Training The Heart In More Ways Than One
At the JCC, I don’t feel like I’m training clients, I feel like I’m helping to improve the quality of life of my family members.” –Eric De La Cruz, JCC Personal Trainer
In addition to being an experienced personal trainer with many certifications, Eric De La Cruz is a talented musician. He is known to turn down lucrative opportunities that would lend his talents to other projects or companies in favor of his work at the Shames JCC. In his words, “nothing could be more rewarding as a human being” [than working at the Shames JCC]. Eric’s personal training clients tend to have injuries or limited physical abilities and his goal is to improve their quality of life.
When one of Eric’s recent clients began training at the JCC, he was overweight, was being monitored for pre-diabetes, and was considered to have poor cardio-vascular health. He also struggled to stand unassisted and relied on the use of a cane to get around. His doctor recommended knee surgery, but within only two months of training with Eric, he no longer needed the cane, or surgery. He regained muscle strength and flexibility in his knees, improved his cardio-vascular health, and began enjoying life in ways he hadn’t for years. His transformation however, while incredible, is not why Eric considers the JCC to be a special place. Eric says that over the course of working together, his client became like a family member to him. They shared stories and got to know each other during their sessions.
They worked hard but also laughed at each other’s jokes and stories. Their connection became the driving factor in the client’s path to “recovery.” Eric believes that the JCC encourages connection and a sense of community that cements the bonds between members and staff. “[My work ] is not about my wallet, it’s about something that is priceless… When I see, before my own eyes, a client that has become like family to me make huge strides, it boosts my confidence, reminds me of my purpose, and improves my quality of life.” Eric may be a champion in the lives of his clients, but he can’t imagine his life without them, and without the JCC.
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