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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Interview: Alex Lewis

A Strep A infection saw Alex Lewis’s life hanging in the balance. Surgeons were able to save his life, but only by amputating his limbs. Now an extreme athlete, he shares his story with HCM

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 4
This September, Alex Lewis will drive his moon buggy up the highest mountain in Ethiopia to raise money for a wheelchair factory there
This September, Alex Lewis will drive his moon buggy up the highest mountain in Ethiopia to raise money for a wheelchair factory there
I need to keep strong for the rest of my life, ensuring my body can cope with everyday tasks in order to live with a degree of independence

Given just days to live after contracting a rare flesh-eating infection, Alex Lewis’ life was turned upside down in 2013, when he had 120 hours of surgery to amputate all four limbs in order to survive.

Following the surgery, it was clear even the simplest of tasks would be a challenge. Not only that, but Lewis was faced with a lack of prosthetic provision. He set out to address this and improve access to prosthetics by setting up The Alex Lewis Trust Foundation, which raises funds for prosthetics, wheelchair and home adjustments for amputees.

In collaboration with a number of universities and rehab facilities, Lewis now trials new prosthetic equipment, often embarking on physical challenges to test it fully.

This September, he faces his biggest challenge yet – climbing one of Africa's highest mountains, Ras Dashen in Ethiopia, to raise money to open a wheelchair factory in Ethiopia.

He plans to top that in 2020 by travelling over 800 km in 10 days across the Gobi Desert.

These are no mean feats for even the most able athlete and training for these two events requires Lewis to follow a tailored exercise programme that will ensure he’s fit enough to complete the challenges.

Key to his success is Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training, which was recommended for strength gains, core stability and posture correction.

Dramatic improvements
Within a few weeks of training with Tom Corcoran, the owner of Fast Track EMS in Hampshire, UK, Lewis noticed a dramatic improvement in his physical capacity, strength gains and improved posture.

“Since becoming an amputee, I’ve been fortunate enough to try out a number of training methods to keep my fitness up, working with physios and visiting the Help for Heroes training facilities,” he explains. “I’ve had first-rate guidance, but nothing has been as effective as EMS training, especially in such a short space of time. It’s amazing how the machine helps me to engage muscles I haven’t felt since I lost my arms and legs. I feel stronger in training, daily life tasks are easier and I’ve gained greater confidence that I can take on these challenges.”

EMS training works by providing an external stimulus via an EMS machine to help individuals engage muscle fibres they might otherwise struggle to target through normal exercises. When Lewis climbs Ras Dashen, he’ll be using a hand-propelled moon buggy that requires him to use a lot of upper body and core strength to power the wheels with his prosthetic arms, but his traditional training, Pilates and physio programmes didn’t enable him to activate and build the muscle required for this movement.

Working alongside Corcoran, he’s been able to target these weaker muscle groups, forcing them to contract harder. Corcoran has programmed the training to focus on strengthening upper and lower back, lats, shoulders and core, using resistance bands and a BOSU ball to keep the workouts varied and challenging.

Confidence gains
As a result of Lewis’s condition, his arm and shoulder muscles had collapsed down one side and he’s been working with his physio for years to build up the muscles and level his shoulders again.
After his first session, Lewis’s Pilates instructor noticed a positive difference and within a few weeks he was holding a stronger position and regaining postural alignment. Furthermore, he no longer suffers from back pain.

“I wish I’d found EMS when I was in rehab, as I would have become much more independent much faster with its help,” he says. “The kit works different areas of your body at varying levels. It’s a perfectly targeted workout that should be offered to all amputees when they go into rehab to get their muscles working properly.

“I need to keep in strong physical condition for the rest of my life, ensuring my body is able to cope with everyday tasks in order to live with a degree of independence. EMS is helping me to do just that.”

Inspiring results
“When Alex told me about his upcoming challenges and the struggle he had to activate and build the muscles required to power the moon buggy, I was confident EMS training could make the difference,” says Corcoron. “The miha bodytec EMS machine is particularly effective for targeting weaker muscle groups, forcing them to contract involuntarily so I knew it was the perfect training solution for Alex.

“He brings a unique set of training challenges to our sessions and it’s been a real learning curve working together,” says Corcoron.

ems – how does it work?

The origins of EMS training lie in rehabilitation. EMS works by helping users to activate their agonist and antagonist muscles at the same time, making it a form of functional training that focuses on working multiple muscle groups.

