SPRING HILL — Elena Greyson is a car accident victim suffering debilitating injuries that have redefined her life. But she isn’t prepared to play the victim. Instead, the 77-year-old Spring Hill resident is rebuilding her physical presence with each hour visit to The Fitness Trainer Studio.

“He’s amazing, he really is,” Gregson said of Jason McElroy who owns the studio. Gregson’s car plummeted into the back of another vehicle that had stopped dead on a Spring Hill road. She spent five days in the hospital. Then a fall from weakness to one of her injured knees sent her back for an additional five days. She had been in a cast and after rehabilitation, she regained her mobility. But there was significant pain. “I couldn’t walk more than a block without getting tired.”

Gregson still has stiffness and trouble with her knees, more than a year and a half after the accident. But she’s getting stronger since discovering The Fitness Trainer Studio only a month ago. “I can walk three or four blocks before there’s pain. Even today (after working out), I don’t have that pain.”

McElroy has his own stories of survival after falling victim to not one but two accidents at the mercy of a motor vehicle.

His message: Any obstacle can be overcome if the goal is wellness. “I am the strongest, fittest person you know,” said the award-winning power lifter.

He calls himself a functional trainer because his role in his client’s health plan is to help them regain function. His interest isn’t building power lifters but powerful, functional lives after injury, illness or simply to combat natural aging.

He has heard every excuse. “I’m too old, too injured, in too much pain to work out.” He doesn’t profess to have medical knowledge and encourages new clients to seek a doctor’s approval before starting any fitness or nutritional plan. But he is proof that functional training is beneficial to everyone.

“We live in a gravity planet,” he said. “Everything we do is weight-resistant training. It starts when you step out of bed onto the floor. Right then your thighs and stomach are contracted. It goes on to every movement of your body, mind to muscle control. Even when you’re sleeping, muscles are moving. You are either going to build up or tear down and be weaker.”

But McElroy guides focused workouts that isolate certain muscle groups, help build strength in areas that have weakened, and show dramatic improvements in everyday lifestyles.

Walter Knowles won’t consider leaving McElroy now that he has returned after a three-year hiatus. The two became close when Knowles needed to lose a dramatic amount of body fat. The salesman’s weight had skyrocket to 350 pounds. His body mass index, an oft-cited measure of obesity calculated from a person’s weight and height, was excessively high. After meeting McElroy, Walter dropped 200 pounds. The transformation was astonishing, both from a physical and mental aspect.

But personal struggles took his focus away from weekly sessions. And a severe car accident brought him back. Walter needed to recover from debilitating pain and injury. Upon returning, he immediately felt relief.

Although he had maintained the weight loss and a healthy BMI, Knowle’s physical strength was deteriorating. Sinking into a serious depression, he returned to Fitness Trainer Studio with a new motivation. And McElroy immediately jumped in to format a new plan.

He felt the decline, he said, and pledged he’d not quit again. Knowles suffers chronic pain from several injuries. “I swore to myself that I wouldn’t take all these pain pills. So, I’m doing strength training.”

Knowles’ accident derailed him from his journey. “I have driven over a million miles and had never even gotten a citation. I’ve seen some things. But this was in a blink of a second.”

McElroy learned much of his techniques from modern physical trainers when he was employed by major box gyms. But he recognized he could do more good for clients if he worked without major overhead. And in 2013 he opened his studio, at 8002 Spring Hill Drive, west of Deltona Boulevard.

His client list is small, encompassing those who are serious about improving their strength and functionality in everyday tasks. It isn’t about body building, he said. And often he is approached by skeptics who judge his training skill by the buff of his own impressive physique.

Yet he is quick to negate the naysayers. McElroy power lifts. But he isn’t promoting that lifestyle in his clients. And his list of successes ranges from recovery after an accident to fat reduction to reduced symptoms of chronic pain. He has helped clients in wheelchairs regain mobility and assisted a double hip replacement patient strengthen before surgery and recover after.

McElroy’s passion is what drives him forward when assisting clients with their goals. After overcoming two life-altering accidents, he is proof that the human body is resilient and can regain strength.

For more information about The Fitness Trainer Studio, contact Jason McElroy at 352-200-9139