One of the biggest compliments that KY3 Fitness Partner Pamela Hernandez can get is when a client is asked by his or her doctor: “What are you doing? Your numbers are fantastic.” This question can apply to any number, from weight loss to A1C to even kidney function.
Hernandez was ever so pleased when she recently received an email message from a client named Alexis. It was just after a recent visit to her nephrologist. Alexis was diagnosed with a kidney disease known as IGA Nephropathy in 2010. There is no cure for this disease but it can be treated in various ways including exercise and healthy diet. According to Alexis’ doctor, however, few people make the choice to use lifestyle modification in the treatment plan.
Alexis, however, is not like most people. After a round of treatment with immunosuppressant drugs (another treatment option), she found herself at her heaviest and, perhaps, her unhealthiest. Before we met in March 2013, she had high blood pressure, was experiencing daily headaches and, due to sore joints, she struggled to walk up stairs.
Alexis told Hernandez that her low point came last winter at work when the downstairs restroom was closed and she needed to climb the stairs to the second floor. It was raining outside, but I seriously debated going outside and across the street to another building, just to avoid the stairs.
Contacting Hernandez was a present to herself for her 51st birthday. Despite reading every blog post and watching every video, she was still nervous about the idea of hiring a personal trainer.
As she filled out the contact form on the web site, she wondered if she was too out of shape for personal training to even work. Luckily, Hernandez doesn’t believe anyone is beyond hope.
"I believe, if you’re willing to do the work, all things are possible," she said.
Alexis was more than willing to make the small changes that Hernandez asked of her. Sugar and caffeine were her dietary crutches. She believed they were the only way to make it through the exhaustion she felt each day.
Unbeknownst to her, the coffee and candy were making her lack of energy even worse. She and Hernandez attacked sugar first; gradually reducing sweet treats from an all-day affair to once a week or a special occasion.
She also was able to face the fact that dairy wasn’t her friend and was the cause of her stomach issues and spontaneous rashes.
"We built up her exercise routine as we reduced the amount of sugar," Hernandez said.
Alexis was already participating in yoga twice a week, which Hernandez loved. Yoga is great for flexibility, mobility, balance and core. It’s a prefect counter to strength training, which Hernandez added three days a week.
"We started with foundational exercises like body weight squats and chest presses on the stability ball, letting the perfectionist in her practice moves until she felt confident in her execution," said Hernandez. "About every four to six weeks, the program changes to keep challenging her. It’s paid off in her ability to easily hold a two-minute plank and in recently conquering her latest nemesis: the prone jackknife."
Over the last 10 months, Hernandez has watched Alexis change. Not only is her blood pressure lower than it’s been in a decade but she also was recently able to fit into a size 8 pencil skirt that has been languishing in the back of her closet for several years. She’s happy and her doctor is happy.
The doctor said “whatever it is you are doing, it is working. You are completely symptom-free! You aren’t disease free, as it never goes away, but considering that in 2010 we were talking about the likelihood of a kidney transplant by the time you were 60, this is fantastic."
Hernandez says she couldn’t ask for a better result, except to have video of her demonstrating a T-push up in a skirt to her doctor. Hernandez would have loved to have seen his face.
Edited by KY3 News. Original version was posted in Hernandez's blog.