ASHLAND—At a small park in Ashland off the Bear Creek Greenway, coach John Hacker runs his weekly bootcamp.
A personal trainer for 25 years, his story is about helping others.
"People in their 30s to people in their 70s, I have clients that are body builders, ultra runners, people that want to liberate stored energy, lose 20/30 pounds and just everybody in between," he said.
Hacker’s approach is called functional training—a type of workout that spreads fatigue throughout the body instead of just focusing on one muscle group.
Shannon Stuver is one of his clients.
She says it even goes beyond the workouts. It’s the experience that’s rewarding.
"His personality is a huge part of it,” she said. “He's incredibly uplifting, he's got a lot of energy. He's talking to us the whole time so you actually don't feel like you're working out, but you know he's still paying attention to your form and if you're doing it correctly because he's correcting you in the middle of one of his stories."
But for as much as coach Hacker helps others, he’s also helping himself.
25 years ago, he was involved in a major bike accident, and was told by doctors he’d be in chronic pain the rest of his life.
“I refused to accept that,” he said.
Infatuated with the techniques of his personal trainers at the time, he made it his own career.
"Statistically if I just sat on the couch and didn't do anything, then I would be in chronic pain, but there are some things that you can do, you can take action," he said.
Hacker likes to say that pain is part of life, it’s suffering that’s optional.
"I feel so connected and alive when I'm doing my job. I'm the luckiest person in the world. I absolutely love what I do. I get to help people and they help me too," he said.
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