An interview with Miriam Nunez on Personal Training for PD on July 21, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
Milly became a personal trainer in 2011 driven by her desire to learn how to help people reach their physical and personal goals. She received her associate degree from Bryan College in Advanced Health and Fitness Training and worked for Bryan University as an adjunct instructor. As a personal trainer she spent several years working primarily with older adults including specialized classes for Parkinson’s Disease. Currently training online she is working with a wider variety of clients providing individual programs specific to their goals. She continues to learn as much as she can in the field as well as educate others. As a lifelong learner the opportunity to share her knowledge and learn from others drives her dedication to her clients and her profession.
Please tell me a little about your background.
I was working at a retirement community as a personal trainer and group trainer. My manager asked if I would be interested in acquiring a Parkinson’s Cycling certification to begin classes. Soon after I discovered Rock Steady Boxing, and the rest is history. I spoke at the local support group as well and started attending conferences and volunteering. The spirit of the community was so touching. Taking it even further I became involved in working with organizations to help educate and spread the word to Spanish speaking communities.
Can you tell me more about your advocacy?
I would say my focus is on helping educate about the importance of exercise. My attention has turned to the Spanish speaking community because it has been an area lacking support and advocacy worldwide especially in areas that are not well funded.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?
I love my job (but do not see it as work). When I started working with the Parkinson’s community I was inspired by their strength and determination to maintain their quality of life. Their trust in me coming to me to help them do activities like cycling and boxing that pushed them out of their “comfort zone” was a big part of my commitment to help. The success of my athletes is my success and that motivates me personally.
What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s awareness have when working with you?
Maintaining and improving quality of life. Maintaining and learning new skills, movements, and learning.
What effect can your advocacy have on an individual with Parkinson’s awareness?
I hope that I help them learn to value themselves and make a positive change in their lives.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?
I would really like to get back into gym/facility in person and work with various groups in a variety of languages. Even working online with populations that until now have not had all of the resources they need.
What events do you participate in?
I attend training, conferences, and webinars online. Hopefully, I can continue to attend events in person as well. The WPC was the first in a long time and incredible.
How does this also assist the caregivers?
Caregivers need time to take care of themselves. I found in Rock Steady Boxing those that participated also learned and felt strengthened. Those that did not have time to do their own activities. As a Caregiver myself (not Parkinson’s) I understand how much it can require so I try and support the caregivers by letting them know they are in good hands.
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
I am on Instagram: #movementandmenus (personal), professional as a trainer I am working with forgept.com, Forge Online Personal Training
If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson community, what would it be?
One of my favorites is: Progress not Perfection. Simple and to the point, we can always improve.