By Richard L. Williams
About 15 years ago, Louis B. Fleurizard was at a crossroads. He had barely survived a horrific motorcycle accident on Highway 311 on the outskirts of Winston-Salem in which he says he was traveling in excess of 160 miles per hour.
During several months of intense rehabilitation to his upper body, including a mangled and twisted right arm, he was placed on medical leave at the local mortgage company where he was a high-sales performer. He also was forced to upkeep several of his rental properties by working with his one good arm.
He says that when his first temporary disability check arrived and it was about one-third his normal salary, he lobbied to return to work but was refused. By then, he admits, several of his colleagues were in the process of profiting tens of thousands of dollars on commissions for mortgage sales that he had initiated prior to his near-fatal accident.
“That was eye-opening for me,” Fleurizard says. “It showed me how unscrupulous and conniving and back-stabbing that the people I worked with were.”
Fleurizard ended up separating from the mortgage company and forfeiting several rental properties he owned in the eastern and southern parts of Winston-Salem. He ultimately filed bankruptcy.
“I basically lost everything,” he says. “I had one arm and had to start my life all over financially from scratch.”
ARM ‘LIKE A DISH RAG’
For about six months, Fleurizard intently worked at rehabbing his arm, which he says was “twisted like a dish rag” as he lay in the middle of the busy highway. He did not realize it at the time, but the relentless with which he pursued rehabilitation led to a second lease of life.
“The motorcycle accident changed my life,” the 53-year-old East Orange, N.J., native says. “I used to think that my life was cursed because I have diabetes. The accident woke me up because I was close to death.
“I never was big on exercising before that, but I got involved during rehab of my arm,” Fleurizard says.
A few months after the accident and with his health greatly improved, Fleurizard moved to Raleigh and became a personal trainer at a popular health club. Since then, he has become a fitness fanatic who has dedicated his life to transforming the life of others through fitness, nutrition and wholesome living.
In 2008, he returned to Winston-Salem and the following year founded Get-Fit Personal Training. As the personal-training business grew, he and his team of personal trainers were contracted to work with all personal-training clients at KRAZE Fitness and Martial Arts on Healy Drive in Winston-Salem.
‘transformed my body’
One person who has benefitted from Fleurizard’s training techniques is the Rev. Sir Walter L. Mack Jr. Two years ago, Mack was looking to shed a few pounds and someone recommended Fleurizard.
“Louis transformed my body,” says Mack, the senior pastor of Union Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. “The great thing about working with him is he does not have a cookie-cutter program but he tailors his training program to the individual. I lost 70 pounds working with him.”
Fleurizard says it was a delight watching Mack’s mental and physical transformation during their year-long training program.
“I get joy from watching people doing something that they thought they could not do,” Fleurizard says.
Last year, Fleurizard expanded his personal training business by purchasing KRAZE Fitness and Martial Arts. Now in addition to his working with personal training clients, he operates a fully functional gym and health and wellness facility that offers classes in martial arts, aerobics, kickboxing and Zumba. KRAZE Fitness and Martial Arts is open 24 hours. Get-Fit personal training is available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Although his workload has increased and responsibilities increased, Fleurizard says he embraces the challenge of growing his business. He says he wants to set his facility apart from the abundance of national fitness chains around the Triad.
“Even if you’re having a bad day you can come to our gym and have a good end to the day – or start of the day,” he says. “My goal is to make fitness appealing.”
a healthy lifestyle
Fleurizard says he’s on a mission to educate the public, particularly African Americans, about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.
“My personal experience with diabetes for almost 40 years has taught me a great deal about the importance of exercise and nutrition when dealing with a variety of disease states,” he says. “With 15 years professional personal training experience, I have focused my attention – although not exclusively – on individuals who suffer from high-blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
“If you have a family history of these conditions, it is best to be proactive rather than reactive and exercising is being proactive,” he adds. “I have trained one person and changed a family. Once I train one person of the family, they take what I teach them back to their families. It could be from a conversation with the client on the importance of nutrition, proper sleep, or any number of things.”
Fleurizard says he also understands the hesitance of some people preferring to exercise at home using apps or cardio equipment they may have. Some people, he says, has an aversion to joining a gym because they may lack confidence or feel ashamed of their body.
Fleurizard says personal training or some level of fitness activity is important for not only for physical well-being but mental acuity as well.
“We have to stress the body to change the body,” he says. “Everyone needs to stress the body because when you do that you relieve the body of mental stress.
“Anywhere you’re exercising may be good, including in your home,” he says. “However gyms and health clubs are absent the distractions that you have at home. You also gain inspiration from others working out hard around you.”
Fleurizard is married to Kara Fleurizard, who is a nurse Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and an ordained minister at Middle Fork Christian Church. Together they have two grown children: Yolande who lives in Raleigh, Christopher who lives in Statesville, and 17-year-old Amir, a senior at Atkins High School.
Fleurizard says he still has a love of motorcycles but no longer is tempted to replicate his actions of 16 years ago when he revved his 1999 Suzuki 750 to about 170 mph.
KRAZE Fitness and Martial Arts
1850 Healy Drive
Hours: 24 hours
GET FIT Personal Training
1850 Healy Drive
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.