A local personal trainer focuses on individualized attention and reaching short-term goals for ultimate success.
For Jorge Burke, head personal trainer at The Parks Health & Fitness, it was personal progress that led him to a career in health and wellness. Burke grew up in New Orleans just a few steps from the Fairgrounds, and, as an adult, he worked for a naval architect company where he sat behind a desk for 8 hours per day. After a few years, he realized that he had gained 60 pounds. “I just couldn’t imagine another year not changing my unhealthy lifestyle,” he says. “I then decided to join a gym and make my health a priority.”
With hard work and dedication, Burke lost the extra weight and gained lean muscle in the process. He felt great, and he was pleased with what he was able to accomplish. “After my own transformation and the impact that it had on me, I was then motivated to become a personal trainer and help others — so I obtained my personal training certification in 2011,” Burke says.
In Jan. 2013, Burke started working for The Parks, a fitness facility that is operated by Riviera Fitness Inc. Offerings at The Parks include a variety of classes, with everything from spinning, kickboxing and mat Pilates to yoga, Zumba and TRX. For those who have little time to get their sweat on, The Parks also offers TURBO — a 30-minute intense, fast-paced workout. There are also small group training classes instructed by personal trainers, a full-screen cardio theater room, and a massage room and saunas for post-workout recovery.
“Being able to wake up every morning and having the opportunity to have an impact on someone’s life through fitness is rewarding to me,” Burke says. “It’s the kind of job that allows you to have a huge influence on someone’s entire life.”
On Staying Motivated
“I stay motivated through short-term goals and also by constantly changing up my workouts/routines week by week,” Burke says. “Another way I stay motivated is through mastering a skill or movement. For example, about year ago I wanted to be able to do 30 pull-ups without resting. So for a month I set weekly goals: The first week I did 15 pull-ups a day for a week, then the next week I moved it to 20 pull-ups a day for a week and so on. By the end of the month, I was able to do 30+ pull-ups without rest. Short-term goals like this keeps me excited and motivated; I feed off of the small achievements, knowing it will lead to something greater. I also like to set fun personal goals for myself. For example, I have recently begun trying to master handstand walks.”
“I don’t follow any certain type of diet,” Burke says. “When it comes to nutrition, I look for minimally processed foods. Normally that comes down to me making my meals from scratch at home. This way I know what I’m eating, and I know it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives. My best advice is to choose whole foods; when I say whole, I mean food that is close to its natural state — minimally processed. One of my favorite foods is sushi. Although I’m not a big sweets person, I have been known to indulge from time to time.”
“One particular client success story I am especially proud of is Sean McCarthy,” Burke says. “I asked Sean for his personal testimony, which is as follows: ‘A little over a year ago, I weighed 288 pounds (40 percent body fat); required medication to manage my blood pressure; and could only classify myself as a fitness train wreck. I joined a gym and convinced myself that a few days a week of cardio along with my basic knowledge of lifting weights would be the path to the newer and more fit me. I didn’t have much success on my own. The change I needed was not going to come without help, specifically the guidance I received from Jorge. In those first few months, Jorge encouraged me to focus on short-term goals like the success of each workout and envision what the success of each day would look like when compounded over three, six and 12 months. I have lost 60 pounds, now weighing 228 pounds, and, best of all, I am no longer required to take medication to control my blood pressure.’”
“Just do it,” Burke says. “You have to begin somewhere. Sitting around thinking about it isn’t doing anything to further your fitness goals. Although it may be hard in the beginning, you are only benefiting yourself by doing it. Also, find a fitness friend. Having someone to struggle with makes it fun and keeps you accountable. Set small goals for yourself, and keep them realistic. Once you begin to achieve these small goals, it will only feed your desire to keep going, and, before you know it, you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve!” 111 Robert E. Lee Blvd., (504) 288-7275, theparksfitness.com