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Updated: Mar 21, 2021

This blog takes us through Jo's journey with two key messages:

1) Looking at injury through a different lens

2) Coaching methodology for athletes

In 2014 Jo sustained a painful back injury; following painful steroid injections and 9 months of rehabilitation she was told that she would never compete at any level of sport again. The specialist recommended ‘gentle swimming’.

In 2017 the back injury returned and a scan showed degenerated disks and posterior facet joint - after seeing the specialist he recommended an urgent operation to provide relief from the pain.

Literally 2 weeks before scheduling surgery Jo was recommended (by her mum) to read a book by Dr Sarno called The Mindbody Prescription. This book articulates how the body can manifest mental trauma by generating pain or illness to divert your mind from inner hurt into physical pain.

The interesting fact is how many people have disc injury but suffer no pain and yet when an MRI scan demonstrates a finding we automatically attribute this to the pain causation.

After some difficult self reflection Jo believed much of her pain was attributed to mental trauma and she declined the surgery.

Jo's determination was to prove this through a grueling fitness challenge defying doctors and medical science. She asked for my help on this journey and put an entry in for Ironman 70.3 Cascais in Portugal. We had 9 months to get her ready. Here were our key areas of preparation:

1) Before we could start any triathlon training we had to assess Jo’s muscle strengths and weaknesses. The anatomy understanding gained in the 'Level 3 Diploma Personal Training' was invaluable. A strength training plan was designed to focus on muscle equilibrium.

2)We then had to look at pathways – Ironman requires significant endurance and we had to understand the energy that would be consumed and how to fuel this. Again accredited PT courses will take you through this nutrition science which can then be put into action

3)Building stamina was a must with the balance of speed and endurance to ensure time caps were met. We built this up carefully and applied the understanding learned to develop aerobic capacity

4) Mobility and body care were essential. Jo undertook much of the mobility work and I performed regular sports therapy such as massage and medical acupuncture which again is a qualification Circle Wellness Academy offers.

5) Finally given the starting point Jo had to build her mental toughness. We worked through podcasts during her training such as Navy Seal mental strength building and listening to motivational people such as David Goggins.

On 30th September Jo completed Ironman Cascais 70.3 in 6 hours 43 minutes. She then went on to complete Ironman Marrakech in 2019 and planned to do Ironman Nice in 2020 before baby Freddie came along. This is the difference when you apply solid knowledge behind the training, it’s sustainable. Being a Personal Trainer can be so much more diverse than gym based coaching.

You may be looking at free personal trainer courses online, or considering how to study an active PT course without going through an affiliated body. I would really encourage you to find a reputational company like Circle Wellness Academy who will support you through your learning (the personal trainer dropout rate is very high), but also help you develop your brand/business as part of the offering. Adapting to Covid-19 we offer one on one coaching with your own portal and your own fitness login/study active student zone.

If you are wondering how to choose a PT Course why don’t you drop me a line and I’ll arrange a call with you.


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