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  • Writer's pictureAnnie Bothma

My Hero

Meet my Hero, Keith Gribble. This 72-year-old gentleman is one of my personal training clients at Virgin Active. Don’t be fooled by his age, because this gentleman will put the most youngsters in the gym to shame if you see him do his pull-ups!

Meet my Hero, Keith Gribble

I am privileged enough to get to train Keith twice a week and have been amazed these past few months to see him progress in a way I didn’t think was still possible at his age. Keith is one the most determined and inspiring people, I have ever met. He has such a positive outlook on life and being around him is such a pleasure. He performs every exercise movement with so much control and focus - I am so privileged to be his trainer. He is very serious when it comes to doing exercises with the correct form, "It's all about the form," like he says.

However, Keith didn’t have a smooth journey to get to where he is today. About 10-years ago Keith was in a terrible cyclist accident where he broke almost every bone in his body. He had to get a knee replacement, as well as undergo several surgeries to get him back on his feet.

But this didn’t stop Keith.

When I first saw Keith on the gym floor, I could see that his posture wasn’t good due to compensations for previous injuries. His feet were always turned in and you could notice an imbalance. I started slowly instead of using the machines I used bands, lighter free-weights, balls and other functional fitness equipment. The results were amazing. Within only 3 months I could see a big change not only in his posture but also in his muscle definition and strength - imagine to still be able to do pull-ups at the age of 72! He comes to the gym 6 days a week and often walks there covering the distance of 5km from his house. He is definitely one of my biggest inspirations! I aspire to be like him, by still being active and healthy for the rest of my life.

If you read my previous post, Detour, you will see that I have had my share of obstacles and accidents to overcome. But If I look at this gentleman, I realize that it is all about how you perceive it and how hard you are willing to fight to get your life back. If you really want your fitness back - do the rehab and get in the pool!

I have been in so much pain and discomfort this past month, that I had to temporarily stop working. The doctors recommended going through the necessary medical testing/operation, so I can have a pain-free life again and be able to do what I love most. When I broke the bad news to Keith, he just smiled and said: “What do we do? WE NEVER EVER GIVE UP!”

I smiled back, with tears in my eyes, I promise I won't.

- Annie

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