Hi everybody! My name is Natalie Buchoz. I am a 23-year old college graduate from the University of Southern California (USC), entrepreneur, philanthropist, animal lover and Spinal Cord Injury victim.
I am going to start this post with a little bit of background about myself, then I am going to transition into how the NuStep has positively impacted my life – physically and mentally.
My whole life I have grown up in beautiful, sunny, Huntington Beach, California. I have always been an outdoorsy type of girl. I played every sport you can imagine – volleyball, softball, swimming, gymnastics and I participated in junior lifeguards.
I loved anything that made me challenge my body. I always strived to be the best at anything I did. It didn’t matter if I was running a 4-mile run by myself or playing in a championship softball game – everything I did, I completed like it was a championship game.
For as long as I can remember, this has been my mentality. I have always been headstrong, with what I like to call a “championship mentality.”
Unfortunately, life hit me square in the face when I broke my neck. As a direct result of my injury, my championship mentality was put to the test in a very different way than I had previously been accustomed to.
Everyday I faced was a personal struggle, within my mind and body. My body no longer did what I told it to do. I was 100% a slave to my paralyzed limbs.
I was 16 years old and I could no longer run. I could no longer swim. I could no longer play softball. I couldn’t even feed myself. What happened to the champion I used to be? What happened to my life?
The most important question; how was I going to live my life in the manner I had always envisioned for myself?
As I stated before, life was a daily test for me. Simply getting out of bed was a task I could no longer do for myself anymore. I needed a parent/friend with me 24/7 to help me with all of my needs.
Can you imagine needing someone to help you brush your teeth? Or relying on someone to help you eat when you are hungry because you can’t even make a sandwich since your hands are numb and won’t open or close, unable to grip anything? I felt constantly let down within myself – and there was nothing I could do about it.
My days consisted of physical therapy and lots of it. I would do about 10 hours or more of therapy a week. It was my most exciting part of the day – I got to actually move my body. I loved working out before my accident and I still loved it just as much after. I finally felt like I was getting back to being myself again when I was attended therapy at the Goodwill Fitness Center.
I was first introduced to the NuStep machine while at the Goodwill Fitness Center in Santa Ana. I had been working out there for months and wanted to give the machine a try. It was an incredible experience for me.
The reason it was incredible was because it was the only machine in my entire 2 years of being injured at the time, that I was able to use 100% independently.
That meant a lot to me because I always needed someone for everything I did. I started to use it 3x a week and it gave me that cardio feel I used to get when I ran on the beach. I was beyond thrilled.
The NuStep is an incredible machine that has helped me so much physically but what some might not know is how much it has helped me mentally. For those of you who enjoy going to a gym on a regular basis, you know that when you are stressed and need to burn off some steam you always have a place to go.
What would happen if you couldn’t go workout at the gym? People in wheelchairs like myself can’t go to a normal 24-Hour Fitness and workout because the machines aren’t accessible for us to use.
Can you imagine being denied by a gym because of a disability you didn’t ask for? It can weigh on your self-esteem and ultimately change your attitude about working out all together.
In my case, my championship mentality never changed. I did have an option for working out. I had a NuStep to use! That is why it is my goal to get a NuStep in every gym, so no one has to feel the way I did.
Whether you are on two feet or two wheels – everyone deserves a place to go workout!
Stay tuned for more blog posts from me and my campaign with NuStep!