Shortly after beginning to practice family medicine in Blacksburg, I decided to do what I told patients to do. Do strength training. Why? To slow down the gradual loss of muscle mass that starts about age 40 and accelerates each decade. I wanted to keep walking upright and never need a wheelchair due to weakness that I could prevent. I wanted to keep playing tennis, hiking, and do routine activities without associated back, knee, and shoulder overuse injuries and strains. I lifted weights off and on for many years without a trainer, but I had limited success.
Then I saw Sharon Caffrey enable my wheelchair-bound, arthritic, weak mother to walk on her own. So I decided to see if Sharon could help me train more effectively. Skeptical at first of her Muscle Activation Technique(MAT), I was impressed when I experienced for myself increased strength after she pressed on my muscles and tendons to activate spinal cord augmentation of the nerves to those muscles. I maintained the increased strength through daily isometrics at home.
After two months of MAT and isometrics, she started me on strength training using dumbbells, bands, and a machine with weights and pulleys. She taught me proper form, and after 2 years she is still fine-tuning my form to lift in such a way as to minimize injury and maximize effectiveness. She instructs me to do 15 reps per set, not 8, which reduces risk of overload injury but also builds strength. She taught me to do just the right kinds of upper and lower body exercises each session. She chooses just the right resistance for each set based on her knowledge and my past results.
As a result of two years of training with Sharon, I no longer have the recurring low back pain that I used to have when I lifted grocery bags out of the car or when I lifted a shovelful of dirt in my yard. I am enjoying improved tennis without pain. I am stronger, despite the inexorable march of time and aging.
I was deeply moved when Sharon, without being asked, took care of the flowers in my mother’s living room and kitchen during the last few weeks of my mother’s life. She cared that much about her client, my mother. After 2 years of working with Sharon, I know from my own experience that in addition to competent training advice and coaching, she brings to her clients a level of warmth, caring, and humanity that makes me look forward to my training sessions as one of the highlights of my week.