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Metro Parks Tacoma personal trainer aims to make a difference

November 6, 2018

Andre Anthony tailors workouts to individual needs

Don’t be surprised if you see a guy in a backward baseball cap and gym shorts taking a young woman’s measurements at Metro Parks Tacoma’s STAR Center.

And it’s not just bust, waist and hips. When Andre Anthony pulls out his tape measure, he wraps the tape around the neck, upper thigh, shoulders and back, and charts each result.

Tracking changes in those numbers is all part of the job for the nationally certified personal trainer, who’s been coaching athletes and individuals in physical fitness for about 30 years. He’s among the experts Metro Parks Tacoma employs to promote wellness and healthy activity.

“My ultimate goal is to give people enough knowledge that at some point they won’t need my help anymore,” he said.

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He begins with a personal training evaluation, which usually takes about a half hour. “I get most of my information by listening,” Andre said. “The first question I always ask is: Are you hurt? Do you have any injuries?” The answer may prompt a change in Andre’s initial physical assessment, which generally involves step-ups, push-ups and crunches or sit-ups.

He also keeps an eye on posture. While chatting, he watches how people hold their heads. He checks out how they walk. He may take a peek at the wear pattern on the soles of peoples’ shoes.

Andre said people typically seek help from personal trainers for one of three reasons. Ninety percent want to lose weight. Others are trying to recover from an injury. Of those, many have back issues. The rest typically want a trainer to hold them accountable for pursuit of fitness goals.

Andre tailors individual fitness routines to the amount of time clients are willing to commit. “My philosophy is something is better than nothing,” he said. “I’m also honest with people. I tell them, if they don’t do certain things, they’re not going to lose weight.”

Mary Parmer, who works as a custodian at STAR Center, has been working out with Andre a couple of times a week for several years. “I use my workouts like physical therapy,” she said. “I can tell if I don’t go for a week. It just keeps me limber. I also have a tendency to overdo it. With his guidance, I am not allowed.” Andre keeps her on track, she said. She can’t miss workouts “because he’s waiting for me.”

Andre, 50, was born in Korea and raised in Tacoma. He graduated from Mount Tahoma High School and briefly played professional football in Canada. One of his claims to fame is that he coached former Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who now plays for the New York Jets. Kearse was a grade schooler at the time and played for a club team called the Lakewood Lumberjacks. Anthony shared coaching responsibilities with Kearse’s dad.

Throughout his life, Andre has been a competitor. After giving up football, he took up darts. He’s twice won world championships in the game, as well as several national and state titles. He’s also in the darts business, with six boards in taverns around Tacoma.

Lee Peppard, president of Network Sports, a dart board manufacturer and organizer of Medalist league competitions, has known Andre for about 20 years.  “I’m fortunate that I met Andre,” he said. “In anything he does he attacks with passion. He has the energy of a 30-year-old. He’s a special man.”

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Andre’s interest in fitness grew out of involvement in martial arts. He holds black belts in both tae kwon do and karate. “I knew how to train myself. I got into personal training to help other people,” he said. His goal was to help young people in particular. He’ll get to do exactly that this fall at People’s Community Center where he’ll teach mixed martial arts to groups of Jason Lee Middle School sixth graders enrolled in the school’s Thrive program.

To get in the door as a Metro Parks employee, Andre initially worked as a custodian, and kept STAR Center’s Treetops playgrounds safe and clean for kids. Andrew Youngchild, lead building maintenance technician, was his supervisor. “Andre shares his knowledge and passion for personal well-being with others and holds high standards for himself and those around him,” Youngchild said.

University Place resident Ana Smith, 32, recently hired Andre as her personal trainer because she wanted to lose the “baby fat” she’d been unable to shed since giving birth several years ago. Participation in classes such as Zumba and yoga hadn’t really changed her physique. With Andre’s guidance, she’s stepped up her routine with more intensive muscle-building and cardio-vascular exercise. And during her weekly, one-on-one workouts with Andre, the challenges vary. “Every session has been really awesome,” she said.

For more information about STAR Center's personal trainers go to metroparkstacoma.org or call (253) 404-3943.