This is the second “Meet the Trainers” post and this week focuses on Craig O’Connor! He has been a trainer with Siel Bleu for just over a year now in the Dublin North area. You might recognise him from your classes or his blog on breathing a few weeks ago. Take a look at what he says below:
What made you apply for the position with Siel Bleu?
I wanted to challenge myself to develop a new skillset in dealing with chronic injuries and disabilities. Essentially my goal was to help improve the quality of life for older adults.
When you were doing your degree did you think you’d end up working in this setting?
I always saw myself eventually working in the area of exercise prescription for specific populations and rehabilitation. This links in well with Siel Bleu as we offer tailored exercise for older people and disability groups.
Has it been any different to the way you thought it would be?
Yes, originally I thought I would be specific to chair based programs. But new pathways, such as stroke, pulmonary disability, corporate wellness, have been undertaken. This is an example of how fast Siel Bleu has been developing as an organisation.
Tell me about a participant who’s left an impact on you?
A lady I work with on a one to one basis. She has a long history of physical ailments that, for others, would mean they would have no interest in exercise. Whereas this brilliant woman is determined to defy the odds, showing that age is just a number. She can squat her bodyweight over 100 times in one session with me. Never complains and just gets on with life each day as it comes!
What’s been your favourite part about working with Siel Bleu so far?
It’s the little things such as a participant who can now stand up easier from a chair, or walk further than before we met. It’s the improvements in independence and confidence within their bodies that comes from the exercise that makes each day worthwhile.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of working with Siel Bleu?
Jump at the opportunity. Its been eye opening for me not just in tems of my physical skillset on the job but also on a personal level. To be able to have such a positive impact in someone’s day by doing the programmes Siel Bleu have to offer presents itself with feel good factor that comes from improving someone’s daily functionality over time has a deep impact on my own morale and job satisfaction that I haven’t had with previous employment.
How has working at Siel Bleu expanded your repertoire or how you view training?
The experience has led me to understand that movement is exercise. There is a stigma with exercise that should be gruelling and unenjoyable. Siel Bleu has tought me that movement of the smallest amount can improve a persons moral and mood state instantly.
How have you grown as a trainer since coming to Siel Bleu?
I have definitely been able to develop my skillset, adding progressions and regressions for exercise where needed for a client’s own capability. Whether someone is of low or high dependency, a physical trainer should be able to suit there level of fitness.
What opportunities for growth have you found through Siel Bleu?
Through seeing different disabilities throughout my time with the organisation, my level of self education has thrived, always looking for a greater understanding and attempting to relieve pain or promote movement where possible.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working with/at Siel Bleu?
How much I have grown as an individual. Particularly in a professional manner have I seen more confidence in my abilities to teach and socialise with large groups.
What keeps you working at Siel Bleu?
The potential of growth that the organisation has to become one of the leading exercise interventions for elderly people and interaction it could have with hospitals to assist out-patient care on a national level.
Keep an eye out for the next “Meet the trainers!”