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The Weekly Bite – September 6, 2019—Issue 2343

Hi All

I will have some news, and photos, of Jacinta at the Taekwondo World Championships in Bulgaria in next week’s newsletter.  I want to share two very long but very relevant emails in this week’s newsletter.

Dear Victoria,

Hope you are recovering well from the injuries you sustained last year.

 I would like to express my appreciation to Sunny, Bridie, Charlotte & Margy for the treatment & care given to me during the last couple of months. I experienced an episode of ‘acute’ leg pain & cramps which was unrelenting for 7 weeks. ( I thought I would go crazy, as I had little sleep, was walking around zombie like & unable to do much activity). I now know that this episode was due to spinal stenosis in a couple of places & other abnormalities along the lumbar area as well.

 I work with Neurosurgeons, who suggested I have surgery, but as I deal with multiple cases on a daily basis, this was not going to be in my recovery plan. They also suggested medication for the neuropathic pain which I was reluctant to take due to the many side effects.

 Bridie initially assessed my situation, then I was referred to Sunny, when I had not improved due to Sunny’s physiotherapy background. After Sunny’s assessment of my situation, (that day I had intense leg cramps which made doing the new exercises almost unbearable) I did my best to follow instructions intently as I was wanting to get some relief from my situation as soon as possible. I was able to have about 10 days off work, so  I did the exercises at home on the days I did not attend the gym. This exercises continued most nights when I returned to work. I was also able to do some of the exercises whilst at work.

 I also had many remedial massages during that time by Margy, which helped me enormously as well. Margy went over & beyond to try to give me some relief, of which I am ever so grateful. (Margy has that ‘magic hot hand’ that works overtime)!

 I signed up for the personal training sessions with Charlotte, which I also have found invaluable, & I have noticed a definite improvement since commencing these sessions. Again I am very grateful to Charlotte, for her care & attention.

 I can now report that I am pain & cramp free at present & I hope I continue to have relief.

 Just a couple of observations during my time at Green Apple.

I had the opportunity to see Bethany in action back in May when she was doing pool exercise classes on two Saturdays. Bethany is a true professional for her young age. Bethany had both groups engaged, worked the groups at a good pace, demonstrated & did the exercises with the groups &  demonstrated a happy & friendly manner, which all participants appeared to appreciate. Bethany is a real talent. This young lady should be supported & nurtured as much as possible as she has the potential to be a valuable staff member for Green Apple Wellness Centre in the future.

 Victoria, I would like to know how you see the ‘buddy’ role?

I saw my ‘buddy’ twice in the initial 6 weeks, back in 2017. Since that time, now 17 months, I have rarely seen my ‘buddy’, probably as I do not attend the gym when my ‘buddy’ is present. My ‘buddy’ sends me emails to confirm any appointment I may have for massage,  new program etc.  (This may simply be one of the tasks allocated to my ‘buddy’ in her work routine). When I did see my ‘buddy’ last week, she did not know my name. I am aware of the large numbers of clients you have,  & I would not expect the staff to know everyone’s name, but I would expect my ‘buddy’ to know my name. So, I am curious to know how you see that ‘buddy role’.

Please note, I am not trying to stir up any trouble for my ‘buddy’. I may have an incorrect perception of what the ‘buddy’ role entails & am keen to learn your perception of the role, & possibly how it can be improved.

 Once again Victoria, I am ever so grateful to Bridie, Sunny, Charlotte & Margy for their care & attention to me, especially in the last 3 months. Please continue to encourage Bethany, as she has real talent. Please forward my appreciation to the above mentioned accordingly.

 Kind regards, Julie Shearer


Hello Julie

Apologies for such a tardy response.  I usually reply to any emails within a day and for some reason I didn’t see this one until this evening! 

I appreciate your feedback in every aspect. Not only have you provided specific reasons for why you have singled out specific Team members and the benefits you have had from their care, you have also made me think about how to respond to your enquiry regarding the role of the Buddy. 

I would like to share with you what role Buddies should play, how they came about and how they work in conjunction with the total care of each client. 

When we started looking after patients referred from doctors on enhanced primary care plans, the exercise physiologists did the first appointment (interview) as well as the programming and then the client went into the gym and did their best to adhere and comply with what they were meant to do. It soon became apparent that the exercise physiologist did not have time to really explore the needs of the patient from any angle bar the medical one and this did not take into consideration the patient’s readiness to make the life changes needed, their past exercise history and whether they had successes or failures with sticking to things in the past. Hence we started doing an hour “Initial Consultation” to discover all these aspects and to help the patient decide what pathway would be the most successful. These days Darrol and I do most of these Initial Consultations. 

This still didn’t solve the transition phase from the sessions the exercise physiologist had with the patient to devise the program tailored to their health needs. These clients were mainly “non-exercise” people, often pre-contemplative of adding exercise to their life. They needed more hand holding rather than just going solo in the gym. So we set up 2 extra services. 

First we made some specific times every day when we had supervision for the strength part of the program ( where the most damage could be done if people didn’t perform the exercises correctly). 

Second, we introduced the monitoring session with an appointed Buddy who would take them through their whole program using their card for the first time to check for competency in the gym. 

This Buddy would also see the person every 8 weeks and review/update their program to facilitate progression and encourage results. 

The Buddy would check if the client was attending and if concerned would make contact with the client. (I might say when I do the Initial Consultation, I always encourage clients to alert us to any problems and to let their Buddy know if they were unable to attend for any length of time rather than waiting for us to flick the whip. It is a matter of accountability to oneself). 

 Each client’s records on the computer are updated each time we record any problems, action taken etc, so if the Buddy sees that the client is being cared for by other Team members then their role as been superseded by more specific care. Unless Sunny, Bridie, Charlotte or Margy involve the listed Buddy, the appointed Buddy may play no further role unless the need arises at a later date. 

The Buddy level of care will vary significantly from client to client. Some Team members will have little contact with their buddies (as you say you are never there at the same time) and no relationship will have been built from either side. As long as people are attending and they are being programmed for by another Team member, the Buddy becomes obsolete. 

Each Team member carrying the title of Buddy has multiple, multiple members that they are meant to be available to, for the purpose of re-programming, and they may struggle to put faces to names unless they have been looking after them. We have hundreds of members and the Buddy’s role is critical in the early stages and may either die a natural death over time or flourish. 

These flourishing Buddy relationships are powerful and fruitful on both sides. The Fitness Professional and the member really get to know each other and they make sure they meet together every 8 weeks to work on the member’s new program. In some cases it will lead to Personal Training sessions for coaching purposes during the 8 week program. 

I hope this provides greater insight to why I have these services. 

Thank you for your comments regarding Bethany. Yes, for someone so young she has amazing “presence”. She earned her school based traineeship here at Green Apple by refusing to give up. She had to jump through many hoops to prove she was a suitable candidate to work at Green Apple and she did all this without expecting her parents to pull strings for her. Although her parents appear very supportive of Bethany they obviously allow her to be an independent young lady, whom is determined to achieve on many levels. 

I would love to share your email in the newsletter and to add my answer. Would you consider this because I think it could make other members think. Some of our clientele may not understand the depth of care available at Green Apple (i.e. exercise physiologists and what they actually do, and clinical massage therapy and what this can help with). If people are going to their doctor for conditions we deal with best, without alerting us, then it creates further problems. We will always ask people to go back to their medical sources whenever we want specific guidance and we know what to ask or say to the doctor to get the right answers. 

Good luck with your ongoing journey. You have been courageous and determined and I have huge respect for those qualities. 


Kind regards,

Victoria's signature 2017 - Green Apple Wellness Centre




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