Meet Hunter! ChiroStrength's New Fitness Director
Hello, ChiroStrength family. My name is Hunter Walters, and I’m thrilled to be taking on the role of fitness director here at the clinic. You might remember seeing me assist Dr. Dunaway with video demonstrations during my internship
Since then, I’ve earned my B.S. in Health with a concentration in Exercise Science and received my personal trainer certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
I’m excited for the opportunity to share health and fitness with the ChiroStrength community!
I’ll just start today by sharing with you a bit of my story: how I got into fitness and what brought me to ChiroStrength.
I started training and paying attention to my diet when I was 15 years old. Before that, I had always been overweight, introverted, and socially awkward. Despite having supportive parents, my self-esteem was lacking.
Towards the end of my 8th grade year, I read a book called “Beyond Built” by Bob Paris, a champion bodybuilder from the 1980’s. In that book, he stated that making exercise and nutrition part of your lifestyle is the only sustainable approach. This made more sense to me than taking a magic weight loss pill or going on a crazy, restrictive diet, so I adopted his mindset.
That summer, I started strength training and eating a structured diet for the first time. Though difficult at first, I grew to love the feeling of waking up early to train. When you get up early and sweat before most people hit the alarm, you can’t help but feel like Rocky waking up to train for his big fight with Apollo Creed. My mindset towards food also changed; it was now meant to fuel my goals and nourish my body instead of just tasting good and filling my stomach. Looking at it this way helped me make the right choice when going out with family and friends.
After a few months of consistent effort, my body started changing rapidly. My frame now supported more lean muscle and less fat than it ever had before. In fact, my old clothes no longer fit and I had to get new ones before the next school year began.
However, more than my clothes had changed. Instead of hitting the snooze button, I was waking up an hour earlier to have more time to train. Exercising and eating right when I didn’t feel like it helped me develop mental toughness. Setting goals and keeping a journal to track my progress built self-discipline.
When the next school year started, my classmates noticed these changes and I became known as the “fitness guy”. It’s a great feeling to be recognized for something you care about and hope to be good at, especially as a teenager. Training and nutrition created a new identity for me. It gave me something to be proud of and feel good about. Not only that, but I enjoyed sharing what I learned with friends and classmates that had questions about fitness.
High School can be rough for introverts, and a lot of them struggle with self-esteem issues. For me, strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and a structured diet made high school far more bearable.
However, during my early 20’s in college, I had yet another life changing experience with fitness. One that I had yet to encounter: injury.
I noticed it after leg workouts, a needle prick sensation below my knee caps. “Well, I just need to stretch more!” I assumed. So I googled some supposed knee pain stretches and did them faithfully, but to no avail. Before long the pain was there even when I wasn’t working out. I could no longer train my legs with the intensity I loved.
While trying to understand the issues with my knees, I trained my upper body even more often to make up for my psychological need to train. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before a similar pain showed up in both of my elbows.
Unable to do the thing I loved, and lost muscle, gained fat, and became depressed about the whole situation.
This sparked me to begin doing research to understand what had happened to me. I studied research articles, books, YouTube videos, and switched my major to exercise science. During this time I was learning a great deal about how the human body moves and functions, and my ideas about training evolved.
While doing research on the internet one day, I came across the ChiroStrength website. I was impressed with the active care model that Dr. Dunaway described, and I emailed him for a consultation. From the phone consultation that followed, I could tell pretty quickly that our beliefs about health and fitness were aligned.
On my first visit to the clinic, Dr. Dunaway guided me through a movement assessment. This allowed me to discover the movement dysfunctions that led to my injury. It turned out I had been strengthening dysfunctional movement patterns for years. For example, I was able to move a lot of weight on presses, but a lack of shoulder stability shifted extra stress to my elbows. Over time, this led to my elbow tendinitis. A similar problem was responsible for what happened to my knees.
After the assessment, he took me through some drills to address what was causing my issues. Over the next several weeks, we met periodically to reassess and learn more drills. Most importantly, I learned how the individual parts work together to produce movement, and where things can go wrong. This allowed me to understand what made the drills helpful in restoring a good movement pattern
Making the drills a part of my warm up and daily body maintenance routine, I was quickly able to train with less and less pain. Before long, I had no pain at all during my workouts.
I was so impressed with my experience at ChiroStrength that I asked Dr. Dunaway if I could complete my school internship there. He agreed and said he would like to work with me in the future. During my internship, I continued learning the ChiroStrength philosophy.
I began thinking of ways to blend traditional fitness and rehab/prehab together with the goal of creating exercise programs that allow someone to pursue their fitness goals while becoming more injury resistant at the same time. Now I’ve come back to ChiroStrength to do just that.
ChiroStrength is known for empowering the patient, and giving them the tools to take ownership of their health. I believe in that idea, and that’s what I’m here to do with fitness for the ChiroStrength family.
For more information on private training or programming for sustainable exercise and pain relief, visit www.ChiroStrength.com or call the office 931-321-1414 to schedule your FREE consultation with Hunter.