Meet Ömer Köseoğlu, Skimble‘s featured Trainer! Ömer is a never-give-up trainer who is battling Motor Neuron Disease whilst coaching his clients exclusively online these days. We recently had the chance to chat with Ömer and learn about his transition from in-person training to working with clients remotely.
Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from?
Ömer: I grew up in Ankara, Turkey. My interest in health and fitness began when I was 15 years old. I started working out in a famous gym owned by a national bodybuilding champ. The idea of becoming a fitness trainer and owning a fitness facility instantly became very appealing. During my college education, I stayed in the U.S. midwest area. My roommate who was a successful baseball player inspired me to do early morning workouts and embracing a healthy lifestyle. I played tennis and worked out regularly.
After working different jobs and becoming a father, I decided to open my own gym in Ankara. It was the most enjoyable work experience I ever had. I continued to work as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer for about 12 years.
What inspired you to become a personal trainer?
Ömer: Throughout my 30’s and 40’s, I was heavily involved in the fitness industry as a trainer and gym owner. I remember most weeks, I had between 35 and 40 physical fitness classes, in which I was working as hard as all the attendees. As a result, I was always very fit during those years.
You have been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease. Can you share with us more about this?
About 6 years ago, I started having muscle weakness and cramping issues. And very slowly it got worse, causing me to get tired much quicker than before. I started limping with the right side of my body, which was becoming weaker every day. After many doctors visits, screenings, and three spinal operations (one lower back and two cervical area) my condition worsened with no diagnosis. I was still able to do one-on-one coaching in my studio but it was becoming very challenging.
Two and a half years ago, my condition was finally diagnosed as MND, Motor Neuron Disease. Unfortunately, this condition has no cure and inevitably gets worse over time. In July 2021, it was a very difficult decision for me to tell my clients that I will no longer be able to continue my fitness classes.
What motivated you to continue coaching?
Ömer: Well, I have a very dedicated group of 12 students who wanted me to find some other way to continue coaching them. At that time, I was already occasionally using Workout Trainer to send workouts to traveling students, etc.
Today, I can very rarely leave home. I can still walk but very slowly with the help of a cane. My right hand (which was my dominant side) is almost totally useless. But I can still hold a mouse with my left hand and use a computer.
So now, with the encouragement of my wonderful students, we use the Workout Trainer app on a daily basis. I sit in front of my computer at training time and vocally coach them in their own homes, while they go through a workout that I prepared using your app. This has been going on since September and my students are happy.
Being physically challenged, this situation has given me the opportunity to continue doing what I love to do and I am so thankful for that!
What’s your favorite Workout Trainer feature?
Ömer: My health problems forced me to stop coaching in my studio since last July, and I had to exclusively train my clients online. I quickly discovered the Workout Trainer app, which was exactly what I was looking for. It has a great selection of exercises and I can easily add my own. My favorite feature of the app is the client profile feature, which has statistics and workout history. This is very handy as I do not need to keep separate workout history records. It helps me build a progressive fitness program for my clients.
Do you have any go-to training gear that you would recommend?
Ömer: Dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells are a must for my workouts. I believe strength and cardiovascular training done together is the best fitness formula. I like to use rowing, skiing and biking ergometers in conjunction with strength training.
Please share a secret health/fitness tip with the Skimble community…
Ömer: My number one fitness tip is:
– Know what motivates you, and keep the motivators close to you. –
Continuous motivation is a must for life-long heath and fitness. Every person may have different motivating factors in her/his life. If you want life long health and fitness, you have to know what motivates you and keep those motivating factors close to you. Your motivation may be to look good in a new outfit, upcoming vacation, your favorite workout gear, your commitment to your girlfriend or boyfriend, enthusiasm to learn new things, discovering great benefits of a healthy lifestyle, staying fit to enjoy the company of others, fighting diabetes or high blood pressure, keeping young to play with grandchildren, etc., etc. Whatever the reasons are, keep reminding yourself.
Thanks for sharing with us, Ömer, and all the best !