Karl Sterling, NeuroRehabilitation Through NeuroPsychoMotor Training

An interview with Karl Sterling, NeuroRehabilitation Through NeuroPsychoMotor Training on November 26, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.




NeuroMotor Training founder, Karl Sterling is a neuro-rehabilitation specialist and NASM Master Trainer based in Syracuse, New York, and is the creator of the Parkinson’s Regeneration Training ® and NeuroMotor Training ® education programs.


While his extensive experience as a rehabilitation specialist includes working with a variety of populations, he primarily specializes in working with clients who have movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, MSA (Multiple System Atrophy), MS, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, Autism, and more.


Karl travels extensively around the world as public speaker, keynote speaker, and educator in the movement disorder, human movement, and personal growth arenas. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Agile Human Performance, Inc. and owner/CEO of NeuroMotor Training LLC, which currently offers courses worldwide.


In addition, Karl is the founder and president of the Parkinson’s Global Project, Inc. ® a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation dedicated to funding education and research and helping people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders all over the world.


The NeuroMotor Training clinic is located in Camillus, New York at the Preventative Medicine Associates complex, where he works with patients to restore/improve movement, memory, and cognition.


Please tell me a little about your background.


At a very young age, there’s one thing I knew for certain – I wanted to help people. I would often see people having difficulty moving or performing a task or a chore and felt bad for them and always tried to help. However, at six or seven years old, all I could do was feel for them as I had no idea that a career in helping them could be an option. For that matter, who knows the meaning of the word “career” at the age of seven years old?


Growing up, I had two major interests: drumming and bicycling. My parents were very musical. My mother, Helen, graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in music education. She also happened to be an excellent classical pianist in addition to being a very good vocalist and French horn player. My father, Robert (Bob), also attended Ithaca college. He was a drummer, played piano very well, and composed and arranged music for all his bands. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by music, mostly big band, salsa, and some jazz.


Drumming was a natural for me and it came to me quite easily. Buddy Rich was my first drum idol. When dad took me to see him in 1970 when I was nine years old, that sealed the deal. I HAD to be a drummer.


All through middle school and high school, I was in a concert band, jazz band and other bands. I practiced so much under my father‘s instruction, that I ended up performing professionally at the age of 14. From then on, music was my primary source of income.


For the first few years, I pretty much enjoyed being a drummer and performing. Some of the gigs were cool, like opening for Spyro Gyra, Dizzy Gillespie, and countless others.


However, after several years, being in the music industry was no longer fulfilling for me. There was an inner calling for me to do something different. As a drummer, I didn’t feel that I was helping anybody to live a better quality of life. For a short period of time, I gave private drum lessons, quickly discovering that I was a terrible teacher. Not only was I a terrible teacher, but I dreaded teaching. It just wasn’t for me. That ended quickly and I went back to performing.


In the meantime, another thing was slowly happening, and it wasn’t good. I was GAINING WEIGHT and LOTS of it. At 6’2″ I had gradually worked my way up to 269 pounds. I was eating far too much, not exercising, and felt awful. My diet was very poor, I was clinically obese, pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure, chronic upper respiratory infections, and was close to having COPD, even though I was never a smoker. In fact, it was an annual physical exam with my doctor that began the pathway towards changing my life. He politely, but sternly told me that if I didn’t make immediate changes in diet and exercise, I was headed down a very bad and unhealthy path.


I left the appointment (literally crying and ashamed), got into my car, and called my friend, Eric Prager, one of the best personal trainers in the Syracuse area. That phone call changed my path and changed my life forever. I met with Eric the very next day. We went through several assessments, talked about nutrition, and began my pathway to health.


Fast forward 6 months, I had cleaned up my dietary lifestyle and was working with Eric three times per week. These sessions were SERIOUS, and I worked hard. I had gained a lot of strength, lost 35 pounds, and was feeling amazing, but I needed to lose more. I was still overweight. I stayed on this journey with Eric for nearly a year, but something occurred to me after 6 months on the pathway to health. What if I could help people feel as good as I was feeling? Perhaps I could become a personal trainer and HELP PEOPLE to FEEL BETTER!


