Elie has been a member at C-Life since 2015. As an adult with cerebral palsy, fitness and personal training are an essential part of managing his disability. By working with C-Life personal trainers, Elie is able to enjoy the benefits of one-on-one support to achieve his fitness goals of losing weight, strengthening his upper and lower limbs and improving his balance.
How does cerebral palsy affect your daily life?
Cerebral palsy (CP) has significantly restricted my mobility which means I have to use a wheelchair to get around in the community and use a walking frame when I’m at home.
Having CP also meant making many difficult and uncomfortable trips to the doctors and to the hospital, but this has motivated me to work on my fitness and wellbeing to reduce these experiences as much as I can.
In addition, living with CP has come with challenges with people constantly doubting my abilities and not giving me a chance, but this has made me build my self-confidence and motivate myself to work hard and achieve whatever I set my mind to and prove others wrong.
You currently use the help of a personal trainer; how does it benefit you?
I currently train with C-Life PT Noor. Having a personal trainer is really good, because I get to work one-on-one with the trainer to improve my fitness and physical functioning.
I’ve learnt some fantastic techniques from all of my trainers at C-Life, including how to maintain my centre of gravity, breathing properly while walking and how to keep my posture when exercising.
I’ve also been able to build rapport with my trainers and get to know them on a personal level. I’ve been really fortunate to have formed great friendships with all of my trainers at C-Life including Noor – so much so that I’ve been able to perfect a good impersonation of most of them! I’m still working on my impersonation of Noor.
What fitness accomplishments are you most proud of?
One accomplishment I’m most proud of is learning how to trust and activate my legs more to help me with walking, standing, and balancing. This has made walking easier and allowed me to walk for longer.
What motivates you to be fit?
I want to show people that despite having CP, I can still maintain a strong level of fitness and get out into the community to achieve my goals.
Tell us about your workout routine.
I start off with walking, followed by leg stretching and massaging, some sit-to-stands and then a bit of dribbling of the ball. After this, I do some upper body stretches and strength exercises, particularly for my shoulders and biceps.
During my workout I wear custom-made shoes that look like a pair of Jordan’s. They remind me of those magic shoes in the movie, ‘Like-Mike’, so every time I do something well during my workout, I simply say, “It’s the shoes!”.
How often do you train?
I currently train once a week with Noor and do physio on a monthly basis, but I also do regular exercises and walking at home.
What does being a member of C-life mean to you?
It’s good to be a part of the C-Life community. Belmore is my community, I grew up in Belmore, went to school locally and I continue to live here to this day. Being a member of C-Life is great because I can connect with people from my local community.
What’s your favourite machine/classes/type of exercise?
Passing around and dribbling a ball in my walking frame.
What fitness goals do you want to achieve by the end of the year?
To continue to improve my walking and lose weight. I’ve always had difficult experiences with my weight, especially when visiting hospitals and doctors, so I’d like to address this issue once and for all.
What advice can you give to people who are just starting their fitness journey?
Firstly, identify why you want to start your fitness journey and outline the process you want to take to achieve your goals. Secondly, celebrate and enjoy every achievement and milestone along the way.
Where can we find you when you’re not on the gym?
I’m very social so I love going out, meeting people, and getting to know them. Outside of the gym, you’ll find me at dinner, coffee, lunch, or the beach with my friends. If I’m at lunch or dinner I usually choose my favourite restaurant, Al Aseel!
If I’m at home, I’m usually watching sport or researching things about different cultures. I can count from 1-10 in eight different languages and I’m a huge fan of the Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL, Chelsea Football Club in the English Premier League, and Celtic Football Club in the Scottish Premiership.
My love of sport and in particular the theme of triumphing as the underdog, is something that I’ve incorporated into my training and my approach to everything generally. My sporting heroes growing up were: Lleyton Hewitt, Hazem El-Masri and current Celtic manager, Ange Postecoglou.
What’s your favourite cheat meal?
Chicken skewers with extra chips and garlic sauce on the side, with a Magnum ice cream for dessert.
I’m trying to eat more healthily, so I’ve been incorporating some salads in there too, especially, Greek Salad, although I’m not sure if that’s the healthiest salad out there!