Life coach and personal trainer JJ Economu helps people achieve longterm health and lifestyle changes and he is a testament himself to that health change philosophy. At the age of 13, he was a sports representative for Scotts College and a Wellington representative in rugby, athletics and basketball – with an aim to be a professional sportsman. However, he was having physical problems with his legs. His calves were very painful and swollen “like a sausage breaking out of its casing,” he says. After many visits to various doctors and specialists, not to mention a year in a wheelchair, JJ was eventually diagnosed with compartment pressure syndrome and told he probably wouldn’t ever be able to walk again, let alone play professional sport. Pretty hard words for a young, fit and active young guy with huge aspirations.
Asking one specialist in Auckland where he was receiving stem cell treatment, what sports he might one day be able to play, the response was to “play tiddlywinks”. Not surprisingly JJ lost faith in the health system.
“They promised so much and nothing ever happened”. At the age of 20, he had the longest history of injury in New Zealand.
Also not surprising was that he lost faith in himself and his abilities. Missing three days a week of school due to his painful condition, he couldn’t spend time with his friends and found it hard to keep up with schoolwork. He got depressed and put on 20kg.
In his final year of school, JJ decided to make some changes. He wasn’t going to remain in a wheelchair.
“Somewhere within me I found the
JJ Economu is an advocate of holistic fitness being fun.