Testimonials



STRONG HANDS GYM

Chicago’s First LGBTQ Friendly Training Facility

24 Hour Gym

Weight Room · Boxing · Kickboxing · MMA ·
Functional Training · Personal Training


Two years ago, due to my perennially messed up knees (arthritis and loss of cartilage), I stopped playing basketball and running, and on a steady diet of steak, crepes and coconut ice-cream, I hit 260lbs at 6 foot 4. Soon, I found myself not being able to run even 100 yards, my cholesterol and triglycerides were high, my heart rate 75 bpm, and at 44, at the time, things all of sudden did not look good. My brief visit to the orthopedic surgeon finished with him saying: “You are getting old, your body is sending you signals, you must lose weight and pursue only mild physical activity, or things will get much, much worse.”

Joe, my friend who was exercising with Richard and was raving about him, made the introduction. Intimidated at first, I mean the guy lifts like 2000lbs on a combined squat + deadlift + bench press, soon I realized Richard is the nicest person ever. And I mean ever.

The rest is the stuff of legends. With persistent 1-hour/day exercise and Richard’s continuum of never-ending mix of basic exercises combined with always new whole-body workouts, over the past year and a half, he has gotten me in better shape than ever. Even when I was 22. The thing with Richard is that at no point he pushes the short-term maximum out of you, but focuses on high-repetition, medium-weight workouts that at the end of an hour long session get you exhausted and close to physical failure, yet really far from injury. Then, tomorrow, again, just another group of muscles. I do not tend to understand much his objectives but I do stick to his command as if it were religion.

Let me see, at 46 and 220lbs (lost 40), I returned back to running, did over 30 half marathons last year and a half with a personal best of 1:50:00, two days ago ran 3 miles at 22:00 sharp, and started playing basketball again. My resting heart rate is 55 and all blood tests are coming back normal. In short, if it weren’t for my messed up knees, I’d say I would feel closer to 22 more than when I actually was 22. My posture is finally straightened after years of never using my back muscles. When we started doing deadlifts, pulling 135lbs once would make my back sore for a month – just this week, I finished an hour-long workout focused on my back muscles deadlifting 10reps 255lbs.

Needless to say, this is a heartfelt recommendation. Almost regardless what your objective in physical fitness is, you kinda need only two things, one: sign up with Richard, and two: the will power to show up in the gym tomorrow again.

Healthy regards,
Richard O• Aluko

Training can be really hard when you're self conscious about where you are in your fitness journey, but Diego really knows how to make you feel super comfortable. He's super knowledgeable, and great at motivating and directing. I'm impressed with our work thus far, and highly recommend him for any/all of your fitness needs.

- Anthony V.

I was so hesitant about training or meeting with a coach for help. Diego was referred to me by a friend, and honestly, training with him was the best decision I could've made. I hate him at times, but he only wants the best for me! We developed a great friendship, and I am down about 2 pant sizes. It has been almost 7 months since we started, I'm looking forward to many more.

- Bryson H.

I always wanted to lose weight. I met Diego at UFC Gym, and we just clicked. Once he started his own business, I jumped on board and now he trains me, my wife and her sister! He has provided some pretty great results for us all.

- J. Green

I had my son start training with Diego about a year ago. My son was bullied at school and didn't have much confidence. Diego really helped him believe in himself, and he also lost about 13 lbs in the first month! I highly recommend Diego.

- Anna S.

Great energy, very patient and extremely kind. Training isn't just training when it's with Strong Hands Gym - it is therapeutic and fun.

- Justin H.

Just a overall good guy and passionate for what he does. Was my boxing coach for a few months and I loved it! You want your butt kicked? Take his class!

- Janet W.