No need for a membership to a gym you probably dread going to, and instead of subsidizing gym memberships the Cornerstone Autism Center decided to bring the workout directly to their employees. Cornerstone calls their in-house exercise project Strength For Your Life.
Strength For Your Life is a new concept in fitness training. It not only works on the physical forms standard in exercise programs but it also integrates a positive mental conditioning as well. Sounds neat right?!
I sat down with David Ide, CEO of the Cornerstone Autism Center and board member of the recently founded Cornerstone Autism Foundation, to discuss this radical new approach to fitness and Cornerstone’s aims for introducing it into the center.
Jarrad: You seem like a pretty fit guy. I saw you once bring in a full size blender so you could make a giant smoothie out of berries, kale and soy milk. How does health and fitness parallel the process of learning about autism?
David: I am an “on the wagon” or “off the wagon” guy when it comes to fitness and health. What I finally became really attuned to is that I had this incredible feeling of enthusiasm, potential, fulfillment, and happiness. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be in life on the inside, but unless someone spent some time with me and be able to get that sense… you would never see it on the outside. The outside has to match the inside!
I think it does parallel autism from the stand point of there’s just so many variables and what is the key for THAT kiddo? What is the key for you as an individual? Then how do you, once you understand those things, find the right tools to get you over those barriers, to get you to your place you want to go?
J: Speaking of being fit as a fiddle, I recently had a chat with Megan DeYoung about the Dream Manager program. You just started a health program called Strength For Your Life (SFYL). Was this a response to the staff who wished they would be more fit and healthy or some other reason?
David: ABSOLUTELY that came from the Dream Manager. I’m so into introducing health and fitness into our center not only because everyone tells us in their Dream Manager they want to be more fit, lose weight, be able to do a marathon. That’s the first reason; the second reason is I believe in the therapist’s role. One might not necessarily equate it to a real physical position and it absolutely is. The fact is they’re either running around, playing, or on the floor with the kids. I think if your mind and body are being fed correctly than you are better able to adapt and adjust to all these curve balls that these kids will throw at you.
J: I’ve overheard there are three parts to SFYL. Can you talk little about what these three things are and why each is so important for someone to do?
David: Yeah. We’re really integrating two of them to start with. The three parts is the traditional fitness part with Bill Dean where we’re working on strength, stamina, and cardio. It’s basically circuit training using resistance bands.
The second element is the mental strength training, and that’s Dr. Curtis. It is the understanding of why behavior change and new habits are so difficult to maintain. Going back to the prehistoric days the brain said basically anything that you do that doesn’t get you killed is cool, and it would keep repeating it. You’re not going to get eaten from a saber tooth tiger when you open up the freezer and have 2 bowls of ice cream every night. How do you break through that habitual barrier? One is having a calm mind, and the other is having a healthy self-esteem. Those two things combined allow us to put ourselves in the position where we can affectively visualize the future we want and break through the way it’s been.
The third element is nutrition. It is an element that we will not start with, but we have access to resources that, in a very knowledgeable way, assess the content and calories of someone’s current diet and be able to recommend healthy changes.
J: Bill Dean, the physical instructor of SFYL. Is he based out of Indy?
David: Bill Dean is in Zionsville. He lives 4 doors down from me! He was the strength and training coach for the Pacers from 1998 to 2005. He left that and with his wife started their own company, Succeed Personal Fitness, in 2005.
J: And Bill streamed the workouts through Skype?
David: Yeah, we did the pilot with Skype. It was more successful than I could have imagined, but it does have its limitations. Bill Dean has to maximize his ability to be with other clients. To the extent he can, at any particular day record workouts ahead of time will be beneficial for all of us. And I truly think that having the ability to have it whenever you want is also going to be a big key. It will allow those that want to work together, or if you can’t stay after work, you have children, or whatever, that you can access that same work out and do it on your own later.
J: Wow! That’s pretty awesome! So, can I just swing over to Best Buy or GNC and pick up Bill Dean and Dr. Curtis’s videos?
David: Not yet. But I’m sure they’ll be available in the future. It will become a part of our orientation training. When we do all the components we use for our training program: our shadowing, PCM, CPR, our solutions training, all of that, the physical strength and mental strength training will actually be a part of that. For employees who are already a member of a gym we hope to bring Dr. Curtis back so he can elaborate on things, answer questions, and talk about new elements. And obviously his videos will be made available to people who are in the company.
J: And you do participate also in the program right? What results have you seen from yourself and the others who partake in this venture?
David: I’ve seen great results. Since November I’ve lost about 70 lbs. Blood pressure, body fat, resting heart rate, strength, flexibility, all of those markers people look for when people talk about true wellness and fitness, and all significant improvements. And that’s what made it such a no brainer for me making it available to members of Cornerstone.
July 23, 2012, cornerstoneac