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Jackie B.

Jackie BI am writing 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 three 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 workout.

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 overdo my workouts. 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 workouts with the machines, weights, the balls, mats, bands, chairs, and in the pool. He also monitored 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 money), 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 six 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” workouts. Andre helped me get over my feelings of inadequacy by treating my kindly, always encouraging me, praising  me when I did well, and keeping me working to gain a new level (however small). Without Andre, I’m not sure where I would be at this point. Because I am a Polio survivor, it will take me about four times longer than a 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. Sorry guys, my heart belongs to Andre!