Once Clemence Ahiable, 31, realized that personal training was his passion, he left his career in construction.
“Training was one of my hidden talents that I took advantage of,” Ahiable said.
He received a personal training certification from Lincoln Land Community College.
Shortly after, Ahiable became a personal trainer at LA Fitness (now Esporta Fitness) for a year in 2015.
Now, Ahiable runs his own gym, Creme De La Clem Fitness on Springfield’s far northeast side, with four sold-out daily fitness classes and personal training sessions.
Many gyms that shut down or curtailed activities because of COVID-19 have reopened and the demand for personal trainers has increased.
After spending much of the pandemic in lockdown along with social distancing and isolation, “People are more aware and conscious of being in shape and fit,” said Chris Kolb, general manager at Esporta Fitness in Springfield.
According to the National Institute of Health’s “COVID-19 pandemic and weight gain in American adults: A nationwide population-based study, weekly physical activity was reduced among previously active American adults by 32.3 percent.
Because of the pandemic, Kolb said a lot of people have become more aware of maintaining a strong immune system.
At Creme De La Clem Fitness, Ahiable said one of his goals is “to empower the community through health and fitness. Learning to love yourself again and meeting those (fitness) goals has a positive impact on people.”
Wendy Washington of Springfield said she has been working with Ahiable for five years and appreciates his efforts.
“He’s a good guy. He cares about your success. If you miss a class, he’ll call. If you’re looking to achieve a health or fitness goal, they will get you there as long as you stay consistent.”
Starting a fitness journey can be daunting. However, Ahiable said he wants people to come as they are.
“I want the community to know this isn’t the average gym,” Ahiable said. “We like for the beginners to jump in with the experts. The experts also started off as beginners.”
Ahiable along with his head trainer, James Bradshaw, started offering fitness classes amid the pandemic in November 2020. They originally offered three adult classes and one for children with six to eight spots available. As of April, the fitness classes offer 15-20 spots. Spots fill up quickly and classes are often sold out.
“We work with elderly people, pregnant people, people in recovery, we assist with nutrition and health and wellness, Ahiable said.
As head trainer, Bradshaw has been a big help during this transition, Ahiable said. The two met 10 years ago in a construction class at Lincoln Land Community College. Bradshaw also made a switch and earned a personal training certification.
“Clemence is a great, phenomenal person,” Bradshaw said. “I feel more happy and encouraged. Clemence has changed my life with this gym. He should get more credit. I look at him as my brother.”
Bradshaw said Ahiable moved to Springfield from Ghana in 1999.
“He moved with hope of the American Dream and he has achieved that.”
Washington said training now is like being with family.
“We are a fitness family with Clemence and James as our leaders.”
Contact Royale Bonds: [email protected], twitter.com/@Royale59699722.
This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Local trainer opens his own Springfield IL gym, sells out classes