Last week I received a letter from my previous fitness facility. I was reluctant to address the matter in this public forum, however new issues have come to light, and I feel compelled to respond. I want others to learn from my fitness blunder and hope to thwart the same issues from plaguing another amputee.
In addition to my other limb issues, I have been concerned about an area of numbness
which began to manifest several months ago. During an appointment with
my prosthetist yesterday, I brought the issue to his attention. After an
examination, I received a diagnosis that left me stunned. I have severe
nerve damage in my stump which has left me without feeling in the area
the size of a grapefruit.
After discussing the scenarios
which might lead to this injury, we were both left with no
doubt that I am dealing with the aftermath of my ill-equipped
trainers.The repeated lateral movements which forcibly pushed my limb
against my socket wall did not slim my thighs but did crush the nerve.
Had I insisted that the trainers consult with my prosthetist, I would not
be dealing with this issue!
I am angry at myself for not being more aggressive in my requests
they collaborate with my prosthetist. I should have insisted, and I
should have been a better self-advocate. Speaking up to defend myself
against somebody whom I perceive to be an expert has never been my
strength. I trusted that they were competent and that they knew better
I will assume some of the blame, but a large
portion lies with the "experts" whom I trusted. Clearly out of their
comfort and knowledge zone, they should have researched below knee
amputee fitness. A quick Google search would have yielded a wealth of
information including a warning to avoid high impact lateral movements.
I learned a valuable lesson through my experience at this
gym. Not only do I need to trust my instincts, but I need to become
more assertive when I disagree with an expert. When it comes to my limb
health, I have a better insight than anybody!
Fueled by my latest fitness setback, allow me to take this
opportunity to respond to the letter I received from R, the gym owner.
He wrote that he hadn't seen me in months and "would genuinely like to
know the reason why."
Well R, you asked!
I am not coming back to your facility because I have lost all
trust in your abilities as both a trainer and a nutritional expert. I
went into your gym with an open mind and an eagerness to achieve my
goals. I was honest about my abilities and my limitations. I believed
that you could help me.
In hindsight, I should have seen
the red flags immediately. During the first week I was instructed to
consume 2100 calories with the promise of losing weight. According to my
calculations, and those of every expert whom I consulted, that
consumption paired with the exercises that I was doing would result in a
weight loss of .6 pounds a week.
That minuscule loss is unacceptable, especially considering that I was paying you $165 a week to help me achieve my weight loss goals.
When your calculations were questioned I was told that "we're just
trying to figure it out" and that "it'll take a few weeks to get your
caloric intake determined." For the amount of money I was paying I
expected you to deliver results, not delay my progress.
I began to ponder, did you really have my best interest or were you trying to thwart my progress in an attempt to continue my patronizing
your facility. The slogan "One Client. One Trainer. One Goal" was not
reflected in your actions and your nutritional advice. I began to
believe that we did not hold the same goal!
During the work-outs, which by the way were supposed to be 45
minutes but were habitually cut short to 30, I tried to enlighten you
about the issues of exercising with a prosthesis. I was told to "toughen
up" and to "stick it out." I did, and I ended up with cuts, bruises,
sores, abrasions and crushed nerves. I know the difference between the
discomfort that comes from working muscles and limb pain. I resent that
you did not believe me.
When I said that I needed to get a prosthetic sock for my
limb because I could no longer bear weight within my socket, I was told
to "run to the car, not walk." R, if you understood prosthetics you
would have realized that if I could have run at that moment in time, I
wouldn't have needed the sock! However, despite numerous offers, nobody
contacted my prosthetist to discuss the healthiest way to approach
You were supposed to be the expert, yet I was the one who had to
constantly provide the education. Some movements are simply painful and
dangerous for an amputee to perform. I should have been heeded and you
should have made an attempt to learn and to adapt.
Your offer of "two free weeks with us but also get
8 weeks of one-on-one training, nutritional consultations, and a heart
for only $1397" is utterly laughable. To point out the obvious, I
already bought the heart rate monitor from you. Why would I need to buy
another? You might provide "nutritional consultations" but, unlike what
you imply, you are not a nutritionist. I prefer to patronize somebody
who has the credentials to substantiate their touted "expertise."
I have found a new gym and have been reaping phenomenal results.
My new trainers asked for permission to consult with my prosthetist
during our first session. They admitted that they haven't worked with an
amputee and voiced a willingness to learn. I respected them immediately
for their honesty!
I no longer feel like my results are being manipulated and I feel
that my views are respected. I am happy where I am going and, despite
your generous offer of only charging $1397, I am not now, nor will I
ever, return or recommend your facility.