New Zealand Hockey champion, Brooke Neal knows all about the importance of fitness and quality of life after being forced to battle a chronic knee injury throughout the last few years of her distinguished career.
“Since 2014, I have suffered from chronic patella tendinopathy (jumper’s knee), which led me to spend a lot of extra time on my rehabilitation,” she explains.
York equipment has become a key part of her fitness and rehabilitation regime at home where she supplements the commercial equipment she uses at Millennium Institute in Auckland, where she trains.
Brooke has had the honour of wearing the black singlet for New Zealand since 2013, and playing 130 games for her country.
Since making it into the national team, Brooke has been required to do strength and conditioning sessions three times a week.
“I began to enjoy seeing my body get stronger. There’s something really satisfying about being able to lift heavier each week and seeing the measured improvements quite clearly.”
Brooke admits her fitness journey has been a long one. She describes herself as having never been a naturally fit or talented athlete, and throughout her high school years, not having the most athletic build.
“My nickname was baby giraffe because I had a massive growth spurt, but no co-ordination or muscle. I was a 6 feet tall stick insect,” she said.
“I battled my way into teams, starting on the bench and getting pushed off the ball. It wasn’t until university that I stepped into a gym for the first time and learned the basic principles of movement.”
Brooke would often finish her gym session an hour after the bulk of the team had finished. In the beginning, her injury consumed her and she has openly talked about the demons she faced during that time in blogs.
“The more I began to accept that this is a long-term management injury, the easier it was for me to see the positives. It made me so disciplined in the gym and I trained my mind and body to do every set and rep with control and purpose, rather than going through the motions.”
“Thanks to Achieve Fitness, I’m lucky enough to have a York Power Rack with hook plates , a York flat to incline bench, dumbbells and much more. It’s a complete set up which allows me to do the same weights and exercises at home.”
This has been such a relief for Brooke allowing her to add in an extra strength session for her rehab from her own home rather than fighting the traffic to go into the Millennium Institute.