It allows individuals to reach and strengthen deep seated muscle groups that are usually hard to target, resulting in higher recruitment of muscle fibres without any additional load on the joints through weights.

Workouts are scientifically proven to engage up to 98 per cent of muscles compared to the usual 60 per cent individuals would normally be able to target in the gym. Consequently, it’s being more widely used as a training method for improving strength; training elderly people, weight-loss and rehabilitation – especially for those with ongoing back injuries.

Lewis has established a foundation to raise funds and test prosthetics for amputees
Lewis has established a foundation to raise funds and test prosthetics for amputees
A charity skydive in 2015 with the Pilgrim Bandits
A charity skydive in 2015 with the Pilgrim Bandits
Training hard with Tom Corcoran at Fast Track EMS
Training hard with Tom Corcoran at Fast Track EMS
Lewis paddled 120 miles around Greenland to raise money for charity in 2016
Lewis paddled 120 miles around Greenland to raise money for charity in 2016
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/662045_21927.jpg
When he lost all four limbs to a devastating illness, Lewis could never have imagined he would become an extreme athlete. EMS training is helping his journey
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features

Interview: Alex Lewis

A Strep A infection saw Alex Lewis’s life hanging in the balance. Surgeons were able to save his life, but only by amputating his limbs. Now an extreme athlete, he shares his story with HCM

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 4
This September, Alex Lewis will drive his moon buggy up the highest mountain in Ethiopia to raise money for a wheelchair factory there
This September, Alex Lewis will drive his moon buggy up the highest mountain in Ethiopia to raise money for a wheelchair factory there
I need to keep strong for the rest of my life, ensuring my body can cope with everyday tasks in order to live with a degree of independence

Given just days to live after contracting a rare flesh-eating infection, Alex Lewis’ life was turned upside down in 2013, when he had 120 hours of surgery to amputate all four limbs in order to survive.

Following the surgery, it was clear even the simplest of tasks would be a challenge. Not only that, but Lewis was faced with a lack of prosthetic provision. He set out to address this and improve access to prosthetics by setting up The Alex Lewis Trust Foundation, which raises funds for prosthetics, wheelchair and home adjustments for amputees.

In collaboration with a number of universities and rehab facilities, Lewis now trials new prosthetic equipment, often embarking on physical challenges to test it fully.

This September, he faces his biggest challenge yet – climbing one of Africa's highest mountains, Ras Dashen in Ethiopia, to raise money to open a wheelchair factory in Ethiopia.

He plans to top that in 2020 by travelling over 800 km in 10 days across the Gobi Desert.

These are no mean feats for even the most able athlete and training for these two events requires Lewis to follow a tailored exercise programme that will ensure he’s fit enough to complete the challenges.

Key to his success is Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training, which was recommended for strength gains, core stability and posture correction.

Dramatic improvements
Within a few weeks of training with Tom Corcoran, the owner of Fast Track EMS in Hampshire, UK, Lewis noticed a dramatic improvement in his physical capacity, strength gains and improved posture.

“Since becoming an amputee, I’ve been fortunate enough to try out a number of training methods to keep my fitness up, working with physios and visiting the Help for Heroes training facilities,” he explains. “I’ve had first-rate guidance, but nothing has been as effective as EMS training, especially in such a short space of time. It’s amazing how the machine helps me to engage muscles I haven’t felt since I lost my arms and legs. I feel stronger in training, daily life tasks are easier and I’ve gained greater confidence that I can take on these challenges.”

EMS training works by providing an external stimulus via an EMS machine to help individuals engage muscle fibres they might otherwise struggle to target through normal exercises. When Lewis climbs Ras Dashen, he’ll be using a hand-propelled moon buggy that requires him to use a lot of upper body and core strength to power the wheels with his prosthetic arms, but his traditional training, Pilates and physio programmes didn’t enable him to activate and build the muscle required for this movement.

Working alongside Corcoran, he’s been able to target these weaker muscle groups, forcing them to contract harder. Corcoran has programmed the training to focus on strengthening upper and lower back, lats, shoulders and core, using resistance bands and a BOSU ball to keep the workouts varied and challenging.

Confidence gains
As a result of Lewis’s condition, his arm and shoulder muscles had collapsed down one side and he’s been working with his physio for years to build up the muscles and level his shoulders again.
After his first session, Lewis’s Pilates instructor noticed a positive difference and within a few weeks he was holding a stronger position and regaining postural alignment. Furthermore, he no longer suffers from back pain.

