When life throws a wrench into your plans, you can give up or you can make the conscious decision to persevere. Patrick Sjodahl chose the latter and is well on his way to becoming a certified personal trainer, despite his failing vision.
Patrick was diagnosed with Leber’s, an inherited form of vision loss, when he was just 19 years old. At the time, he was pursuing his technical school education and working toward a career working on motorcycles. He may have been forced to give up technical training, but he wasn’t about to give up on life.
It was while indulging in another passion, exercise, that Patrick began to consider a new career path. He was in great shape, knowledgeable about fitness, and eager to help others. Why not put those qualities to good use and become a personal trainer?
As for his lack of vision, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for this enterprising young man. He relies on the sense of touch, using his hands to track the progress of his clients.
Leber’s, or Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, is characterized by painless central vision loss in both eyes. Generally, some peripheral vision remains. Leber’s is more common in men and usually develops in early adulthood. Most people with Leber’s qualify as legally blind. There is no cure.
“I like spreading my knowledge to others,” Sjodahl told CBS affiliate WCCO. His clients praise his feedback and ability to teach without preaching.
“To see him out here entering personal training in his way is his strength,” said Billy Anderson, his teacher. Sjodahl is currently training for certification from Life Time Academy.
If his clients and future clients are looking for inspiration, they needn’t look far. Despite his vision loss, Sjodahl still runs marathons. With this man as your personal trainer, it’s going to be very difficult to come up with an excuse not to work out.
Now that’s how you persevere.
For information on how to become a personal trainer please visit the National Register of Personal Trainers