There’s a new gym in town. Yes, another one. But this one feels different. And that’s precisely their intention.
Unlike many gyms, where you walk in and see row upon row of cardio equipment, oversized TVs hanging from the ceilings and exercisers plugged into their own earbuds while pedaling or pushing their way through a workout, the first thing you notice when you enter Training House are a couple of big white boards filled with hand-written instructions, the kind a coach uses to explain that day’s workout. (That’s exactly what they are.) You won’t find any TVs or outlets for earplugs. Even the purpose for belonging to Training House is unique among gym-goers.
The goal: to get stronger
“People don’t come here to get smaller. They come here to get stronger,” says owner Amy John who, along with her husband Andy, a Denison University lacrosse player, and her son Michael, who played Division l lacrosse at Bucknell, opened Training House this past July after a complete renovation of the space at 1500 Serpentine Road, off Falls Road just north of Bare Hills Corporate Center. They enlisted the expertise of area fitness consultant Chris Welsh, who has worked on conceptualizing Under Armour gyms, to design Training House’s spare but highly effective, functional multi-use space, which includes indoor and outdoor workout areas.
John likes to describe Training House as gritty. And while it may be devoid of fancy machines and electronic distractions, members learn that they, themselves, possess the most important equipment to meet their personal fitness goals. “We really push the idea that our bodies are the machines,” John says.
A supportive culture
Members receive plenty of support in their quest to find and push their “inner athlete.” That support comes in the form of qualified, dedicated trainers whom Training House refers to as coaches because, as Natalie Elardo, the gym’s director of operations, notes: “When you think of your favorite coach, that’s what we want people to think of when referring to our training team.”
The coaching staff guides members as they learn how best to use their bodies to achieve greater strength and fitness—whether it’s a high school lacrosse player working on taking her game to the next level or a grandfather who wants to be nimble enough to play on the floor with his grandkids.
Training House is designated as the official strength & conditioning coaches/facility for Loyola University Maryland’s Men’s Lacrosse team, consistently one of the top programs in the country. Their handful of coaches includes Al Balducci, strength and conditioning coach to several successful lacrosse teams and a member of the strength and conditioning staff for Loyola University Maryland’s Men’s Lacrosse team when they won the NCAA Division 1 Championship in 2012. Coach Brandon Huggins is also part of the strength and conditioning staff that helped Loyola to another NCAA Lacrosse Final Four, and he has worked closely with a number of other highly successful area lacrosse teams.
Along with its motivating coaches, Training House has a group of brand ambassadors to inspire members. Decorated athletes who support its goals, they serve as quintessential role models for members, explains John. They include Darius Jennings, a Gilman alum and wide receiver and return specialist for the Tennessee Titans; Joe Fletcher, a highly accomplished Loyola University of Maryland lacrosse player and member of the 2018 U.S. Men’s Lacrosse Team; and swimmer Jessica Long, the second-most decorated Paralympian in U.S. history who regularly works out at Training House.
A personalized approach
Training House members need not be elite athletes, but they can achieve similarly amazing results toward their individualized goals in the supportive environment at Training House, which offers a three-tier membership structure.
Tier 1 provides open access to prescribed workouts on the gym’s whiteboards. Four in all, the whiteboards offer distinct workout regimens that change three times a week, for a maximum of 12 weekly workouts—promising variety and preventing burnout and boredom. Tier 2 membership gives members a customized program to follow, based on a thorough physical assessment with one of the gym’s coaches. Tier 3 membership involves an individual physical assessment and subsequent one-on-one personal coaching. Regardless of which tier a member chooses, one to two floor trainers are present at all times to assist with workouts. “We build a road map for you,” John says.
A physical therapy group, headed by Dave Bender, is also part of Training House. The performance physical therapists specialize in injury recovery, movement optimization, and maximizing performance. PT also performs full biomechanical evaluations to determine specific movement patterns and muscle imbalances and then develop individualized rehab plans designed to maximize function.
Training House also helps build road maps for those beyond its gym members. Recently, it teamed up with Next One Up, a local nonprofit that supports high-risk male adolescent students throughout Baltimore City to advance their academic, athletic and social development. On Sundays, the nonprofit’s recipients work out, free of charge, with Training House’s coaching staff in addition to time at Gilman School working on academic support and college prep. “I believe that everyone has a role in elevating our city and the children in it,” John says, “and we’re trying to do our part.”
This partnership illustrates Training House’s inclusive, supportive environment. “Our culture is our distinguishing feature,” John says.
To learn more about Training House, call 443-991-5971 or visit the website at traininghousegym.com.
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