Pushing Through Grief With a Personal Trainer
It will be twenty years since I found myself a widow, caring for three children; the grief and stress of the days that followed can only be summed up as horrible. I read that exercise was a great way to push through the grieving process, so I joined a gym. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed working out, and Maurice is one of the biggest reasons. And so, reflecting back on my own experience, I asked Maurice to share with us some of his personal observations of those he assisted both physically and emotionally.
Throughout my 10-plus yrs of personal training. I have been blessed to be able to effect lives on many levels, which has allowed me to grow, and really put the Personal into personal training. One of the most profound ways that I have been able to affect and produce change in people's lives has actually been more on the social, emotional level as opposed to the physical level. Namely during times of bereavement and grief. Of course everyone handles things differently and in their own way, but I noticed that during those times, one of the best things that I can do, is to provide an outlet for them to release their Hurt, Anger, Frustration, Fear and Anxiety. I understood this process all to well in dealing with a number of deaths, and the biggest thing I realized is that people aren't looking for advice, but rather an individual to use as an outlet, being there so that one can transfer and release their burdens upon. Working out provided that catalyst. The appointments provided a sense of accountability and reliability. The sessions also allowed them to release and not have the responsibility of not having to think. I would do the thinking for them and take on the role of being almost the parent, friend or " sane n stable " mind for them. In combination, it allowed them to have a environment that had no real obligation or personal attachment to so they could just be free.
A client, one of many, entrusted her emotional vulnerability to me during a tragic time, a young Latina, named "Asia" . She had a miscarriage of her first child and because of her and her fiance's age and inexperience, they both were at a loss of how to handle the situation outside of counseling. The end result left them divided, wedding called off and her left to deal with the loss on her own; this was a tough situation because she did not have him to lean on and the majority of her family lived out of state. A mutual friend told her that maybe she needed a hobby or something to do that would keep her mind off of things. Asia came to me for training, and once I learned of her situation and having some experience with similar situations with others I knew that I had to figure something out.
What made her go, and what was her emotional ceiling?, some people can't deal with the loud and boisterous trainer, others need different methods to get pushed and motivated. Asia's new found love and escape became Boxing. She was hurting, feeling abandoned and angry, boxing was the catalyst that provided her the release she needed. Boxing and having to memorize punch combinations took away her need to find ways to fill her thoughts, punching gave her a release to let go of her anger and tire herself out. Not only did training transform her body, it eased her mind and provided a release of her emotional pain and rage. We have since developed a great bond, and because of Asia's success, her co-worker and a cousin now train with me.
One person in particular, who I will call "Frank" was a client of mine whom I've known for a few years, he was dealing with the suicide of his Nephew, he was actually the one who found him. Very, very tragic... during his process of grieving the emotions of hurt, hate and disappoint began to take over his life and he was in a bad place. After a few weeks of mourning he reached out to me saying he NEEDED to get some Lifts [workouts] in. Because he could not think straight, sleep or stay focused. My thought process was to only be a outlet for him and to find ways to challenge him that would force him to have to dig deep within himself and release that built up tension. I also realized time after time that the Social and Emotional aspect of physical exercise would provide a focal point for release. So workouts that involved activities like medicine ball slams and tire flips were great. I would tell Frank that I wanted 20 ball slams and with each slam he had to either verbally yell a phrase, word or name that was weighing on him. By slamming the ball he would release himself of that name, burden or feeling. He loved it, as well as the use of the combat/battle ropes. My process was to have him do the ropes to a point of near exhaustion and when he thought he had nothing left, I would then say things to him to empower him, e.g.," Keep Fighting for more if you want more, Keep going if you Believe in the better version of You" Frank and I have been friends now going on 9yrs now. My name is Maurice McCormick, most people call me Mo for short and I have been doing personal training for 10+ years. It initially started as a part time job for some extra money on the side while I stayed in shape to play semi-pro football. This side gig soon turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Once laid off from my main job six months later, I was left with personal training as my only source of income. Whether out of the necessity or the frustration of losing a job, my love for personal training was non existent. That is until I met this older Italian gentleman, he had poor movement, was obese, and made me recognize just how important training is and the impact that it can have on someone's life. More importantly, the impact it has on their entire life and the knowledge that I am partial responsible for their improved health, just by doing my job. By transforming this mans life, I gained his trust and that of his son and daughter, who I trained to get into the NYPD and as a federal parole officer. The Greatest feeling in the world to see someone reach their goals, to do things and move in ways they haven't moved or done in years, or simply not strain when they are doing laundry, moving groceries or just walking up stairs. The physical routine not only plays a factor in overall body mechanics but the workout also serves as means of release, an escape in and by its' own means as therapy. I've been privileged to work with children through local school programs, using training as a means to enhance aspects of Social Emotional Learning.
I train and work with people online on many platforms and continue to expand my personal training company as a whole.
It is absolute truth when they say that Health is Wealth...it truly is.
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