“I wish I’d found EMS when I was in rehab, as I would have become much more independent much faster with its help,” he says. “The kit works different areas of your body at varying levels. It’s a perfectly targeted workout that should be offered to all amputees when they go into rehab to get their muscles working properly.

“I need to keep in strong physical condition for the rest of my life, ensuring my body is able to cope with everyday tasks in order to live with a degree of independence. EMS is helping me to do just that.”

Inspiring results
“When Alex told me about his upcoming challenges and the struggle he had to activate and build the muscles required to power the moon buggy, I was confident EMS training could make the difference,” says Corcoron. “The miha bodytec EMS machine is particularly effective for targeting weaker muscle groups, forcing them to contract involuntarily so I knew it was the perfect training solution for Alex.

“He brings a unique set of training challenges to our sessions and it’s been a real learning curve working together,” says Corcoron.

ems – how does it work?

The origins of EMS training lie in rehabilitation. EMS works by helping users to activate their agonist and antagonist muscles at the same time, making it a form of functional training that focuses on working multiple muscle groups.

It allows individuals to reach and strengthen deep seated muscle groups that are usually hard to target, resulting in higher recruitment of muscle fibres without any additional load on the joints through weights.

Workouts are scientifically proven to engage up to 98 per cent of muscles compared to the usual 60 per cent individuals would normally be able to target in the gym. Consequently, it’s being more widely used as a training method for improving strength; training elderly people, weight-loss and rehabilitation – especially for those with ongoing back injuries.

Lewis has established a foundation to raise funds and test prosthetics for amputees
Lewis has established a foundation to raise funds and test prosthetics for amputees
A charity skydive in 2015 with the Pilgrim Bandits
A charity skydive in 2015 with the Pilgrim Bandits
Training hard with Tom Corcoran at Fast Track EMS
Training hard with Tom Corcoran at Fast Track EMS
Lewis paddled 120 miles around Greenland to raise money for charity in 2016
Lewis paddled 120 miles around Greenland to raise money for charity in 2016
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/662045_21927.jpg
When he lost all four limbs to a devastating illness, Lewis could never have imagined he would become an extreme athlete. EMS training is helping his journey
Latest News
Public Health England (PHE) and the Centre for Ageing Better (CAB) have set out their ...
Latest News
Physical activity bodies ukactive and EuropeActive have agreed to strengthen their partnership in the event ...
Latest News
The first-ever FIBO Southeast Asia fitness event will be held in Singapore next year. Taking ...
Latest News
Cancer survivors should undertake a minimum of 90 minutes of aerobic and resistance training each ...
Latest News
Thrive Global, the wellness and behaviour change tech firm founded by Arianna Huffington, has acquired ...
Latest News
Regular exercise is highly beneficial for all patients with cardiovascular disease regardless of age. A ...
Latest News
LXA has inserted a 2,000sq ft (186sq m) indoor/outdoor boxing gym into a mixed-use building ...
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Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Join FitNation - the new fitness congress about innovation
FitNation, the new premier event about innovation in the fitness industry, will kick-off in Amsterdam on 4 October.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Gympass brings together corporate workforces and leisure operators
The Gympass mission is to defeat inactivity – a vision shared by many in the leisure industry.
Opinion
promotion
As an industry, we still underestimate the power of a truly varied fitness regime - and the growing appetite for it, especially among emerging customer segments.
Opinion: Collaboration vs aggregation - what’s the difference?
An ever-increasing number of Brits are engaging in sporting events, setting themselves goals and looking to increase their fitness levels....
Opinion: Dr Crionna Tobin on nutritional training for PTs and fitness experts
Company profiles
Company profile: Ecore
Ecore transforms reclaimed materials into unique performance surfaces that make people’s lives better. Ecore has ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Jordan Fitness
Jordan Fitness have been at the forefront of premium gym design, with a strong reputation ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Fitness equipment
Dyaco International: Fitness equipment
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Exercise equipment
Eleiko Sport AB: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Property & Tenders
Kirklees Active Leisure
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
28-30 Oct 2019
Hotel Royal Savoy, Lausanne, Switzerland
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2019
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
05-08 Nov 2019
Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
21-22 Nov 2019
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Aventura,
Diary dates
29 Nov 2019
The King’s Fund, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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