BOOM! That was IT. I bought the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) CPT program and six months later, passed the exam. I am now a personal trainer! My first shot at training was at the gym. I was a member of my favorite gym ever, Pine Grove Health Club in Camillus, NY. My primary clientele were people with weight loss related goals. While this was fine, I knew very well that diet plays an equally important role as exercise in weight management. I wanted to give detailed nutrition advice to clients as I knew it would be a game changer in helping them to achieve their goals. After all, by this time I had lost close to 70 pounds and knew very well that if I hadn’t changed my dietary lifestyle, I wouldn’t have lost so much weight (or at least not nearly as quickly). The problem I ran into was – it is not in the scope of practice of a personal trainer to prescribe meal plans (even though I knew what to do). To do this in New York State, you must be a registered dietitian.


This roadblock led to me applying to and being accepted into the Syracuse University (SU) nutrition program! During my first few months of classes, I continually inquired about (and in reality, constantly bothered) the Syracuse University personal training director, Eliza Decker to ask for a personal training position. Eventually, I got a meeting with her, and she hired me on the spot! Now I could keep my life on campus all day – classes and fitness training.


Enter Parkinson’s


Big changes started to happen as I began this new and exciting path! It was at SU where I met the gentleman who would become my first client living with Parkinson’s disease, Jerry Evensky. Jerry was my economics professor and because I always had a lot of


questions about course content, I often stayed after class and asked questions.


About halfway through the semester, Jerry asked “what is your line of work?” I told him that I was a personal trainer and worked part time training clients at the university. He stated that his neurologist office had called to tell him that he was losing bone density in his right hip and recommended resistance training to preserve bone density.


After the semester ended and after the holiday and new year break, Jerry and I met for coffee. We met at the Marshall Street Starbucks and talked for quite a long time. After a while, Jerry asked, “will you be my trainer?” Now, at that particular time, Jerry didn’t know that I reluctantly said “yes.” I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to hurt him. I wanted to help him! But I said YES because I had a resource to turn to and get advice on what to do and not to do when working with a person with PD.


I said “yes” to Jerry because at the time, my son, Nick was in the MD/PhD program at Hershey Penn State College of Medicine. I knew I could call Nick and get advice. Nick was doing research for his PhD and working for a well-known and respected neurologist, Dr. Xuemei Huang. His knowledge of PD was (and is) vast. He gave me direction and I began working with Jerry. This was the beginning of my journey in working with people with PD.


The Podcast


Always eager to learn as much as possible, I needed to get face to face with experts and learn more. I  have always found it highly beneficial to be the least knowledgeable person among any group of people. This offers the opportunity to learn so much.


I pondered in my mind “what is the best way to get face to face with movement experts, medical experts, and neurologists to learn as much as possible?” These people have very demanding schedules. Asking them out for coffee or lunch didn’t seem like a viable option. Then I thought, what if I start a podcast? Maybe they will take me up on my offer to be a guest on my program and share about their work and their passion. I started asking experts to be my guest and KABAM, they started saying YES. This began my pathway towards getting in front of 120+ experts as of this writing.


These interviews proved to be an amazing way to expand my knowledge and my network. In fact, they have led to many wonderful friendships and opportunities, including my first teaching position in the movement industry which eventually led to the development of the Parkinson’s Regeneration Training workshop series and writing of this book!


One of my first interviews was with Dr. Emily Splichal. I learned about her while interviewing a dear friend and mentor, Dr. Brent Brookbush, a NYC based physical therapist and human movement guru. Brent suggested I reach out to Emily because she had great education and information to share and wow, he was RIGHT!


Before leaving his office after our interview in Manhattan, I emailed Dr. Emily. She responded immediately and we spoke on the phone for almost an hour that night. The following week, we met in NYC, I


nervously interviewed her and IMMEDIATELY knew that I had to take ALL her courses ASAP – and that’s exactly what I did. Dr. Emily is the founder of the Evidence Based Fitness Academy (EBFA). She’s also the founder and creator of the amazing Naboso Barefoot Technology products. You’ll be hearing a lot about Naboso later in this book.


Two weeks after meeting Dr. Emily, I drove to Rhode Island to attend the Barefoot Rehab Specialist course. Within 4 months after that, I attended two additional courses: Barefoot Training Specialist Level 1 and Level 2.


