By Jeff Louderback
At first glance, it might seem like a 14-year-old midfielder preparing for the leap to high school soccer, a 17-year-old lineman striving to earn a college football scholarship, a teenager recovering from knee surgery determined to return to the basketball court, and a fortysomething parent looking to shed weight and improve overall wellness have little in common.
Each person is at a different life stage with varying goals. To reach their respective objectives; however, they must showcase motivation, drive and discipline accompanied by a training regimen that allows them to achieve their aspirations in a way that minimizes the risk of injury.
Paul and Milissa Manfre understand the challenge first-hand. As former competitive athletes with degrees and certifications in sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and exercise physiology, they founded PowerAthlete in 1997. The sports performance facility provides customized training for youth and college athletes, and adults, centered around programs that reduce the chance of injuries.
“If you can’t move, you can’t improve and keep moving forward to reaching existing goals and setting new objectives,” Paul said. “Whether you are a Division I bound football player, a high school softball player, an adult getting back into shape to once again play tennis or someone recovering from an ACL tear in post physical therapy, our programs are created and guided by trainers, and include exercises and movements that safeguard shoulders, backs, knees, hips and ankles.” No cookie cutter approach here!
Based in Centerville, PowerAthlete is not an open gym. Programs at the youth, high school, college and adult levels are designed for the person’s specific needs. The group athlete training sessions feature small sizes, allowing the trainers to work closely with the athletes to ensure they are executing the movements with proper form and technique.
“No matter your age, your sport or your overall goals, you are different than anyone else, which is why it is important to have a customized training program that fits your fitness objectives and accounts for your body’s strengths and weaknesses,” Paul explained. “A cookie cutter approach can lead to injuries and derail your goals.”
A 1991 Centerville High School graduate, Paul competed in track and field at the University of Arizona. After his college athletic career abruptly ended following a motorcycle accident, he embarked on a road to recovery through physical therapy, which reinforced his interest in sports performance training. Paul earned a degree in exercise physiology from the University of Dayton, where he met Milissa, who underwent three ACL surgeries from playing volleyball, basketball and softball. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton in Athletic Training and is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. Their personal experiences inspired the business model for Power Athlete, which they started in their home before refurbishing a spacious warehouse at 144 Westpark Rd. in Centerville in 2003.
Their training includes certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine, National Athletic Trainer Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, National Academy of Sports Medicine, International Youth Fitness Association and Athletes Acceleration Inc. Among their disciplines are strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition, athletic training, and speed and agility. Power Athlete designs strength and conditioning programs, and provides trainers, for high school athletic departments across southwest Ohio for Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.
“We created PowerAthlete with the mission to combine innovative training with personal experience to help youth and adult athletes alike to improve their strength, endurance, speed, flexibility, and core strength with custom-tailored programs,” Paul said. “What we do is provide a roadmap to optimal health with the mind and body through coaching, education and accountability.”
PowerAthlete’s walls and ceiling are adorned with flags of colleges and universities that the facility’s athletes represent. “We have sent more than 130 athletes to D-1 college programs for a variety of sports, and continue to work with them, along with our local clients, over holidays and off-seasons as well as online training programs.”
Next Gen Program
Next Gen training is designed for athletes preparing to enter high school. Participants learn the necessary skills needed to safely function with high school sports weight training and conditioning.
“These sessions include fundamental movements along with proper lifting technique, speed and jump training, injury prevention, and acceleration and deceleration abilities,” Paul said.
“Our commitment to each person is to build an athletic foundation from the ground up so we can focus your training towards any sport, any field, and any goal,” Paul said. Medical Bridge Program returns athletes to their sports
Incorporating their partnership with Beacon Orthopaedics, PowerAthlete offers Medical Bridge Program for athletes in post physical therapy striving to continue their rehab and return to their sport.
One parent wrote how her daughter, who is a high school soccer player, transitioned from Beacon Orthopedics to PowerAthlete after being diagnosed with patellofemoral syndrome and a herniated disk in her lower back.
“She was free of pain, but not ready to jump right back onto the soccer field, and we became part of PowerAthlete’s Bridge Program,” the girl’s mother said. “They started her with a full hourlong evaluation that consisted of several exercises that they documented and videotaped, so we as a family could see her deficiencies as well as track her progress throughout this journey. They did a complete analysis and determined right away that both of her injuries were directly related to weak hips, hamstrings and glute muscles which is a common thing in girls her age.
“Paul and his staff designed a program specific to what she needed to strengthen and build those areas, as well as her core,” she added. “The staff at PowerAthlete made it a fun, yet very challenging environment. After about 10 sessions they videotaped her again doing the same exercises as she did in the evaluation. She’s back on the field again, faster and stronger than ever, because of the Bridge Program.” Adult training programs cultivate sustained wellness
The array of success stories from PowerAthlete’s NextGen, Bridge and Athlete training programs have sparked the growth in its’ adult program.
PowerAthlete features two distinct tracks for adults:
The BURN program is a combination of 30 percent strength training and 70 percent cardiovascular fitness, producing high heart rates The BUILD training program is 70 percent Big Bar strength training and 30 percent interval cardio training designed for individuals that want a well-balanced workout with an emphasis on building strength and muscle definition
Like the programs for youth, high school and college athletes, the adult regimens are customized for each person. Adult athletes use a MyZone heart rate monitor system that is projected onto monitors around the gym so they can monitor their goal intensities.
PowerAthlete’s adult programs are intended to promote sustained wellness, regardless of your fitness level.
People who have been athletes and life has happened. Injuries, weight gain, stress, out of the routine, but still a competitive mindset. Our programs inspire sustained wellness and injury prevention, and keep the interest level high.
“Our adult training creates the dose of intensity that it takes to lower body ft and weight; and increases strength and stamina, among other goals,” Paul said. “Through the intensity and variety of exercises and directions, the objective is to build a body that is highly functional for the long term, regardless of age.”
A vital component of functional training is proper stretching. PowerAthlete recently debuted Stretch and Recover classes that help with flexibility, mobility and joint balance. The classes are included in all current memberships.
“As we age, joints lose their ability to move through a full range of motion, so proper stretching is crucial,” Paul said. “Proper stretching addresses what needs to be stretched, and strengthening the joints that are weak and loose.
“When you reach your 30s and 40s, the strategy for optimizing your physical life is a combination of cleaning up your diet and changing the way you train to vary the intensity of the sessions to allow for optimal recovery,” Paul added. “Exercises that focus on flexibility safeguard your joints.”
For more information about PowerAthlete, and to sign up for complimentary assessments, visit www.powerathlete.net.