Moments of Magic with Michael
Tell us a little bit about Michael Adams
I'm Michael Adams, I'm 27 years old and I grew up in Wainuiomata, which is in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. When I was 16 years old, I moved here to Australia and did my last year of high school. I started attending the gym through my school and it was a lot of fun. The trainers really helped me out a lot and my mum suggested that maybe I should study personal training instead of studying computer programming and Japanese. And I did!
When did you start at Goodlife?
I started at Goodlife in January 2012 and it's been a phenomenal seven and a half years. I love the team and I love the crew. I became a Fitness Director back in 2014 and at the start of 2015, I had a teacher from a special school come along, and ask if we could help volunteer some of our time to help some of the special needs kids in grade 12, so I said yes.
I helped them out two hours a week and after that first session, I was hooked. I continued doing it for a few weeks and then I had a couple of the parents ask me to look after their kids in a one-on-one capacity instead of in the group. They were my first real special needs clients. After that, it just grew. I ran a fundraiser, which went really well and had a great boom in social media and after that and everything just snowballed from there.
Now, all I do is coach kids and young adults with disabilities, and in strength and rehab and I will do it every day until I drop.
Talk us through a typical day?
I'm relatively lucky in terms of being a PT. I never start before 8:00 AM and I never feel like, "oh no, I have to go to work today”. Depending on the day of the week, I’ll attend Strong Hearts, which usually goes from 9-1. We do a bit of sport and teamwork, then eat lunch together, do a bit of dancing and get them being social.
Then I have my afternoon clients. It'll be coaching probably for another five to seven hours. My days usually run pretty late, but it's all just one-on-ones with a whole group of different students with varying disabilities. Anything from intellectual impairments to things like cerebral palsy, that's heavily physical. Every session changes and every interaction is different. How I interact with each of my students is different because you have to. That's a part of the job, as it is for every single PT in the country. You need to be able to be perceptive in how your client is feeling and you need to be able to quantify their A, and then work out what they want for their B and get them there. That's your job and you have to do that in whatever capacity it is and communication friendship and hard work to get them all there.
What have your clients taught you about yourself?
I've gained so much appreciation for the fact that I have a healthy working body and I think there's a huge volume of the world that doesn't understand how lucky they are. If you’ve become a human being, you've already won the lottery five times over.
I really enjoy the understanding they’ve given me in seeing all the trials, tribulations and difficulties they endure in life and it makes me realize how easy my life is.
What do you want your clients to take away from a session with you?
The number one rule for every single one of my sessions, is that every single client walks out with a smile on their face. That way, they associate happiness with the gym instead of seeing it as a chore. A lot of my clients are autistic and they don't have the same level of communication inside their own body, understanding of their own body to know what good and bad feels. It's my job to make sure that when they leave, they've got that smile on their face and they don't feel they're broken.
What are some stand out moments of magic you’ve experienced at Goodlife?
When I first met Talitha, she was being pushed around in a wheelchair at school and she wasn't allowed to walk without it.
Once she finished up at school, she ended up having a full hip replacement. When she came back into the gym, her parents asked me to help her with the rehab. We did whatever we could. Eventually, she was out of the wheelchair and she was up to a walker and then she went from a walker to being able to walk by herself.
Her parents then told me that anything around the house had to be carried for her because she couldn't do it by herself, so we made the goal that she had to try and carry something. Eventually, to mimic her iPad, we gave her a two kilo medicine ball and she had to walk with that. She started just walking laps with a two-kilo dead ball.
To this date, I still think it's one of the biggest things I've ever posted on social media, it still comes up. Can you imagine your entire life never being able to do anything and one day, you get to walk around your own home and carry your own iPad!
Do you see yourself doing this forever?
Yes, I'll be 80-years-old and still doing like cold spaghetti on the gym floor. I can't really see myself doing anything else aside from maybe coaching other coaches in what I do. I don't really think I do anything special. I think it's just that I happen to be the guy by dice roll that got the role.