Please meet personal trainer Kirk Dyer, owner of To The Core (website coming soon), which is a personal training company in Mississauga.  Kirk Dyer overcame full body paralysis, to continue on to become a personal trainer.  Developing persistence and resilience are two highlights of working with a personal trainer, and Kirk has really demonstrated these qualities with regards to his own life, first.

"A few days after having my appendix removed, I remember feeling rather weak. I laid on the sofa, feeling too lethargic to do anything. That night I had trouble moving. My father sat by my bedside and would have to move my limbs throughout the night until I fell asleep. We take for granted the different positions we move into before falling asleep.

The next morning my mother called me to come for breakfast, but I was unable to move. I was paralyzed from my neck down. I told her I couldn't move but she thought I was joking and pulled me out of bed. I fell to the floor.

I spent the next six or seven months in the hospital.

All this happened when I turned fourteen. The thing is, at that young age, I felt that I was invincible and I thought this was just a passing thing. I was just happy that I didn't have to go to school, and I took it one day at a time thinking each day that today would be the day I would walk again.

Because of lack of moving, my muscles atrophied and I went down to under 80lbs. When I began physiotherapy the focus became flexibility. My muscles had shrunk to the point where they begin to curl my fingers and toes in. The therapy was painful so I came up with exercises I thought would help. The therapist liked them, and had told me that's what I should do when I get older.  Become a physiotherapist.

Becoming paralyzed sparked my interest in the human body, and in movement in general. I'm still unable to move my feet and toes which as you know are key for balancing while standing, so my training has always involved working on my stability.

I have been asked what it was like to be paralyzed and the only way I can explain it is to tell them to imagine that you were able to move your nose from side to side, now try to move it. It felt like being trapped in a space so small that movement was impossible.

I want to help everyone I can to realize how precious movement is, and being a personal trainer affords me that opportunity."

Kirk's condition is called Guillain-Barré syndrome.  At his last visit to the neurologist, he warranted much surprise about the amount of muscle he had on his body, given how few working motor nerves he had remaining.

What's just as impressive as Kirk's persistence in overcoming his condition is his FORM!  Check out his innovative, creative and well-executed exercises on his Instagram account: @kirkdyer.

Thanks Kirk for sharing your story, and reminding us how important movement is - yes. Also that odds can be beat, that our bodies' abilities are a privilege that should never be taken for granted, and that the most important thing in life is to push forward with what you've got.

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About GBS:

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The first symptoms of this disorder include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs. In many instances the symmetrical weakness and abnormal sensations spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms can increase in intensity until certain muscles cannot be used at all and, when severe, the person is almost totally paralyzed. In these cases the disorder is life threatening - potentially interfering with breathing and, at times, with blood pressure or heart rate - and is considered a medical emergency.

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