Limitations? Not for Nancy Perkins…

We all know that working out when you’re healthy is hard enough. Last week you met Meredith and learned how she overcame life’s challenges and an injury on her way to better health. But what happens if you aren’t simply diagnosed with an injury (more times than not injuries heal and you can resume your normal activities), but an actual physical dysfunction? (Ugh, that word doesn’t sit well with me…but unfortunately, sometimes a clinical term is needed for accuracy.)

If you’re Nancy Perkins, you do something you haven’t done before: you start an exercise routine. Yup, you read that correctly…start an exercise program. You see, after countless sleepless nights and chronic shoulder pain, Nancy was diagnosed with early onset osteoarthritis in her shoulder, which limits her range of motion and her ability to carry a load (i.e., lift anything). She’s been told that at some point down the road she will need shoulder replacement surgery. But that point isn’t now. Where many people might use a diagnosis like this as an excuse to quit exercising, Nancy used it as motivation to start.

Not that Nancy wasn’t active before her diagnosis, she’s a top producing Realtor with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Alexandria, so she’s always on the go. She’s an avid skier and paddle boarder, and has an active daughter (whom I also have the pleasure of training) that she has to keep up with. Other than walking, she just had not made time for a structured exercise program in the last 10 years. That is, until now.

Over the past five months I’ve had the opportunity to train and get to know Nancy. In a word, she’s a-w-e-s-o-m-e! She trains with me twice a week and always comes in ready to work. Nancy’s attitude toward our sessions make them fun, but she’s also fun to program for.

With closed chain exercises such as push-ups and planks and any kettlebell work off the menu, it requires that she and I get creative. As you might imagine, Nancy is the “lucky” recipient of a lot of core and lower body work. With all the core and lower body focus, Nancy has some of the best single leg movements of anyone in the gym, yours truly included, and I would stack her muscular stamina up against anyone. She even looks forward to the agility drills I program for her, which is also a ton of fun for me as a trainer to design. Her eyes light up every time I break out the agility ladder or the step risers for different jumping drills.

Nancy says, “I love my workouts at FOR because they make me feel like an athlete, drawing attention to my strengths and not my limitations.”

It’s pretty easy to get a good cardio workout in without putting any stress on your upper body, but if you think you can’t get a good strength workout without weights, come see us at Fitness on the Run. We will quickly put that notion to rest.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m not a fan of the word dysfunction or limitation because rather than seeing “can’t,” I like to see an opportunity. If you can’t lift weights, you can get one heck of strong core, you can work on cardio, and you can improve your agility. If the opposite is true and you have a weak cardiovascular system due to injury or illness, you can work around that, too, and become super strong. Physical limitations needn’t prevent you from working out regularly, it’s just a matter of knowing which exercises to do.


  • The latest from Jason
Sometimes life takes you on a long winding path to your true passion. Having spent more than 17 years in marketing, most recently in healthcare, Jason has decided to give up office life to pursue his life-long passion. An athlete his entire life, Jason wants to share his experience and passion for fitness to help others achieve their health goals and maybe even find the same passion.

Fitness on the Run is Fitness for Life. Combining a focus on strong bodies and strong minds with a robust wellness education program and unparalleled personalized attention, we provide fitness for health, longevity and functionality.

Fitness on the Run
210 N Lee St.,
Alexandria, VA 22314

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