Becoming an educator


Immediately after taking my first course with her, I started implementing her barefoot training techniques with all my clients, including my clients with Parkinson’s disease. The improvements in movement were immediate and very noticeable. While I was very happy to see improvements, the more important factor was that the clients were feeling the benefits. Excited about the noticeable progress, I started posting videos of clients all over social media, sharing the results we were seeing. Many people took notice of the postings and were curious and impressed with the results. In fact, Dr. Emily noticed the posts, and this led to a discussion about me teaching her.


While this was an exciting idea, I was very hesitant and didn’t feel ready. The course material is very in-depth and high level. However, after much more discussion, studying, and attending level 1 & 2 Barefoot Training Specialist courses for a second time, I decided it was time to take her up on her offer! I wanted to teach for her and share this groundbreaking education with other professionals.


Next stop – Dubai, where I attended the EBFA Master Instructor training course. This was my first trip overseas and I was completely hooked on the course material and traveling.


Upon returning home, I studied and studied, took the instructor exam, and passed! Now, it was official. I could teach! Having booked bands for many decades, I found it quite easy to book workshops I could teach for EBFA. Two months after the Dubai trip (and after countless hours practicing my presentation in front of a pretend audience on my back porch), I taught my first EBFA workshop in my hometown, Baldwinsville, NY. I was so nervous. My knuckles were white, but it went well. Even my former trainer, Eric Prager attended and loved it (this made me feel more reassured and less nervous as Eric has such extensive knowledge and experience as a movement specialist)!


Parkinson’s Regeneration Training Begins


Momentum gained quickly and I was booking workshops all over the USA. Over the following 1.5 years, I taught dozens of workshops, coast to coast. Interestingly, it was during these workshops that a common theme was occurring. Many workshop attendees had been following my social media postings. They were interested in learning more about the information I was posting about my work with the


Parkinson’s community. At nearly every workshop someone would say “why don’t you write a Parkinson’s course and start teaching it?” At first, I thought nothing of it, but after hearing this for several months, I started thinking it might be a great idea.


The research began and I started putting together a course. After working with many people with Parkinson’s disease, I learned that many of them didn’t even know much about the disease or how to manage disease symptoms. There was (and still is) a huge gap between medical care/physical therapy/education and functional life for the person living with PD. My goal with the course? FILL THAT GAP and educate with as much relevant information as possible.


I researched and studied and after a few months, put together a course. It began as a one day, 7-hour workshop. A name had to go along with the course. With the help of my son (who’s great at naming things), we came up with “Parkinson’s Regeneration Training” as the title. It made sense. Our education is about managing PD and regenerating a better quality of life.


The first PRT workshop was held in Portland, Oregon. It went well, but as I always say, “as an instructor, I learn more at every workshop than any of my attendees learn from what I teach.” This has proven true at EVERY single workshop I have ever taught. This has led to endless amounts of research, learning, and growing the course into a two-day workshop within the first year. In fact, we now have so much education, we can’t teach it all in two days anymore, hence one of the reasons for writing this book and for creating the online institute I launched in 2019.


Now, PRT has grown into a team of instructors! Along the journey, I’ve met amazing people who are 100% committed to helping people with Parkinson’s. Some of these people are now a part of the PRT instructor team. Alison Klaum (Massachusetts), Ruben Atarvia (Costa Rica), and Russ Parker (Long Island) have all traveled extensively and done an amazing job delivering the PRT education. Each of them has their own experience in working with people with PD. In fact, Russ Parker (who wrote 2 contributions for this book) is an NASM personal trainer and he has Parkinson’s disease! I couldn’t ask for a better team, and it is an honor to have them in the PRT family.


Fast forward to the present day (and back to my opening thoughts), it’s hard to believe we’ve taught this course so extensively around the globe. Travels have included:


  • Singapore
  • Paris, France
  • Rome, Italy
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Waterford, Ireland
  • London, England
  • Rochester, England
  • Monterrey, Mexico
  • San Luis Potosi, Mexico
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Chetumal, Mexico
  • Chihuahua, Mexico
  • Cordoba, Argentina
  • San Diego
  • Alameda, CA
  • San Mateo, CA
  • Austin, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Portland, OR
  • Denver, CO
  • Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Nashville, TN
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Boston, MA
  • Booth Bay, Maine
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Huntington, NY (Long Island)
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Dublin, OH
  • Tempe, AZ
  • West Palm Beach, FL
  • Comerio, Puerto Rico


Even more mind boggling to me is the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to present and/or be a keynote speaker at numerous fitness, brain, neurology, and nervous system conferences around the world with lectures in:


  • New York City
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Monterrey, Mexico
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Chihuahua, Mexico
  • London, U.K.
  • Paris, France
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Syracuse, NY


I’m highly honored to say that demand for the course has been high and from all corners of the world.


