Knee Surgery to a New Me

Submitted by: Melissa Batterman

Cassie Buckalew - MRMT's Success Story

In April of 2011, I had total knee reconstruction surgery and at the age of 24, I was told I should never run again. I was a gymnast previously for 16 years and retired do to some injuries and of course, like everyone else, made excuses for the reason why I was gaining weight. When I started personal training with Mel in October of 2011, I was classified as the “skinny fat”. I had no muscle tone and my knee was still buckling when I walked and still could not “run/jog”. Do you really think at the age of 24 I’m going to give up an active passion such as running/jogging? I don’t even have children yet.
I had been seeing the physical therapist and as a physical therapist myself, it just wasn’t pushing me hard enough to get off the crutches and regaining my normal active life. Mel has changed my life! She did everything I didn’t expect a personal trainer to do. She gave me a fitness test, a body comp, and counseled me in my nutrition. She set goals to be met and gave me a fitness plan and said, “We will be meeting two times a month and it will be nothing like your fitness plan, so be ready.”
My first actual personal training session“ how to describe this, she kicked my butt and I had to sit down at least three times that morning. And she said, “That’s fine, just next time we will work harder and try not to sit down. If you can’t do this (which was point blank, everyday activities), than you can’t do anything in regards to cleaning your house, doing yard work, or playing with children. These are everyday normal activities that you should be able to do without sitting down and becoming light headed.” All that went through my mind was, “REALITY CHECK!”
Mel held me accountable. She pushed me and didn’t let up. The best thing about this experience and my continued sessions with her is that I ran a 5K. Without Mel focusing on muscle groups and overall fitness health, I would still have a buckling knee, extreme pain, and probably be obese from sitting on the couch making excuses for why I couldn’t do something.
Mel is at fingertips reach if I need to get a hold of her when I’m having an issue with my diet, the numbers not changing on the scale, a fitness question, etc. She can counsel not only in person, but over the phone, AND through text message. She is truly someone who is gifted at reaching her clients and leveling with them, but still motivating no matter how the conversation is had. Not only can she still push and motivate through text message, but she has taken the biggest challenge of all with my diet and nutrition. I fast a lot and abstain from many foods over the course of the year and for long periods of time and she has found numerous recipes that meet my religious needs AND nutrition AND physical demands. Nothing stops her from helping you to reach your goals.
Before Mel, I could not do a leg extension (on my rehabbed knee) with any weight on it. Now I’m lifting 30lbs resistance and she keeps pushing. I got a high-five from her and it was the most uplifting experience throughout this whole process.
Mel radiates health, wellness, knowledge, drive, passion, and dedication. She does not give up. She goes at your pace, but knows you can always do better. She is the best motivator I have ever had, and not just in fitness, but in life. She has taught me to continuously set the bar higher, push myself harder, be patient and change will happen, but most of all, if I want to change, than I am the one who must do it. She is the best personal trainer and the best life coach you will ever have. Because of Mel, I’m doing things I haven’t done in over 10 years and doing them better than before. I’m more active AND I’m running in 5k’s.

Thank You Mel! Although those words alone still don’t nearly express my deepest gratitude. You gave me my life back and with new meaning.