As a personal trainer, the people I work with amaze me on a daily basis. I have met many people whose stories are so incredible, whose achievements are so great, it sometimes makes my head spin. Seeing people of all levels, ages, and backgrounds benefit so much from their training is truly inspiring.
I hope you enjoy the success stories on this page.
Hello, my name is Jason Erickson, and I am a CST success story...
As a boy, I was overweight and clumsy, usually the last one picked for teams. At 12, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. In college, I got my first taste of martial arts and was hooked. Continuing martial arts practice, I began regular physical conditioning to improve performance. By 1996, I had graduated college and become reasonably athletic despite accumulating a number of sport-related injuries. Moving to the Twin Cities in 1998, I continued martial arts practice, competing in submission wrestling and BJJ. Injuries and recurring pain in my legs, hips, back, shoulders, and arms haunted training sessions. Eventually, changing work schedules and chronic pain prevented consistent training. This was aggravated by a knee injury requiring surgery in 1999, and my practice became sporadic.
In 2003, I stopped working out altogether due to family issues and injuries to my elbow, shoulder, hip, and back. I packed on 40 pounds of fat in just six months. With my belly slopping over my waistband, I had to buy "fat pants" to wear to work. My strength, endurance, flexibility, and overall mood were in terrible shape. I had aches and pains all over, and my wrists and forearms hurt from computer use at work. Jogging a block to grab lunch left me out of breath and sweating. I felt like a prisoner in my own body, and missed what it was like to feel good.
And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. - Anais Nin
In fall of 2003, I got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time. I made a pact with myself, committing to lose the extra lard and regain the athleticism I had lost. I had a full-time office job, a home life, participated in community events, was studying for several certifications, and a few other things. In short, I was busy and didn't know how I would find the time to train, but my health had to be a top priority if I was to become free again.
Don't say you don t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Theresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. - H. Jackson Brown
I needed to find a means of exercise that:
- I could afford
- I could do anytime, anywhere
- Wouldn't take up a lot of room, and would be portable
- Would help rehabilitate old injuries, and prevent new ones
- I could adapt to a chaotic schedule
- Would give me full-body benefits
- Wouldn't require a lot of time
- Wouldn't bore me, so I could stick with it for a long time
- Would help me when I went back to martial arts and other activities
After looking at all kinds of programs, I found Circular Strength Training and was intrigued. It seemed to fit all the criteria, so I borrowed the Clubbell and Bodyflow books and read them. The more I read, the more I liked what I was learning. I went to the RMAX web site for more info. There I joined the CST Discussion Forums and started asking questions.
Impressed with the answers I received, I bought the joint mobility program (now called Intu-Flow®), the Clubbell® Training for Circular Strength DVD, the Clubbell® - 10lb (pair) Starter Bundle, and the Body-Flow™: Freedom from Fear-Reactivity book . This was in January of 2004.
I have learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. - Henry David Thoreau
By April 2004, I had lost 25 pounds of fat, regained most of my strength and endurance, vastly improved my balance and coordination, rehabbed my shoulder and other injuries, and was free of pain. WOW!! Was I ever blown away!
Pics from January and April of 2004:
Once again I could train martial arts and keep up with everything else. Best of all, my mood was back to normal. I was happier and much more fun to be around. My friends and family were amazed, and people I barely knew started asking me how I did it.
Excited, I read everything I could on CST and related fitness topics, then decided to attend CST Epsilon in Philadelphia. Once registered, I realized that I had committed to attending an Instructor Certification seminar. The idea stunned me. Would I be able to teach effectively? Then I took another look around... and saw many people struggling with their own fitness and feeling overwhelmed by past failures with "normal" exercise programs. Most didn't know how to get started, or felt like they had to "get in shape" before they could begin. The sense of personal inertia these people carried was palpable and depressing. They felt so lousy all the time, and had for so long, that they had forgotten what it was like to feel truly well. Some part of them had determined that miserable was normal... and that was how they lived.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. - Max Planck
Badly wanting to help those around me, I decided to do whatever it took to become a Circular Strength Training Instructor. At CST Epsilon, I gained a far deeper grasp of my own practice and an understanding of how to help others. It was a fantastic experience and I loved it. If I hadn't been working so hard, I would have been turning cartwheels!
Group Pic from CST Epsilon:
Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace. - Sir Cecil Beaton
In September of 2004, Head Coach Scott Sonnon certified me as a Circular Strength Training Instructor, the first in Minnesota. To see the announcement, CLICK HERE. Since then, I have continued my personal practice and expanded my teaching activities. I've attended several RMAX FlowFighting events and continued renewing my certification until March of 2010.
Pic with Scott Sonnon at CST Epsilon:
My practice of CST and the dramatic positive impact it had on my health inspired me to change careers. I returned to school, graduating from Northwestern Health Sciences University School of Massage Therapy in 2006. While in school, I also became a successful personal trainer at a large gym and rapidly developed a reputation for getting results even with very challenged clients.
Since then, I have continued to study and practice both personal training and massage/bodywork skills. As my education has progressed, I have earned more certifications and become more efficiently effective. Working as a trainer perfectly complements my work as a massage therapist, and I love my dual career! Life is good again, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I saw the angel in the marble and chiseled until I set it free. - Michaelangelo
The tools you need are readily available. All you need do is study and practice. I hope you join me and become a success story too!
