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No Limits: Making Fitness Accessible for All

With Sarah Winchester

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Season 8, Episode 16 | July 2, 2024

Those with a disability, injury, or other physical restriction may feel their fitness options are more limited than they are for others — and the reality is, not all fitness centers are set up in a way that makes it easy to see all that’s possible.

Sarah Winchester, a Dynamic Personal Trainer with a degree in adaptive physical education, works with clients on shifting their mindset from disabilities to capabilities. In this episode, she shares guidance for those individuals and others in their community about the ways they can modify movements, machines, and more to make fitness inclusive and accessible for all.

Sarah Winchester is the personal training leader at Life Time in Frisco, Texas, whose client, Brad Jones, won the 60 Day Challenge in fall 2022 and happens to be paraplegic. Her undergrad is in exercise science, with minors in health and adaptive physical education.

She was a D1 soccer player, teacher, and coach of the Special Olympics who has a passion for fitness and helping others. Sarah has had multiple surgeries herself, initially viewed the injuries leading to them as limitations; working with wounded veterans and other individuals with disabilities has helped her shift her mindset from disabilities and limitations to capabilities.

Sarah is married with four kids ages 8, 9, 10, and 11, who are all passionate about sports and fitness. She grew up in a military family — her dad was an E-7 Sergeant First Class — and she was therefore surrounded by veterans, many of whom struggled with injuries as a result of combat. This inspired Sarah’s passion for helping others through fitness.

In this episode, Winchester offers several key takeaways, including the following:

  • Consider the state of your mindset first. Winchester shares that her client, Brad, who went on to win the Life Time 60 Day Challenge, first said that challenge was something “I can’t do.” Because she understood his mental starting point, she was able to then build his physical program around that and lead him toward that accomplishment in a way he was comfortable with.
  • Focus on what you can do versus what you can’t. For instance, if you’re missing a limb and therefore can’t squat, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a class with programming that features squats; perhaps you can do hinge movements instead. Find a coach who can help you consider movement variations.
  • Look at your space and consider the options. Sometimes all it takes is opening our minds and thinking creatively to see more possibilities. For example, just because the cables on a cable machine are set too high to reach doesn’t mean you can’t use the machine, you may just need to lower the cables.
  • If you can’t see the options yourself, ask someone! Winchester notes that Brad completes a metabolic assessment, which is typically done on a treadmill, on a bike. She shares that as an example of modifications people often don’t know Life Time team members can help them make.

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Transcript: No Limits: Making Fitness Accessible for All

Season 8, Episode 16  | July 2, 2024

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The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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