Would you work with an overweight trainer? Or go to a dentist with bad teeth? How about going to a doctor whose office plants have died?


Ok, that last one was a joke (props to Erma Bombeck). But back to the trainer issue…I realize we trainers can come in all shapes and sizes; but would you have a hard time hiring one who is unhealthy, injured, or overweight? What if they were well educated with a degree in the field, had multiple certifications, years of experience, and a track record for getting results? If they don’t practice what they preach would you be able to look past their physical “situation”? I know this topic has been covered in the past…I’m just throwing it out there for you to think about…


Let’s shift from an overweight trainer to an often-injured trainer…? Would that be any different? Would you work with a trainer to help you get in shape and stay injury-free if he wasn’t able to do that very thing himself? Where am I going with all this?

I’ve been in the fitness and training field since 1996 when I got my first personal training gig. Throughout those 17 years, I’ve had injuries here and there, but it’s never been anything too serious; certainly nothing that required surgery. That all changed back in the spring of 2012. Since then (roughly 18 months) I’ve been dealing with a chronic medial epicondylitis issue in my right elbow. That’s a LONG time to be injured. I’ve worked with folks in the past who will get injured and my advice is always the same –> seek professional help, rest, do your homework (rehab protocols, etc). If I were to hear that someone had an 18 month-long elbow issue I would question whether or not they did any of those three things. The reason for my lingering frustration is that I have followed those rules without fail…


Here’s a list of things I’ve tried…and there may be one or two I’ve forgotten it’s been so long:

  • Rest
  • Booze! (just joking…kind of)
  • Ice
  • NSAIDS – pill and topical
  • Compression/Braces
  • Chiro/PT
  • ART
  • DNS
  • Laser
  • Cupping
  • Enzymes
  • Nutritional changes such as high curcumin intake and other anti-flammatory options
  • Cortisone injection
  • Acupuncture
  • Biopuncture
  • PRP injection
  • Blood work – I even looked “under the hood”…which did produce some scary results – pre-diabetic, extremely low WBC, low stomach acid, gut inflammation, and deficient in B12 and folate to name a few. My diet is pretty anal so I was extremely confused. I truly practice what I preach with the nutrition. I made some dietary changes and these issues did turn around for the most part.

The elbow today? It’s still lingering…definitely improved, however, I’m nowhere near 100%. Still lingering…WTF!?

I’m all ears for suggestions! I’ve seen multiple rehab specialists, multiple surgeons, and had X-rays & MRI’s done. The imaging shows inflammation, tendinosis, but no actual tearing which is why surgery hasn’t been recommended to this point.

2. HIP 
The second issue came to a head last October (13 months now) when I experienced sharp hip pain while running sprints with one of my professional boxers. After 10 months of conservative care, rehab, X-rays, MRI’s, etc., I went under the knife for a labral repair and bone resurfacing. I wrote about my experience HERE so I won’t rehash the good times of surgery. I’m 3 months post-op and it’s a slow, but steady, process.

I’m embarrassed to say this, but these injuries have negatively affected my life in multiple ways…job performance, relationships, stress levels, etc.

My inability to demonstrate exercises has left me frustrated and short-tempered. Couple that with my inability to get my own workouts in for well over a year…let’s say I’ve developed a short fuse. This has all led to my stress levels going through the roof, the adrenals being shot, my personal relationships failing…surely something has to change.

All these negative changes really go to show the power of movement; the positive effects that exercise has on both the body and more importantly, the mind.

So, back to the original discussion; would you work with an overweight trainer? How about a chronically injured one? Thankfully, my clients have stuck with me through these tough times. I can’t express how grateful I am to have such amazing clients that I get to work with each week. Selfishly, I need them to help pay for all these different treatments I’ve been trying!

For the elbow, I throw my hands up (shoulder flexion is a pain-free movement!). I’ve exhausted all options I’m aware of other than surgery. Unfortunately, surgery isn’t an option right now…and I’ll explain why in my next post. Plus, I’m recovering from hip surgery so I don’t really want to deal with two surgeries at the same time.

For the hip, I’ve just got to be patient. It is slowly improving and I hope to be incorporating lower body movements (other than “rehab” moves) into my workouts early next year.

For the mind, that’s the toughest one of all. Whether it’s the right thing to do or not; I’m making changes…personally and professionally. I’ll fill you in on my next post which will go up next week.

Embracing change…whether I’m ready or not.



About Doug
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.