From adversity to empowerment in physiotherapy and personal training

Photo (left to right): Nathaniel Gentry and his brother.

In a recent sit-down with New Zealand Institute of Sport (NZIS) graduate Nathaniel Gentry, he opened up about the motivations behind his pursuit of a career in physiotherapy and personal training.

Growing up alongside an older brother diagnosed with down syndrome, Nathaniel's drive to specialise in enhancing people's physical wellbeing was ignited from a young age.

Down syndrome, a genetic disorder characterised by an extra chromosome, is a lifelong condition that impacts an individual’s learning capability and development.

Nathaniel spoke candidly about the profound admiration he holds for his brother as he navigates having down syndrome: "His unwavering positivity in the face of adversity is what propelled me to help others overcome their mental and physical challenges."

Nathaniel's altruistic motivations are evident in his motivation to become a physiotherapist and personal trainer specialising in caring for individuals with down syndrome.

Moreover, Nathaniel's own encounters with health challenges have propelled his ambitions, enduring open-heart surgery at the age of 5 and the challenges of asthma, which have posed significant physical hurdles for him.

Training with NZIS not only equipped him with invaluable personal training theories and techniques, but also instilled in him a newfound belief in his capacity to guide others towards improved physical wellbeing.

Having attained a Level 5 Certificate in Advanced Health and Fitness Coach, Nathaniel continues to expand his skill set. Recently, he secured a position as a Waterfront Steward at a beach resort in America, an opportunity he attributes to the support he received from NZIS.

“In my new role, I can delve deep into the realms of customer service, coaching, and safety regulations, honing skills that transcend the shores.

“What excites me most is the company's ability to offer work experience in a variety of avenues, from lifeguarding to golfing and surfing.

“For me, it’s not just a job; it's an opportunity to connect with fellow enthusiasts in the health and fitness industry.”

Reflecting on his journey thus far, Nathaniel imparts advice to aspiring students treading a similar career path: "Embrace compassion and maintain a positive outlook—it's paramount."