Being a formidable force on the floor for her job is not the only way Yolanda “Lonnie” Commack, a Transit Torque Inspector at Kansas City Assembly Plant stays active. Outside of the plant, Commack owns and operates her own personal training and fitness studio in Raytown, MO. just outside of Kansas City called “Lonnie Bush Fitness”. There, she teaches total-body fitness and intensity strength training set to high-energy music.
Having been an employee at KCAP for 30 years, Commack would often visit the on-site plant fitness center. “Many times I would have people ask me how I got my arms so toned, so I began training and giving advice to people at the fitness center which led to me starting to train people at my home in my basement gym,” she said. “After a while, I gained so many clients that I needed a bigger space.”
Gaining more space is exactly what happened as she opened her first fitness studio in 2014. Five years later, she discovered she needed a larger facility, choosing to close the smaller location and open a larger one in 2019. The workouts are high-intensity, boot-camp style training. During the pandemic last year, it took a toll on in-person business, but Commack explained that is when she knew she had to be resourceful.
“That’s when I went virtual,” she said. “I didn’t want my people just sitting around doing nothing. So lately, depending on the weather, we meet outside, training at public parks or high school properties, basically any place we can move around.”
After beating breast cancer in 2009, Commack feels that recognizing the value in each day and serving others is her ultimate calling. She offers men, women and children battling cancer the opportunity to exercise at her facility for free. She also volunteers her time to cancer patients in hospitals or treatment facilities bringing them gifts and treats to lift their spirits. She dedicates her energy toward supporting a non-profit program she started called, ‘Celebration of Life’ which is a resource for cancer-patients that assists in buying wigs, medical equipment, even assisting with funeral arrangements when necessary. “I lend a hand with anything they need, whatever the case may be,” she said. “I look at life so differently now. Tomorrow is not promised to us, so it’s best to live every single day to the fullest.”
Going through one year of fighting the disease with two different rounds of chemotherapy and having radiation treatments every day for eight weeks Commack says, “Even then, I still went to the gym and trained – never canceling on my clients. The way I saw it, I wanted to lead by example and show my people that if I could take care of my body despite what I was going through then no one else had any excuse.”
Commack feels that fitness is a positive outlet and that it is important to claim one hour of the day which is dedicated only to one’s self. “Too often women are busy nurturing everyone else that they tend to neglect themselves,” she said. “But Cancer really taught me that life is not a guarantee, so it is vital to be selfish with your self-care.”
Among her advocacy adventures, Commack has also authored a book entitled, “Cancer Was My Blessing”. In it, she explains her perspective on how coming out on the other side of cancer changed her life for the better. “I got a second chance at life,” she said. “Therefore, I am committed to making the most of it.”