Richard’s Testimonial: How personal training helped him “heal” from life with heart blockage

Hi, Justin,

Well, I finally remembered that I wanted to write you a few notes on my transition from cardio rehab to gym training with you. So, here goes…

I was diagnosed with a major blockage (70-85%) in the lower aortal descending artery (LAD) in September 2020. The cardiologist immediately inserted a stent.

What initiated my visit to the cardiologist were my feelings of super fatigue and frustration after, say, 1 hour’s work outside in the yard. Another worrisome symptom was my inability to walk very far or up hills in my neighborhood without quite a bit of fatigue. My reaction had been to cut back and cut back over the months. I would also take long naps during the day to recover from fatigue.

I decided to face up to my fears of heart problems, and during my yearly physical exam, I asked my GP if I could have a stress test done by a cardiologist. He agreed and did a super close listen to my heart. He said he heard a couple of carotid bruits. So, I signed on with a cardiologist, had the stress test which showed an irregularity, and then I had a heart catheterization and received a stent.

I then asked to be put on the list for cardio rehab and began in late December. This lasted 3 months, 3 times/week (36 sessions total). During the rehab, I exercised 50 minutes at a graduated pace and was continually monitored with a portable EKG device. My blood pressure was taken at the start of each session, the middle, and at the end of each session. The absolute beauty of the cardio rehab for me (and I heard from my fellow “rehabbers”) was the confidence instilled in us to begin again to exercise naturally and normally without fear of a heart attack. I also saw firsthand how exercise would lower my blood pressure significantly. This confidence led me to begin a program at a gym, first by myself, then with a trainer (Justin Carter). I had exercised by myself for 2 months when I became convinced that I needed expert help to progress beyond the progress I had made in cardio.

With Justin’s expert teachings, guidance, and encouragement, I renewed my confidence to continue lifelong “rehab.” I look at my gym work as a long-term or long-life endeavor, and I’ve been gaining in several ways with only 6+ weeks of training. One way I’ve been gaining is learning many methods of receiving a total-body workout that strengthens my heart by exercising my arms, legs, back, and core, to name the most important. I’m learning how to use multiple exercise machines using the correct form to receive the maximum benefit and to avoid injury. I consider this absolutely essential with my 74-year-old body. Justin utilizes cluster or group exercise routines to keep the pace interesting and dynamic. He also offers exercise accommodations at times to help me deal with arthritis in my knees and hands.

Physical improvements I have noticed since I started my training with Justin are increased strength to do work both inside and outside the house without straining. This has kept me from injuring my back, neck, shoulders, etc., and given me renewed joyfulness because I’m once again able to do the things I want to do. I’m even able to work in the heat better than I could years ago. All of these things have added up to a happier, more confident, and grateful me. Justin’s training has been an important part of this new chapter of life.

Lastly, I feel like I’ve gained a partner in my efforts to “heal” from my life with heart blockage, and to renew my life with renewed hope and optimism.


Richard Shoemaker

June 16, 2021

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