Gaining a workout partner

By Mark S. Price - Contributing columnist
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Did you ever get the kind of news that sent a shock wave through every extremity of your body, bringing new life to your soul? That’s how I felt when my friend Adam Sutphin, a physical therapist and personal trainer, messaged me to meet him at Workout Anytime of Clinton at 9 a.m. one morning at the end of January.

Ever since I left his office at Advanced Physical Therapy, now PIVOT, for the last time in November 2015, we kept in touch through Facebook and Messenger. But I hadn’t seen him for over two years.

It’s kind of ironic that he worked right there in the Northside Plaza, a place I passed by all the time heading home or stopping at Food Lion now and again. But I never stopped by to see him.

When my time at the clinic was winding down, Adam and his colleagues all said to stop by whenever I wanted, just to say hello. But you know how that goes — it’s just a figure of speech. Besides Adam is a doctor of physical therapy. He has other patients to take care of now. He doesn’t need me coming by just to shoot the breeze. While I did go by a couple times for a quick visit, I felt uncomfortable and just never went back.

But then something changed. Adam began communicating with me through Facebook and Messenger on a consistent basis. That’s when I realized, he actually wanted to be my friend.

I have a pet peeve about the social media giant: I can’t stand it when people post mindless, useless garbage on it. Who has time for all that? I certainly don’t. But if it makes you happy, knock yourself out.

I prefer to share things that are meaningful to my life with all my friends out there in Facebook land. It’s called communication. And that’s exactly what Adam and I did. We used Messenger to actually talk to one another, sometimes for a couple hours at a time.

Those conversations were the building blocks used to cultivate our relationship. After we found a common interest in weight training, the camaraderie we shared developed into a full-fledged friendship, which brings me back to the message to meet him at Workout Anytime of Clinton.

Adam doesn’t go into work until 10:45 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he wanted to get a gym membership together so we could become workout partners at least two days a week. Plus, the fact he practically worked next door was very convenient.

I was over the moon! I had been diligently working out with weight training for over two years — alone. I mean, it was all right. I was working out three days a week and beginning to show moderate progress. But I desperately desired more. I wanted a training partner, someone who I could not only be accountable with, but also push each other to do more and celebrate together in our weight training milestones.

That one little message was the answer to my prayers. With the exception of a couple times here and there because one of us couldn’t make it, Adam and I have been working out together every Tuesday and Thursday since the beginning of February.

Since I’m not a fortune teller and I can’t look into a crystal ball to see the future, I don’t know how long our training partnership is going to last. But for now, I’m on “Cloud Nine.”

But I will say, several things have changed since Adam and I both signed up for that gym membership at the end of January. I now workout seven days a week. I’m not happy unless I go to the gym.

And the biggest thing of all — my inner animal is coming out. I have made unbelievable gains as far as muscle growth. I am turning into a beast and loving it.

I am more confident and sure of myself; and I have a new swagger to my step. I feel good about myself again. I do not have to be a victim of my circumstance: being afflicted with cerebral palsy.

My body is getting stronger. My legs aren’t wiggly wobbly any longer. My balance has actually improved, which is an oxymoron since I have a balance problem with my disability. And last but not least, weight training has boosted my non-existent immune system.

All of this is just totally mind boggling to me. Something I never thought possible is actually happening. But none of it would have been possible without the support and consistency of my friend and workout partner, Adam. He has been my biggest cheerleader these past few months. I owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

He has been developing a four-week fitness challenge. I’ve been helping him with it doing editing, formatting, and the like as well as giving him input from time to time. He is almost ready to launch it along with a plethora of freebies to include a meal prep starter kit, transformation cookbook, nutrition guide, calorie counter, and of course four weeks of workouts on an app for your phone.

I was sort of like his guinea pig for the trial run. But after seeing what his challenge has done for me, Adam has gone into hyper drive with so many more ideas of how he can help people reach their fitness goals.

I have actually inspired him to push himself harder, not only with this fitness challenge he’s developed, but also to improve his own fitness goals. He’s been trying to stay one step ahead of me. And he admits it hasn’t been easy.

So gaining a workout partner has been beneficial for both of us. Just like it says in Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Although our partnership has improved both our lives, Adam’s friendship has meant the world to me.

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By Mark S. Price

Contributing columnist

Mark S. Price is a former city government/county education reporter for The Sampson Independent. He currently resides in Clinton.

Mark S. Price is a former city government/county education reporter for The Sampson Independent. He currently resides in Clinton.