An Amazing Story at West Work Out

Couch rings a Bell:

By Hanle Barnard
When you meet Siean Bell – you quickly learn not to judge a book by its cover. He has magnetic eyes that hold an inner smile and lights up a room. Don’t expect to meet a conventional man with an ordinary story - it is an unusual tale that needs to be told - about hope and faith – perseverance and strength.
The challenges Siean faces daily may be foreign to us – but he is a fighter and always up for a task.  His flashing blue eyes will get you smiling in no time and soon you will learn a thing or two from this charismatic individual.
It is no coincidence that Seain shares his surname with a musical instrument – music is one of his passions – that and cars. He is convinced that a vehicle is going to be designed especially for him – but in the meantime he is looking for a tricycle to build his strength. As we sit at Fred & Max in Somerset West, we talk about Seain’s vision and philosophy of life. An avid believer in God and his mysterious ways, Seain knows that nothing happens without a reason, and where people fail - God won’t. There is not an ounce of bitterness in his voice – though perhaps a touch of sadness.
Being judged is not a foreign concept to this man who caught Meningitis at four months. It affected the left side of his brain – and the right side of his body, “as you can clearly see.” He believes that people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. That good old cliché does ring a bell as I notice a couple staring him. Seain explains that he often hears people talk about him in whispers but that does not get him down. “If they have questions they can ask me.” His gentle nature keeps you captivated and as he offers to pay for my cappuccino I think to myself in Hamlet’s words:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
- Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
 Seain tells me how he was looking at becoming fit and strengthening his body. He searched the Helderberg and joined an upmarket gym that cost him R250 per hour for  private session. The personal trainers didn’t give him much attention and they often sat sipping coffee while he would struggle along.  Seain’s teacher suggested a man that owned a gym that was not the fanciest, but where committed trainers met and received personal attention. So it was that two heroes met – perhaps quite opposite physically – Couch Howard was 2012 Mr. Natural Universe who competes in local and international power lifting and bodybuilding circuits.  When I met Couch Howard at West Workout discussing Siean’s goals I noticed they share the same flashing blue eyes. Couch Howard was previously the president of power lifting Western Cape association and a no- nonsense- guy. He calls his West Workout members ‘Wolves’ who like any family opened their hearts to Siean. (I can’t help but think that this lone wolf  - as Seain put it - found his pack.)

 Even in a short amount of time Siean has improved. His hand is slowly starting work better and his walk is improving. Couch Howard is passionate about fitness and health and noticed that Seain is an inspiration to the pack – Howard believes in goal cards and discusses every member’s training with them personally. Seain sees him as a mentor – as many do. It is uplifting and a relief to know that Howard’s professional attitude and compassion allows Seian to strengthen from day to day and a message to us all – life is precious – and with hard work - miracles happen. Seian says that joining West Workout is one of the best decisions of his life and as we walk out – Howard reminds him about his upgrade later that afternoon. Here is a man with integrity – physically Seain and Howard may be opposite – but they share a similar vision and they believe in the same cleché – don’t judge a book by its cover  - especially a good book in their case. 

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