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.


 
 

 
Grace Lee

Pilot saves six Marines earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor

Grace Lee Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, pins the Air Force Combat Action Medal onto Capt. Aaron Cavazos, 61st Fighter Squadron weapons officer, Jan. 16 in Club Five Six at Luke Air Force Base. Cavazos was...
 
 

Financial responsibility — vital to readiness

In the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, there is a line in the movie where the soldiers are told to make sure they sign up for life insurance to ensure their next-of-kin gets $10,000 upon the soldier’s death. While none of us are about to make a combat jump in 1944 to fight the Nazis, Airmen...
 
 

Adapt, overcome, succeed

Change is inevitable, especially in today’s Air Force. If you’ve been serving for more than a few years, it’s likely you’ve experienced everything from new physical fitness requirements to the implementation of force management programs. Enlisted performance reports and feedback forms have been altered and changes to the promotion system are rapidly approaching. We expect...
 

 
Courtesy Photo

Chrach saves lives, earns recognition

Courtesy Photo Tech. Sgt. Steven Bruner, 56th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and Chrach, 56th SFS MWD, pose for a photo in Afghanistan during their 2012 deployment. Chrach was recently awarded the 12th A...
 
 

News Briefs January 23, 2015

VH1 concert VH1 and sponsors supporting the event are hosting a Super Bowl Blitz concert featuring Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX at 5 p.m. Jan. 30 in Hangar 999 as a “Thank you” to those who serve in the U.S. military. Members of the Luke community are invited and the concert is free. Service...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Civilian answers AF call, gets dream job

Courtesy Photo Senior Airman Kristina Inocencio, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer technician, measures the distance from the tree to the building Jan. 15 during survey training at Luke Air Force Base. One of Inocencio’s ...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin