Friday, July 1, 2005

Gimme Five: Basic training

Rob Freeman wants to help you reach your peak

Express Staff Writer

Rob Freeman wants to help people defy gravity, as in the force that causes you to droop, drag and decline.

As a personal athletic trainer at Zenergy Health Club at Thunder Spring in Ketchum, Freeman helps all types of individuals reach their potential ranging from serious couch potatoes to elite athletes.

"Whether you are 14, 40 or 74 a lot of the same ideas apply to every single person," Freeman said. "We train and practice the movements of life and then we use them on the outside." The 40-year old Freeman grew up in Garden City, Long Island, moving to the Wood River Valley in 1989. Freeman, along with friend Pat Miller joined two other Long Island transplants, Jack Dies and Chris Edwards, and all four have put down roots and remained in the area.

Freeman recalled the motivation for moving out West.

"I was working at a bank in New York, and both Pat and I didn't want to work for our fathers, so we came out here and started painting for Joey Cordeau."

An athlete from his earliest days, Freeman grew up playing soccer and was named high school All-America in lacrosse at Roanoke College in Virginia.

Once in Sun Valley he was stalwart on Lefty's men's soccer team, known then as the Swinelagers, until a serious knee injury forced him out of the sport for good.

Not one to let injuries slow him down, Freeman developed other interests, including mountain biking, road biking, trail running, snowboarding and nordic skiing.

He also developed an interest in personal training through a friend, Angela Strickland, who worked at Sun Valley Athletic Club.

"She thought I would probably be a good personality for it since I love people so much," Freeman said.

Two-and-a-half years ago Freeman was certified with distinction through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a personal trainer and, aided by his personable nature and sharp eye, his career has blossomed.

Training a brand new client in the gym, Freeman is enthusiastic without being overbearing and thorough without being sadistic, which is a fear that lurks in the mind of every client.

"It's all about what the client wants to do and accomplish," Freeman remarked, "But I want to make people as symmetrical and balanced as I can."

How he accomplishes that is by training from the core out.

"The core (stomach muscles) is our strongest link overall, and a strong core makes us functionally strong. But we believe in total body training. Cross training is the best thing you can do."

When working with a new client, Freeman finds out if the individual has suffered any injuries and what their training goals are.

"I see how people move and how I can help them improve," he said.

When asked about the benefits of a personal trainer, Freeman replied, "I find it is motivation to get into the gym. I think I motivate and push people harder than they would themselves. We get people strong where they need to get strong so they can be better at what they like to do."

Depending on the time of year, Freeman works with 15 to 20 clients a week, but he has the same aim for all of them.

"I would like my clients to simply be better athletes in daily life. "

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