Fitness and Nutrition Training For People
In Recovery From Substance Abuse

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Paul Norris - My Story

Fitness and Nutrition Training For People In Recovery From Substance Abuse

Fitness and Nutrition Trainer


Paul’s Story

When a person has a healthy, strong mind and body, the cravings and urges to use drugs or alcohol fade.

Bracebridge Hall’s personal trainer, Paul Norris, helps patients make healthy choices to support both their physical and emotional well-being. Norris works with each one of our patients to under their current physical well-being. From here, he creates a personalized plan which includes physical and mental goals, exercise routines, and nutrition.

When combined with addiction treatment, working with a personal trainer can:

  • Improve emotional and mental health. Studies show exercise can help moderate the brain’s dopamine levels. Instead of the brain counting on addictive substances to get that release of feel good neurotransmitters, it’ll associate exercise with it instead.
  • Create new healthy habits. Reintroducing structure and good habits into daily life creates a healthy routine, which is critical for long-term recovery. These newfound, healthy routines give patients renewed hope at a new lifestyle – one with structure for during and after treatment.
  • Help cut back on pain. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) found that physical therapy has been shown to work better for long-term health vs. prescription opioid painkillers. Therefore, working with a personal trainer during addiction treatment can help a patient moderate their pain, as they work towards strengthening their bodies and fighting their disease.
  • Foster a sense of community. Close friendships are created when patients exceed fitness goals – they cheer one another on and work together to get better. Having a strong social support is essential in recovery; it gives our patients the emotional support and positive strengthening they need to keep going.

It’s not just about working out or getting strong. Patients have open gym time, and the sense of community that develops is amazing. Everyone decides what they want to do, but the option to have one-on-one training time with me is always there, A lot of topics come up in group and individual training sessions. People open up.”
– says Norris

In addition to personal training, fun group activities, nature hikes, and nutritional advice, Recovery Centers of America at Bracebridge also offers weekly wellness seminars.

Broken up into gender-separated groups, patients learn about nutrition, healthy food choices, how often to eat, what food can help them deal with cravings and emotions, and how food can increase brain capacity.

This is how we get better, I ask patients what a car needs to function: Fuel. The same goes for your body. We have to give your body the proper fuel for it to function as its best, so we can fight this.”

“I ask a lot of patients to think hard about the last time they felt good about themselves. Everyone tends to say it was before they started doing drugs or drinking. The better your nutrition and fitness, the better you’ll feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the less likely you will do things to hurt yourself, like use drugs or alcohol. This is a healthy distraction, a new goal.”
– Norris says

When a patient commits to physical wellness, there’s no room left for addiction. Patients bind themselves to new, healthy routines that don’t include drugs or alcohol.

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