Local

September 6, 2013

Luke personal trainer overcomes obstacles

Tags:
Senior Airman GRACE LEE
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Paul Johnson, 56th Force Support Squadron Bryant Fitness Center fitness specialist supervisor, second from the left, poses for a photo with his track teammates in May 1979 in California. This photo was taken 11 months after Johnson recovered from a serious car accident.

Looking at Paul Johnson, 56th Force Support Squadron fitness specialist supervisor, one sees a strong, muscular, fit man. But, he says he wasn’t always that way. It was a near-death experience that spurred a decision in him to not only continue strength training but also change other people’s lives by becoming a personal trainer. It was the summer before his senior year of high school in 1978 when Johnson woke up in the hospital. All he could remember were the moments leading up to the accident.

“I was driving when I fell asleep at the wheel, went off a mountain road and the next thing I knew, I was in the hospital,” he said. “The doctors recommended surgery in my neck and back, but I was afraid and hesitant.”

The college that was recruiting Johnson for their track team saw the news of his accident and referred him to their sports physician. After meeting with the doctor, Johnson began attending physical therapy as an alternative to surgery. It wasn’t easy, but Johnson successfully went through three months of rigorous physical therapy, which included strength training to fortify the muscles around his weak joints.

“After the therapy I was able to play sports again,” he said. “And from the accident I learned that strength training really made all the difference in the world, since before therapy I never lifted a single weight.”

His success with strength training in therapy prompted him to become a personal trainer to maintain his fitness and help others. What Johnson didn’t know was his strength training and physical fitness would help save his life in future accidents, including one that occurred in 2009.

“I was riding my motorcycle and going about 45 mph when the car behind me failed to see me until it was too late,” he said. “The driver ran me over with a minivan, cracking my helmet in half, breaking my clavicle and totaling my bike. I was really lucky, and I attribute my survival to strength training and being fit so my body could bounce back.”

Johnson recovered after this second near-death experience and went on to participate in Luke’s first bodybuilding competition in February 2010. It was there he decided to become a personal trainer at the Luke AFB Bryant Fitness Center.

“I always enjoyed training people but saw that the business of being a trainer was becoming more about money than teaching people the correct way of doing the exercises so they can do it on their own,” he said. “When I came to Luke and saw the facility I was impressed and liked that it’s about helping people understand how to reap the benefits and eventually be able to train on their own.”

Ansel Bingham, 56th FSS Bryant Fitness Center operations manager, said Johnson is an outstanding trainer because he lives the lifestyle he teaches.

“Based on the physical fitness he’s maintained and his knowledge, he is definitely an inspiration to others,” Bingham said. “He’s one of the best personal trainers we’ve had in years.”

Although Johnson is now in a supervisory position at the fitness center, his work as a personal trainer still continues to impact his clients’ lives today.

“I recently saw two of my clients from about a year and a half ago at the gym,” he said. “I’m so proud of them because they still consistently workout four days a week, and that is the biggest reward, seeing people wanting to better themselves on their own.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NEW_1

Luke F-35s visit Columbus AFB

Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile A T-6 Texan II roars overhead as the pilots of two Luke Air Force Base F-35 Lightning IIs prepare to exit their aircraft July 23 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The pilots are Capt. Nichola...
 
 
Courtesy photo

In plain sight, but where?

Senior Airman Marcy Copeland The “Honor Roll” memorial sits silently behind the command post July 21 at Luke Air Force Base. The memorial contains the names of men who attended pilot training at Luke Field from 1941 to 1943...
 
 
Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota

FSS cog in 56th FW wheel

Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota Kim Caley, 56th Force Support Squadron Arts and Crafts operation manager, works on a project at Luke Air Force Base. The arts and crafts center helps Airman moral with arts, crafts or wood projects. ...
 

 
18_150717-F-VY794-012

PROTOCOL: Master planners Emily Post of AF

Tech. Sgt. Douglas Teutsch, 56th FW protocol NCO in charge, sweeps up after the change of command ceremony. Special occasions often require seemingly mundane yet important tasks, such as organizing proper seating arrangements a...
 
 

Lightning II debrief …

Staff Sgt. Staci Miller Senior Airman Roger Combs, 61st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, downloads information from an F-35 Lightning II engine at Luke Air Force Base. Since 2010, more than 1,800 maintainers have been trained on the F-35. The first production F-35A rolled out of assembly in February 2006 in Fort Worth, Texas. Later...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

Commons provides ‘crib’ for Airmen

Courtesy graphic The Community Commons concept design. Renovation has begun and will be completed in May 2016. The Luke Air Force Base Community Center, Bldg. 700, where the 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Wellness Center resi...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>