Can you tell me more about your organization?


I am honored to say that we are the GO TO clinic in Central New York State for people (and medical referrals) seeking more effective therapies and strategies to:

  • Movement, Cognitive, and Memory Rehabilitation
  • Pain management therapy
  • Parkinson’s Therapy Program
  • NeuroRehabilitation Program
  • VO2 Resting Metabolic Analysis
  • VO2 MAX Testing
  • Lactate Threshold Testing
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • MSA (Multiple System Atrophy)
  • MS (Multiple Sclerosis – all four types of MS)
  • Dementia
  • Cognitive Decline
  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • ALS
  • Dystonia (all types)
  • Ataxia (all types)
  • Dyskinesia
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS)
  • Visual convergence issues
  • Vestibular issues (vertigo, etc)
  • and more

What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?


  • Improve movement, posture, gait, memory, cognition, and reaction time
  • Retrain the brain to accomplish everything in this list (via the brain’s neuroplastic potential)
  • Build muscle mass
  • Improve strength, balance, stability, mobility, and agility
  • Reduce fall risk and falls
  • Improve multi-tasking abilities
  • Reduce tremors, rigidity, postural instability, akinesia, bradykenesia, freezing
  • Improve quality of life and ability to perform activities of daily living


What type of training and how long are the programs?


  • One-on-one sessions between 60-75 minutes each, 2-3 times per week


What effect can it have on an individual with Parkinson’s?


It can accomplish the following – very well:


  • Improve movement, posture, gait, memory, cognition, and reaction time
  • Retrain the brain to accomplish everything in this list (via the brain’s neuroplastic potential)
  • Build muscle mass
  • Improve strength, balance, stability, mobility, and agility
  • Reduce fall risk and falls
  • Improve multi-tasking abilities
  • Reduce tremors, rigidity, postural instability, akinesia, bradykenesia, freezing
  • Improve quality of life and ability to perform activities of daily living


What would you like to see as a future goal for your programs?


We are always seeking new tools, techniques, and strategies to better accomplish our goals for our patients, and to help the patients accomplish their goals.


What events do you participate in?

I continue to travel and teach globally my NeuroMotor Training and Parkinson’s Regeneation Training workshops.


I also am keynote speaker at many neurology and brain conferences globally every year.


I always have a research project going on somewhere in the world. My current projects involve an amazing motor learning tool out of Colorado known as the Panthertec-KAT system. Additionally, I will have initiated a comprehensive, 50-person Dementia / Alzheimer’s study which is like no other ever performed.


How does this also assist the caregivers?


The more we research and share and learn, the better we can help our patients. The learning and research never ends.


How can someone get in touch?  What is your website?


NeuroMotor Training, LLC

5415 W. Genesee St.

Suite 101

Camillus, NY 13031


315-935-7488 (text or call)


How can we better motivate individuals to keep hope for a cure for PD?


I have literally seen miracles happen. I have written about them in my two Parkinson’s books.


NEVER give up fighting. NEVER give up learning and trying new things.


ALWAYS keep learning.


Get out of your comfort zone.


If your doctor of neurologist says there’s nothing you can do, THEY’RE WRONG! That’s when you get a new neurologist and/or call me!


Why should people who don’t have Parkinson’s care about this? 


Because ALL humans need to keep moving and use their brains every single day. They will feel better and possibly delay the onset of a disease like Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s if they’re genetically predisposed to it.


This also helps us to help the person with PD better.


If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?


BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and NEVER give up fighting. NEVER give up learning and trying new things.


ALWAYS keep learning.


Get out of your comfort zone.


If your doctor of neurologist says there’s nothing you can do, THEY’RE WRONG! That’s when you get a new neurologist and/or call me!


Move your body and use your brain a lot every single day. Humans were meant to MOVE. Do what you WILL do, because then you’re more likely to do it.