Toledo man nearly died in car crash, now helping others get in shape
TOLEDO - A Toledo man has an incredible story of survival he is now sharing.
34-year-old Andre Gaston is a trainer at Extreme Results. It's a place with tough workout classes taught to loud music, and a no excuses allowed mentality.
Seeing Andre now you wouldn't know that four years ago he was nearly killed while a passenger in a car crash.
"The only thing I remember is waking up in the hospital. I don't remember seeing it happen because a lot of that is just blocked out but I remember waking up and just laying there, wanting to get up out of the bed but couldn't move. My mind was telling me that I could get up but my body was like a vegetable," Gaston said.
He spent seven months in the hospital. He had a hip replacement, his femur popped out, he shattered his arm and his knee had to be reconstructed, among other surgeries. At one point doctors told him he could be sent to a nursing home.
"It put me in a real depression place. Just from me being in the hospital I got addicted to pain meds, it was hard for them to try to wean me off because I had so much pain, so that was a task itself because I didn't want to be addicted to drugs or have to go to therapy for none of that."
After months of therapy he was eventually able to come home, but the struggle continued.
"When I left Flower I came home with a wheel chair, a shower chair, a walker and TARTA transportation so I thought I was just about to be like handicapped for the rest of my life. I didn't know what to do. I lost people because it just made me angry and I didn't want anyone around me," Gaston said.
Eventually he made up his mind to get better. Little by little he started getting back into working out. He's dropped about 50 pounds since getting out of the hospital, and now works out nearly every day.
"I just can't stop. I can't turn it off. I'm afraid to see what happens if I just stopped working out like this. Would I go back into a wheelchair, or would I start having problems with injuries, so I just push myself every day," Gaston said.
His goal now is to motivate those around him.
"Going from basically being dead to where you're at now that's motivation," said Vincent Ceniceros, owner of Extreme Results.
Vincent has watched Andre's body and mind transform over the last few years.
"I remember seeing him back after his accident, he could barely do anything. I don't even think he could do a sugar cookie at that point," Ceniceros said. "He just wanted it. He was going and going and I slowly watched his body change and that's what it takes to be a trainer."
Andre tells his clients to never doubt what they are capable of doing.
"There are no excuses. Let's all get healthy. Let's eat right, let's work out right, just live a good life."
Andre teaches the 5 a.m. class at Extreme Results, as well as various other times throughout the week.