Janelle (Champaign, IL)

I highly recommend Jake Dermer.

When I began my journey at the University of Illinois, personal fitness and learning how to take better care of myself were high on my goals list. Because of the time I spent learning from Jake, personal fitness is still a high priority on my list every day.

I wanted to strengthen my entire body and more importantly the parts damaged in a car accident years earlier. I also wanted to learn what a good balance between cardiovascular workouts and strength training looks like. I also wanted to lose weight and fit in my clothes better. Jake helped me learn exercises (many that I still do to this day) that help strengthen my injured hip and back. He also taught me the importance of a strong core in relation to every other muscle group, and helped me figure out a workout routine that worked with my schedule and lifestyle.

By the end of the time Jake spent as my personal trainer, I’d lost 20 pounds and learned one of the most important lessons of my life: you are what you eat, and food not only matters in terms of how it fuels our bodies but it matters more than anything else with weight loss, too.

One quote from Jake still rings in my brain every time I want to reach for a brownie or that last beer — “Weight loss is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise.” And one of the best parts about Jake is his sense of humor and ability to make even grueling workouts fun.

Working with him also helped me realize fitness isn’t a goal; it’s a lifestyle. To feel good and wake up feeling like I want to feel, I have to do something physical every day. Lately I’ve gotten into yoga and Jake helped me realize I don’t hate running; I actually kind of like it. Reconnecting with my body has helped me feel better and in turn has improved all other aspects of my life.

I hope you use Jake for your program because he should have avenues that allow him to give this gift of physical self-realization to other people, too. I’m sure if you give him the chance, you will be just as grateful as I still am. 


Mary (Chicago, IL)

Mary (Chicago, IL)

Mike (Evanston, IL)