Manaman – AKA Mana Shigematsu

I told you it would be a week of posts.  Our two favorite trainers are leaving Gold’s Gym this week and our family will miss them both very much as will many other gym participants.  Mana’s last day is Thursday, so I wanted to devote a post to him.

I’ll have to start out by saying that I trusted Mana with my son’s life and recovery from scoliosis surgery.  As soon as Joe was cleared to be back in the gym, Joe wanted back in the gym.  Joe’s trainer was Zach, but Zach moved out of state after a few weeks of Joe being back in the gym.  We were referred to Mana.  Joe can be a pretty quiet kid and sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) Mana can be a pretty quiet trainer.  But they hit it off.  As your children grow up, they ask their parents to take a step back – so I did.  I took a step back and let the two of them work together.

I want to share a few before pictures – before that day we met Mana.

Spine – before picture

Right before surgery

Just 6 months before we met Mana, Joe was training his new straightened body how to walk.  Walks to the mailbox tired him out immensely.

As a mother, respect and trust needed to be built between Mana and me, so that I felt 100% confident that my son was in good hands.  That is exactly what happened.  Joe enjoyed being with Mana and Mana has made that boy STRONG! His spine doctor and his family doctor have recently seen him for check ups and they are both very impressed with how strong Joe is and how well he is doing.  I attribute a lot of that success to Mana’s working relationship with Joe.  Sure Joe did the work, but Mana guided it.   It will take time for me to build that trust with someone new.
Another really cool thing is that Mana taught Joe how to play racquetball.  Now Joe LOVES racquetball.  Even when Mana was recovering from shoulder surgery, he would play left-handed racquetball with Joe.  It’s the little things like that, that make me respect and appreciate him even more.

Look how good Joe looks — Can’t thank you enough, Mana!

As much as Mana was helping Joe, Mana scared me.  I did NOT like working out with him and I went through a period of time where I avoided his workouts.  It wasn’t that he was mean or rude or anything like that.  He just always tried to push me harder and further than my mind thought was possible.  So I stayed away.   When I finally began to believe in myself a little bit, I slowly started going back to the classes Mana ran.  Let me tell you between Mana and Ryan, they have made me STRONG!

This morning was a leg workout with Mana (for me).  Just a few months back an orthopaedic doctor told me I had “runners knee” and that it would never get better.  Thankfully my physical therapist and my trainers thought otherwise and we rehabbed my knee.  Today we were doing a leg press and Mana had set the weight at 200 pounds for my workout partner.  Mana then left to set up an exercise for the other two girls.  So my partner did the leg press and then I did the leg press.  I was like, “COOL – only 200 pounds – piece of cake.”  Well if you remember I posted previously about a trainers 6th sense.  Somehow he knew it was time to come check in and after I had done 12 of 15 reps in my 2nd set, he made me put the weight down and put the weight on 260.  I had to start over.  Actually 260 wasn’t too bad either, but I swear I didn’t say anything out loud.   BOOM – up to 300 pounds.  Thanks Mana.  If I dare to say out loud, “I can’t even get it started.”  His response is, “That’s because you’re pushing with your toes, not your heels.”  Oh yeah, how many times have I heard that one?
leg press

300 pounds – push with your heels!

Mana assist with a squat – take that orthopaedic doctor!
I am not sure where Mana will end up, but wherever it is in life, he will be successful.  If he continues with personal training somewhere, we will be seeking him out.  He has changed our lives for the better and we will miss seeing him at the gym everyday.  I’ll especially miss that cup of coffee he always seems to think I need first thing in the morning.

Manaman85 OUT!
PS.  This is a note from Mana to all of us he’s had the pleasure to train:
I don’t want any gifts or words of gratitude or anything like that. I just want all of them to know that I always wanted every single one of them to reach their goal. And I truly believed they all could hit their goals no matter what they were. I never did my job for the pay bonuses or to be “top dog”. I wanted to show people that the only thing holding them back, were themselves; that they were capable of things they never thought possible. At the end of the day, I just wanted to be appreciated and respected by those around me.

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