Some of the customers at the Vibra-Train studio where I work have disabilities. No, I don’t just mean they don’t listen when I instruct them or forget the poses from one session to the next I mean they have real physical and/or mental disabilities and they come in two or three times a week (same as other customers) to workout on the vibration machines or to do a vibration therapy session.
One of these customers has been very regular lately, coming three times each week no matter if he’s feeling well or having a “bad” day where he can barely get out of bed. On Wednesday he came into the studio very slowly, stooped over and saying he hadn’t come the previous day as he’d been too unwell but he didn’t want to miss his session so he’d come in today despite quite bad muscle aches from his condition.
While I can feel some empathy I didn’t dwell on his illness instead telling him firmly, “Okay, now get onto the machine and let’s do your work-out”.
Later he thanked me and said that’s the reason he’d come in despite feeling very achy. He knew he’d get no special treatment or allowances from me but would be expected to do the Safety Program to the best of his ability. In his case he is only able to do a Basic Squat position supported by holding onto the side handlebars of the Level 2 Vibra machine. Because of his condition he can’t always manage the 60 seconds of the squat so we do as long as he can hold the position perfectly with three repeats. This means he drives his car or gets someone else to drive him 20km across town for just three times 30-60 second squats.
What does this tell you? Obviously Vibration Therapy is working for him.
And yesterday he thanked me for pushing him so hard, for expecting him to put in his best effort and for not dwelling on what he can’t do but on what he can. He’s come to understand that he will feel discomfort during the squats on the machines but that this is no different to what every customer feels. In many ways he’s simply a regular customer. And the bonus of expecting his best effort yesterday, he asked for and was able to do a fourth squat position instead of the three he normally does. He left feeling fatigued but mentally enlivened, knowing he’d have to rest for a few hours but would feel more flexible and alert the next day. This is the benefit for him, not a cure but a way to strengthen weakened muscles and a path to improved overall fitness physically and mentally.