Five months after getting furloughed from Gold’s Gym last year, Alexandria’s D’Lontae Sewell officially launched his own personal fitness business.
After a full year in business, the Alexandria native says things are booming at Tae’s Swole Academy, as clients who might be skittish about returning to a gym full of people have been reaching out for more of a personal touch.
“I have a waitlist of clients who want to work with me,” Sewell told ALXnow. “I’m pretty much at max capacity, and I’m always trying to look for different ways to be able to get more clients on my roster.”
Sewell was the fitness manager at an area Gold’s Gym for the two-and-a-half years, and spent the last nine years managing various gyms, including LA Fitness and XSport Fitness. At the end of March 2020, though, he and his coworkers were furloughed.
“I reached out to my clientele,” Sewell said. “I realized that I most likely wouldn’t be back into work for an extended period of time, so I decided to start my own business. I was lucky enough to be able to get some gym equipment and train people outside when it came to barbell work conditioning.”
Sewell travels within three miles of Alexandria to work with clients, and also offers virtual and group workouts. He also trains at DMV Iron Gym on Eisenhower Avenue.
Sewell, a 2010 graduate of T.C. Williams High School, is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at an early age, and although he went into remission in 2006, his medical history prevented him from joining the U.S. military to become a combat medic. Consequently, he focused on fitness, and went on to earn a degree in exercise science and therapeutic recreation from Old Dominion University and a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Norwich University.
“It’s about alleviating stress and building confidence,” he said. “It’s about having the ability to go into the store and try on clothes and feel comfortable, to go out to eat and feel comfortable with the food choices that you’re going to make for the day without feeling glum or ashamed. It’s about having the ability to play with your kids and not be out of breath.”
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