By: Chanel V Tillman
JACKSONVILLE, Fla – It’s a bird, it’s a plane. Wait, it’s the bat signal. No, it’s the green glow of the power ring. Each signal is a representation of the fight against crime. What kind of crime? Poor health and obesity. Who’s doing the fighting? The Justice League of Fitness.
It started when Terrance Hightower, Leroy Mosley, and Ahkem Jordan put their combined more than thirty years of fitness expertise together to answer a call of the community to promote health and wellness while making it fun yet affordable. Ahkem Jordan joined the cause and discussions for a work out class with no monthly commitment began.
“People want to work out but can’t afford it,” said Hightower. The goals and objectives of the “I Will Workout” program are to provide knowledge and education to those wanting and needing a healthier life, including those with existing health concerns.
The program provides one-on-one attention with trainers and gives individuals a chance to work out in a group setting. Hightower, Mosley and Jordan understood a healthy lifestyle can be expensive and not everyone can afford to pay for a gym membership so participation in the program is FREE of charge.
The program has assisted many participants in obtaining fitness goals since its inception in September 2013 and what was once a three man show is now a seven member team.
Leroy ‘Lee’ Mosley AKA “Green Lantern” is a Florida State University alumni and National Football League veteran. “I chose ‘Green Lantern’ because his power is based on human will,” said Mosley. “If you have the will to push forward you will survive.”
Terrance ‘T-Hi’ Hightower AKA “Batman” is a 20 year Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office veteran as of October 2015 and a fifth-degree black belt. “You can do anything you want to do,” said Hightower. “You just have to believe in yourself, be your own super hero.” Batman is the only super hero without a super power, he makes use of his genius intellect, detective and martial arts skills which are in line with Hightower’s everyday living. This made his choice of super hero easy — that and the fact that Batman has a cool car.
Ahkem ‘Kem’ Jordan AKA “Superman” is a third-degree black belt and Paramedic transitioning to the Florida Highway Patrol. “I chose Superman because to me super means going beyond the mediocre, whether it’s fitness or life,” said Jordan.
Chris Deneville AKA “The Hulk,” Chauvone ‘Mr. T’ Taylor AKA “Captain America,” Latoya Griffin AKA “Ladie Jaye,” and Coralis Santana AKA “Wonder Woman” complete the JLOF, each with their own unique story as to why they were chosen.
The team arrives early on Saturday mornings at the Emmett Reed Community Center to transform the empty space into an obstacle course of work out stations. Hightower gathers the 57 participants and briefs them on the importance of proper hydration, good nutrition and provided class expectations. “If you give us 110 percent”, said Hightower, “We will give you 120 percent in return. Don’t cheat yourself”.
Before and after the workout, participants complete warm-up and cool down exercises for about 5 to 10 minutes. Slowly stretching muscles reduces risk of injury before exercising and assists in lowering the heart rate gradually when done. Equally important is proper breathing — keep it slow and natural. Participants count aloud to assure no one is holding their breath.
JLOF trains the entire body with a variety of exercises including standard cardio, stretching, interval training, core work and resistance training. Every muscle is targeted before leaving the hour and a half class.
“I Will Workout” classes are held Thursday 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. All skill sets and fitness levels are welcome.