Cindy Rakowitz

ACE Group Fitness Instructor


I did not realize the magnitude of my injuries until I became fitness aware in mid-life. Fascinated with the power of endorphin release and balanced kinesiology programs, I became ACE Certified to share the art of safe workout programs with the world. This may sound overly ambitious, but my 30 years as a high-level corporate communications executive qualifies me for this task. Understanding movement science, I now realize that my challenge began as a tall, skinny, pigeon-toed child. My parents thought that leg braces and orthotics would make me a social outcast. They protected me from becoming a social outcast, but my body always accommodated an improper gait. Swimming, diving, ping-pong and the uneven parallel bars were my athletic preferences. I did not have the ability to run. I avoided college athletics and became a bookworm. After skipping a grade and graduating with a 4.0 GPA, ascending the corporate ladder became my focus and this was all mental performance with no fitness awareness. I survived a car accident at the end of my junior year, unaware of the complications from a broken jaw, concussion and broken right ankle. Casts came off and I was able to walk — young folks heal quickly, right? (Not — but as fitness professionals we know this can all catch up with you later.)

By age 30, I was a division president at Playboy Enterprises. My stress level was severely unhealthy, exacerbated by a lard-loaded diet and laughable fitness ability. Running to catch flights, party dancing and subway step climbing was my only cardio. At 35, my internist told me my heart and liver looked like an unhealthy 60 year old. This was my wake up call! I had to get physically and nutritionally aware. At 40 years old, I resigned from corporate life to have more control of my personal schedule and prioritization. During my reprioritization phase, I had a waterskiing accident that tore my right hamstring off the ischium. The internist who diagnosed my deadly metabolic baseline said he’d never seen a hamstring injury as serious as the one I had endured. After six weeks of physical therapy, my right leg gained 80% of its functionality so once again — I was cured (not). In 2006, I became a cardio-kickboxing addict. I lost 30 pounds and the internist was very pleased with my new metabolic baseline. A few trainers warned that I should integrate strength training and stretching into my crazy cardio-kickboxing workout routine. Without understanding the importance of a balanced training program, my injuries were worsening. Ankle sprains and strains became commonplace on the right side of my body. There was chronic pain originating from my left lower back, but it was difficult for me to isolate and identify the problem.

A podiatrist ordered an MRI scan of my right ankle. Alarmed by the size of a bone fragment lodged into my Achilles, he asked if I had ankle trauma 20 to 30 years ago. Proper movement of my lower right leg was restricted for 30 years exacerbated by that hamstring injury. Now that I understand kinesiology, my left lower back pain is a consequence of my left side overcompensating for my unknown paralysis from the right foot and shortening of right hamstring. While recovering from my ankle surgery, a chatty physical therapist explained the kinetic chain. His color commentary complemented my studies for the ACE exam. Now a proud crusader, I love explaining the importance of biomechanical, physiological and psychological balance in fitness while incorporating cardio, strength training, flexibility, recovery and nutrition into my group exercise programs.