measured way with Alex’s guidance.

With most of my pain at bay, I began to take advantage of my improved mobility. I started taking yoga classes, and found myself going to the gym on a daily basis.

I wasn’t just going out of discipline either. I was really enjoying all that RVC had to offer. I love the steam room and the cold plunge. I also warmed up on the cardio equipment upstairs before jumping into my CrossFit workouts downstairs. It was a great place to visit — never mind the health benefits.

It’s been almost a year since I began here at RVC, and I haven’t lost interest at all. Working with Alex continues to be fun, and I just started working with Chris Pearson on Olympic weight lifting, as well. I had never even touched a barbell before last year, and now it’s one of my favorite activities. I even set up a power rack in my garage, and I have been teaching friends some basic lifts.

Alex and Chris have taught me a lot through their coaching, but I’ve also been guided by other RVC members and staff. The community within RVC is very supportive. I never feel uncomfortable trying new things here. One day, I was working on deadlifts and Julie Christian introduced herself and coached me on my form.

I’ve also been invited by trainers like Scott Prince and Anthony Vorachak to join them in their own workouts.

When I was trying to learn muscle ups, three different CrossFit coaches spent one-on-one time with me. It took weeks, but it all paid off when I finally got up over the bar.

Just about everyone I encounter at RVC is eager to engage and encourage.

I now have a fresh perspective on the benefits of a gym membership. I even joined a second gym in Burlington for when I’m working up there. I also love trying out new gyms when I travel.

Fitness and health are great reasons for joining a gym. But, once you discover how much fun you can actually have exercising, these benefits just become a nice bonus.”
Chris Mazzarella

What’s your fitness story?

If you’ve overcome a challenge, are in the process of achieving a goal, battling through a recovery, or celebrating a success, we want to hear from you! If your story is selected, we will waive one month of membership dues. You will also be featured on Club social platforms, our website, as well as electronic and print news. Learn more

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What our members say

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Whether you’re just starting out, trying to get back into a routine, or are feeling frustrated with your current regimen: Your fitness journey is your own. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

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‘Can’t’ is no longer in my vocabulary, and I have a sense of pride in my ability to work toward a goal and not only achieve it, but often exceed it.