What are the last words any fitness instructor would want to hear?
How about, “You might never work out again”?
That is precisely what doctors said to Les Mills China Master Trainer Lunar Lu when a herniated disk in her back virtually crippled her with pain.
It got to the stage where not only could she not work out or work as an instructor, she could barely walk at all.
“I was terrified,” she admits.
Lunar’s injury was so bad she eventually required surgery. As anyone who has has back surgery knows, there are no guarantees. The doctors were making no promises.
“I had a huge herniation and the doctors said my spine was not stable. They told me I cannot do weight training or any movement.”
In the end, the operation was a success. Slowly and carefully Lunar began a three-month recovery program – stressful and painful – that included swimming and gentle exercise.
“Rest was not an option,” she says. “But there was no way I was going to give up. I’m always positive and I try to focus on the solution instead of the problems.”
Lunar attributes that never-quit attitude to her mother, who she calls her “biggest role model”. With her father serving in the Chinese army and away from home for long periods, her mother raised her virtually single-handed.
“Life in China 35 years ago was a lot different and very hard. My mother worked full time as well as looking after me, and was always trying to learn new things, like sewing, to improve herself.”
When Lunar was just 17 her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent surgery and a lot of therapy, but survived. “The biggest thing I learned from her was a positive state of mind,” says Lunar. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Use these challenges to make yourself stronger and better.”
Having fought her way back to strength and fitness, and reviving her training career, Lunar found her own challenges had made her even better at her job. She discovered a “softer spot in my heart”.
“When I teach a BODYPUMP class I have more compassion,” she says. “You understand more of what [other people] are going through. “It can be really hard. Anyone trying to recover from injury knows that.
“So that’s when I determined I want to be a really good instructor. Because I felt how it had changed me. I could pass it on to change more people.”
NOW 100 STRONG! 14 January sees the global release of BODYPUMP 100, marking 25 years since the iconic workout was born. Thousands of clubs worldwide will be hosting special events and back-to-back BODYPUMP classes. Find about a club near you here.