If anyone knows how to take a life-shattering event and claw, climb and fight their way back from it, it’s Victoria Gooley. Gooley, a fitness manager level III at 24 Hour Fitness Tualatin Super Sport in Tualatin, Oregon, was a superstar athlete. As a child, she played four sports year-round: soccer, basketball, volleyball and track and field.
But her plan to play collegiate basketball was cut short when she was hit by an SUV while crossing the street. Gooley suffered from a broken back, and a severe head injury wiped much of her memory.
“To this day, I still cannot remember much of my life before I was 18 years old, and my current memory is not the best,” she says.
An attempt to bounce back after only a few months of bed rest left Gooley with even more injuries, and after gaining a significant amount of weight, she joined the rowing team at Oregon State University. Through rowing and studying exercise and sports science, Gooley not only strengthened her back and was able to jump back into a fitness routine, but she also graduated with a bachelor’s of science in exercise and sports science. After working for a private gym, Gooley moved back to Portland and started working as a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness.
Despite the knowledge she’d gained at OSU, Gooley struggled to apply it to her own nutrition and fitness. “I did not know what to do to make myself happy,” Gooley recalls. “Learning how to work out properly, structure proper meals and switching my mindset really changed my life and that’s all thanks to 24 Hour Fitness.”
Today, Gooley works as a fitness manager, helping spread her knowledge and passion for health and fitness with others so that they can become the happiest, healthiest version of themselves—like her former client, Robert Torres.
Torres came to Gooley after finishing cardiac rehab from getting a pacemaker.
“He had never worked out or had an active lifestyle his whole life,” Gooley explains. “When we first met, he couldn’t walk on a treadmill for more than a minute and a half and couldn’t step on a 6-inch step without losing his balance or strength.”
Today, you can find Torres doing box jumps and burpees, walking on the treadmill at a 10 to 15 percent incline for 45 minutes, or on the stair climber four times a week, Gooley says proudly.
“He has impressed me because he knows the importance of strength training in relation to cardiovascular health and the importance of consistency,” she continues. “He’s told me that when he doesn’t keep up with the minimum amount of workouts per week that I’ve prescribed him, he feels the difference.”
Torres has even encouraged his girlfriend to work harder with her own personal trainer, because he knows that personal trainers have the knowledge not only to help improve someone’s health, but also to improve their way of thinking about health and fitness.
“A trainer can determine how much to push someone without over doing it, and can open the client’s mind and motivate them to push harder,” Gooley says. “Robert has told me numerous times that I know his body better than he does and have made him feel like he is stronger than he thinks.”