by Diane Pajaud
One of the first things you might notice when you walk into Turbo Fit studio is the diversity of clients. On this particular Tuesday there is an 86 year-old woman stepping onto then off an unstable surface that promotes balance. Across from her a young man with bulging muscles grunts softly as he heaves a heavily weighted barbell over his head. In another area an overweight couple learns beginning body weight exercises, while another person gingerly begins working her leg through a series of exercises. They are designed to help strengthen her recently injured knee. All of this activity is directed under the watchful eyes of a team of personal trainers with over 40 years combined experience in the industry.
“From eight year-olds to senior citizens. We have such a variety that there is no limits,” says Turbo Fit owner and operator, Lameka “TurboMeka” Butler. “There is no one we can’t help, and if we don’t know something we can find out.” This confidence comes from a lifetime of physical activity and coaching others. “I’ve been working out since I was eight,” she laughs. As a naturally active child growing up in a turbulent household, Meka says physical activity was a positive outlet. Childhood activities such as baton and hoola hoop graduated to high school track, cheerleading, cross country and volleyball. Eight years of service as a Marine Corp drill instructor helped her seamlessly combine her passion for helping others with her passion for exercise. “Even on the drill field I was teaching,” she adds. Meka continues that legacy as a volleyball coach at West Florida High School and coaches athletes from a variety of local high schools in strength and conditioning.
Meka says she has always naturally attracted people who were curious about exercise or wanted to get in shape. “No matter where I’ve been around the world there has always been someone I was training – on vacation, business trips… People seem to just expect it. It’s always been a part of me so it’s not a career. For me it’s a lifestyle.”
Her studio is staffed by trainers she has hired as well as independent trainers. However Meka says that she only works with trainers who have her same passion for helping others in a safe, client-centered environment. “It’s so easy to become a trainer, get certified and jump into a gym. Education is so neglected in this field, but it’s important – especially for injury prevention. I’ve rarely has someone get injured on my watch,” she says. “The trainers I work with are knowlegable and professional. They have a true love for fitness and want to help others be their best.”
Helping someone be their best is something that is different for each individual. Meka says that there are a lot of misconceptions about getting in shape. “A lot of times they want to look like someone else, or they don’t want to be over muscular so they don’t want to lift heavy weights. They think they can lose weight by not eating…Your workout and nutrition needs to be properly aligned with your own body type and style,” she continues.
Located at 301 W. Nine Mile Rd. Meka opened Turbo Fit in 2014. In that short time the business has thrived and Meka has continued set new challenges for herself. She is the author of “How to be a Strong Woman in the 21st Century” and is working on a second book. She also founded the Beastmode line of shirts, towels, and bottles. “I’m making a legacy for my daughter and son,” she says. In the future she plans to expand the studio into a community center complete with a full athletic side and gym, classes for seniors, day care and fitness for disabled children.
Turbo Fit studio offers classes including spin, P90X Live, Piyo Live, Dance Fitness and more. For class information or for personal training please go to www.TurboFitstudio.com.