I am writing this letter to you to COMMEND my trainer, Andre Luke (AKA – Killah) for his professionalism, enthusiasm, encouragement, empathy and his just plain good attitude. Andre makes working-out fun! Many times during a session, people have commented to us that we were having too much fun.
I came to 24 Hour Fitness shortly after a major back surgery, using a cane, unable to walk upright, and reeling
from the emergence of some post-polio difficulties that weren’t evident before. I had been in supervised Physical Therapy for 3 months and had gotten somewhat stronger but was still unable to walk upright. It was time for me to transition to a gym to continue with my own unsupervised work-out.
With my membership, I got six sessions with a personal trainer and I was assigned Andre (I scored!) From the beginning, he was understanding of my situation, interested in learning about my condition, including the polio, and careful not to let me overdue my work-outs. Under his direction, I was able to learn how to use most of the exercise machines in the gym, as well as which ones were the best for me to use, which ones were ok, and which ones were off limits. He instructed me in several different work-outs with the machines, weights, the balls, mats, bands, chairs, and in the pool. He also monitored and my nutritional intake, reinforcing what he had taught me initially.
After a couple of months, I told Andre about my plan to have a brace designed that would enable me to stand up straight and walk upright. He had lots of questions and some reservations
(it cost a lot of $$), but he understood my motivation after I told him that when someone
has polio, the muscles affected do not come back. What we must do is develop and use other muscles to do the same work. My weakness from polio (which I had at age 5) is in some,
but not all of my abs. After my back surgery, many other muscles were also atrophied, and some overused from walking bent-over for a year. Andre shared my excitement for this new brace and when I finally got it (some three months after ordering it) he also shared in my joy of finally having it, being able to walk upright on the treadmill, and he even shared his joy of being able to help me put it on!
After the first six sessions, I reenlisted with Andre two more times (for 6 sessions each). As a newly disabled person, at first I was very self-conscious about showing up at a gym where there were so many able bodied people doing “real” work-outs. Andre helped me get over my feelings of inadequacy by treating my kindly, always encouraging, praising when I did well, and keeping me working to gain a new level (however small). Although the 24 Hour Fitness computer programs don’t really have the categories that fit my particular situation to reflect good outcomes, without Andre, I’m not sure where I would be at this point, now 15 months post-op. Because I am a polio survivor, it will take me about 4 times longer than the normal person to get well. At this time, I am able to walk upright with my cane for a distance of about two blocks without wearing out.
Andre has made such a difference in my healing, both physical and emotional. I wish I could continue to work with him, but I am feeling a financial crunch, due to being on Long-term Disability, which doesn’t pay much. Because I am doing so well, I am planning to return to work soon and will hopefully be able to again afford the assistance of a personal trainer. Sorry guys, my heart belongs to Andre!