After years of intense bodybuilding training as well as giving birth to five kids, Lisa began to experience pain from all that her body had been through. She made the choice to begin training with Amber Butler, a personal trainer at O2 Fitness Park West. Through consistency, patience, and teamwork, Lisa's pain is now completely gone and she feels stronger, healthier, and more confident than ever. Read on for Lisa's incredible journey with the help of her trainer, Amber!
Describe your fitness level before meeting with Amber.
I considered myself to be experienced having been an athlete all my life, and I had even competed in the bodybuilding circuit previously. I started working with Amber about 8 weeks after the birth of my 5th child (all c-sections).
Before meeting with her, what were the main problems keeping you from being successful?
I initially started experiencing tightness and pain in my shoulders and hips while training for my competition several years ago, and the issues became worse throughout the years. I gave birth to 2 more children during this time, and the pain in my hips became intolerable during my final pregnancy. I tried chiropractic care, ART (active release technique), and dry needling. These methods only provided temporary relief. I knew there must be underlying issues I needed to fix. Amber came highly recommended by another mother who had worked with her in the past, so I gave her a try.
How did training with Amber help you with these problems?
Amber identified a few issues with my movement patterns at my initial evaluation, and she suggested a plan of action to correct these issues as well as meet my goals to lose the baby weight and gain muscle/strength. I have to admit, I was highly skeptical when I first started working with Amber. I felt the workouts she started me with were more for a beginner, and as I said, I considered myself an advanced exerciser. When I voiced my concerns, Amber was very patient with me and explained clearly the why behind her workouts. I put my trust in her, and it was the best decision I ever made.
Amber has helped me fix each issue she identified at my initial evaluation. We have uncovered new things throughout our time together as sometimes smaller problems can be masked by bigger problems, but I am no longer in pain. I have drastically increased my range of motion improving the way I move both in and out of the gym. Amber's workouts have allowed me to increase strength more quickly than on any other program. Of special note, she has helped me significantly improve pelvic floor and core strength... something every mother needs. Amber says we are always post-partum regardless of how long ago we had a baby, and I believe she is exactly right.
How are things better for you now, including other aspects of your life?
My quality of life has improved in so many ways. When I trained for competitions, I gained a lot of muscle, but it wasn't necessarily functional muscle. It just looked good. The body she is helping me create is one that moves freely without pain. It can haul a toddler and infant up and down the stairs with ease as well as set new personal records deadlifting. I don't go to bed feeling years older than I am because of my aches and pains. I can roll out of bed in the morning ready to start my day instead of sliding out hunched over because my back is so stiff.
I have also developed a new appreciation for my body and increased my self-confidence. I developed some very poor body image issues during my brief time in the bodybuilding circuit. Just browsing social media can create poor body image issues. I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish over the past 7 months, but it has nothing to do with how I look. Sure, I have lost weight and gained muscle. I'm wearing a smaller size, and I look toned and athletic now. What I am most proud of is that I don't just look athletic. I am athletic.
What do you enjoy most from your sessions with Amber?
It would be hard to narrow down what I enjoy most about my time with Amber to just a single thing. Amber really cares about her clients. She invests a great deal of time in research and programming to give her clients the best possible experience. I am always learning something new from Amber. She pushes me to work past those points in my workouts when I think I don't have anymore, and I leave the gym surprising myself. Perhaps, my favorite thing about Amber is her big heart. It's evident in conversation, in the effort she puts into her job, and in the care she takes with each client's health.
What is your favorite workout or exercise she has introduced you to?
My favorite movement to perform with Amber is the Clean. It still makes me nervous to perform, and I have a long ways to go in perfecting my form but it makes me feel so powerful and confident. I would never have attempted the Clean nor thought I could do it without Amber's encouragement. I look forward to many more firsts with Amber.
When it comes to inspiration, it goes both ways between Lisa and Amber. "Lisa is not only an inspiration to me but she is an example of what a coach dreams of in an athlete! " Amber said. "Lisa is a a great communicator and a great listener. These two attributes are key in the coach and athlete relationship to carry out the programming prescribed. Her success and her growth as a person has filled my heart with great gratitude! Lisa is a force - look out world!"
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