Please look around this site and check out the links, and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. Be sure to check out the information on certified Instructors and live training opportunities. I will help you to the best of my knowledge and understanding. In turn, I hope to learn from you, or from helping you.
Yours in Health,
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA, etc.
by Susan Rothbaum
It was Jason, my personal trainer, who came up with that title. Given my lifelong dismal athletic history, I can hardly imagine that it could be true. It is.
I’ve had Multiple Sclerosis for twenty years. When I was diagnosed in 1987, I began looking for books about it. One said: “Having MS means fighting a losing battle.” I refused to believe it. For more than a decade, I worked a wide variety of jobs. I also worked with a personal trainer at Bally Total Fitness for a year and a half until she left for another job.
People said to me, “But you look so well!” A lot of PWMS (persons with MS) hear this. My symptoms are invisible. It was serious, paralyzing MS fatigue--one of the most common MS symptoms--that brought me down. I quit my job, applied for and was granted SSDI, Social Security Disability Income.
I depend on regularly taking Modafinil (Provigil). Officially, it’s a narcolepsy drug. Many PWMS use it to combat fatigue. I have to skip it once or twice every week, or it becomes less effective. So, I need to schedule my drug for times, like workouts, when I need energy.
Last summer, my partner and I went on our annual North Shore vacation. On our first walk, I fell and banged my head on the asphalt road. I spent the rest of our vacation looking out the picture window at the lake.
Not long after we got home, I fell in our narrow bathroom and couldn’t get up. My partner called 911, bringing a crew of people in purple gloves (non-latex, I’m told) to help me up. I decided to see my physical therapist and find a new trainer. This trainer cautiously followed the physical therapist’s recommendations. When she left after a month, I requested a new trainer.
Enter Jason. He didn’t charge me for our first meeting. At our second, I said, “Maybe it’s too soon to ask this, but I think you could be very good for me. Are you likely to be staying here a while?”
He said, “I have no plans to leave. As long as you practice, I’ll be here.”
All my life, I’ve felt like a stranger in the strange land of my body. Being disabled has magnified this. I expect to be embarrassed when I try physical activities. Jason encourages me to do as much as I possibly can. He never shames me.
Given my history of injuries from car accidents and other sources (wrist, back, knee, ankle, shoulder, neck), I’ve been cautious and fearful in approaching exercise. Jason’s use of joint mobility exercises after every five reps has enabled me to take much greater weights without injury. MS-related balance problems also limit me. When I am unable to do an exercise, Jason’s creativity and wide repertoire find alternatives that I can do. To my astonishment, I find myself thinking about exercises before I fall asleep at night and as soon as I wake up.
In the last decade, I’ve lost the opportunity to use many of my best, most confident skills: performing music, writing, teaching, creative cooking. I’ve felt heartbroken and depressed. I’ve been far less sociable. Now, when friends or physicians ask how I’m doing, I say, “Great! I still have MS (ha ha). But I’m doing much better. Working with my trainer has helped a lot.”
I am thrilled by the things I now can do in my everyday life. I can swing my legs over the edge of the bed and get up. I can pick up things from the floor. I can put dishes away in (and get them out from) a low kitchen cabinet. Perhaps these seem like small things –but I haven’t always been able to do them. When I try a new exercise and say I don’t know how to do it, Jason says, “You will.” At home, my default response has changed from “I can’t” to “I will” or at least, “I’ll try.” Certainly my partner was pleased when I offered to bring in suitcases from one of our trips.
Recently I climbed down the bank to the small lake across the street from our house. Turns out that wasn’t a wise choice, since I couldn’t get up to sidewalk level again –the dirt was unstable, crumbly and full of sticks. I ended up having to crawl. But I made it! And walked home. A neighbor came over from across the street. He said he had thought he’d need to call 911. Not this time.
Jason said, “I hope you felt good about that.”
I replied, “Once I got to the top, I felt very pleased with myself.”
I’m smiling about that now. Often I’m very cheery when I get home from a training session. I asked my partner, “Do you think I have changed?”
She said, “It’s like night and day.”
TRAINER'S NOTE: Susan has used The Intu-Flow® Complete package and The Encyclopedia Of Clubbell Training. CST provides a safe and comprehensive approach that complements her other training on a day-to-day basis. - Jason
Thank you seems inadequate for all you have done to help me these past few months with my training. I am sorry that the sessions have ended and will surely keep your number handy if I can schedule more time with you.
Your concern for your client's safety and your methods of training far exceeded my expectations. I watch other trainers and know I was blessed to have the "Best One" for my sessions.
You dedicate your time to perfecting skills versus using poundage that could cause injury. You are very skilled at knowing when a person reaches their limits. Your personality is exceptional. You really know how to make sessions fun but at the same time produce results.
Your ongoing quest to learn more skills shows you are dedicated to your work. If you need references please let me know - I have nothing but good things to say about you and your training skills.
TRAINER'S NOTE: Charlie was in his mid-60s and had two total knee replacements years before. With hard work and careful training, Charlie enjoyed huge strength gains, reduced pain, and more energy for every day activities. Here he is shown doing a leg press with 440 lbs of plates mounted. - Jason