“What do I do?” is the guaranteed question that emerges in your mind when a doctor tells you to exercise. You are clueless. You might hurt yourself. You will likely start out doing it all wrong.
But the Breathe Fitness organization – which operates BreatheFit Functional Fitness – tackles that question for you and other needful areas of concern Houstonians grapple with particularly in the past three years of lockdowns and ill health.
Katy Christian Magazine spent time with Melvin Arenas and Harry Tanaka-Chau Stafford recently to discuss why BreatheFit means so much to them as a vocation and a place to restore people to their optimal best.
“They couldn’t breathe,” Melvin Arenas shares, “but with restoration and recovery, they regained their function,” and breathing function returned to these learners at BreatheFit to an extent that they felt they’ve never ever contracted the coronavirus at all.
Arenas was born and raised in west Houston and provided physical training for the Houston Rockets professional basketball team for two years, before earning his American Council on Exercise credentials and joining Harry Stafford in redesigning the concept of a training center.
Supervised Training That Focuses On The Tangible
“Many suffer because they have come from places where they are essentially uncoached and unsupervised, and they do not get the care they need,” says Melvin, “so we at BreatheFit have always stayed on focus, simply to ‘make people better,’ because these are people we’re talking about.” Melvin emphasizes that BreatheFit is functional fitness – to help people regain movement, improve angles, restore their respiratory comfort through supervised training, and expand their stamina and endurance through resistance training.
In many ways, BreatheFit is a school and clients are learners who take home important skills that will stay with them forever. The best thing about the training is that it is “all tangible,” Arenas reminds us, “and it does work. It simply works.” Learners are coached to internalize the techniques and make the skills their own. Both Stafford and Arenas have an uncompromising attitude when it comes to catering training regimens to the particular conditions of their learners.
Their success with post-Covid care has catapulted BreatheFit to niche status in the Greater Houston area, because of an emphasis on building strength. BreatheFit understands that it is useless to complain about respiratory ailments and do nothing about it. “Many get the desired body they want, after working with us – and many realize they are no longer affected by anxiety and depression, because they simply breathe better and walk better now.”
And they do not just walk better. Melvin Arenas explains that it is about behavioral accountability. There is a college student who loves track but used to keep falling behind in races, and could not finish laps without losing stamina. After sixty hours with BreatheFit, she had a friend capture a race one day so that she could have it sent to BreatheFit. In that race, the college kid tore past other sprinters and led the race within seconds – and putting a huge thirty-yard distance between herself and the girl behind her.
A Track Record In Bringing Aspirations To Fruition
“We have so many instances of parents putting their trust in us,” says Arenas, and he shares the testimony of how a young ballet enthusiast wanted to excel in her craft and came to BreatheFit to learn breathing, control, and endurance techniques. Today she has four scholarship offers from various universities that are impressed with her ballet and academics.
“People at BreatheFit simply grow more alert, more able, and with enhanced levels of movement,” he describes, and much of his background in respiratory therapy and occupational safety and health informs the way he trains his learners. Arenas co-opts nutrition as part of his recommendations to learners, in his hopes that they do not forget what it means to live healthy – “it is part of the whole concept,” and doctors have come to BreatheFit to work more closely with the functional fitness programs there.
BreatheFit services can be rather exclusive, simply because they are tailored to the individual. Houstonians of social renown have approached BreatheFit for the specialized training it is known for, and Arenas is particularly affirmed by this track record. “We believe in helping people, and that’s what really matters.”
Seniors benefit from BreatheFit often in the most spectacular of ways. A lady came to BreatheFit after having exhausted all her options in medications, conventional occupational therapy and physical therapy. She could not walk, not even with zimmer frames, gutter frames, or wheeled walkers. After eighteen months with BreatheFit, she walked seventy feet with a walker on her own strength by the close of 2022. Recently, she demonstrated 440 feet of walking with a walker, unpowered by anything other than her own regained function.
BreatheFit Functional Fitness is focused on giving people a tangible chance to rejoin their activities of daily living (ADLs). Visit www.breathe-fitness.com and write them emails at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit at their Katy Freeway center. Call 713-487-9811 and ask for Melvin Arenas (Mel) or Harry Stafford.
BreatheFit has been featured on KPRC2 Graham Media NBC affiliate and KRIV Fox26 Houston.