ALLENDALE, N.J. — "Be positive. Work hard. Believe in yourself." It's a mantra father of four Pete Ohnegian of Good Energy Training in Allendale tells his kids and the athletes he trains.
His business provides strength and conditioning training to enhance sports performance and personal fitness. Clients are professional athletes - there are current NFL players - youths and adults. They range from Division I athletes to beginners.
Ohnegian likes helping clients stay conditioned or get back in shape, and talked recently about the challenges and satisfaction of the kind of work he does.
"A lot of former athletes have the attitude — been there, done that. I think the former athletes that loved the strength and conditioning component to their sport may try something like CrossFit because it is its own sport. When you perform CrossFit, you join a community that competes every day in their workout and they have built an amazing community of like-minded strength and conditioning enthusiasts," he said.
A lot of former athletes lack the drive to go through lifting, running, "the grind," any more, Ohnegian said.
When he started Good Energy in 2003, the goal was to have a place for athletes to reach their sport goals by strength and conditioning workouts and a place to introduce adults to how athletes train.
"There is an athlete in all of us," he said. "I wanted to share how strength and conditioning can make you feel better not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. As long as our clients arrive with a positive attitude and are willing to give us 100 percent effort, then we take it from there."
It is common for former athletes to not want exercise like before, like do squats, bench press, dead lifts "perform Olympic lifts, in general, if they had a rigorous program in high school or college," Ohnegian said.
For that reason, Ohnegian's training program is set up so adults can train every day or pick and choose which days they want to train, but the program is inclusive, he said.
So Monday to Friday there are total body, lower body, core and cardio, upper body and yard work sessions at different scheduled times.
Workouts incorporate strength, core, abdominal, plyometric and flexibility exercises.
"We don't believe in no pain and no gain, and try to cater each workout to each individual client, even in our adult classes," he said. "We coach each session like our clients are on our team. We help former athletes get their Mojo back by incorporating our program into their weekly routine and regaining a healthier lifestyle."
Younger athletes are encouraged to let go of the pressure-filled "win and be the best" attitude in youth sports, and instead focus on the process.
"Our process is strength and conditioning. College and professional athletes that do amazing things on television have worked countless hours behind the scenes lifting weights, running, perfecting their skills prior to playing in a game. We start our program with "GE Youth" which consists of 5th to 8th graders that are just learning about strength training, speed training and conditioning," Ohnegian said.
So for instance, the athletes learn about the specific technique with regard to running mechanics and fitness training,and also how to mentally approach a workout and how to be coached.
"Beginners need to learn how to focus on the little things and have the right mental approach," he said. "Elite athletes can't focus on the end result and whether they will get ranked as an athlete or offered a scholarship. They need to train all year whether it is a recovery workout in season or strength building in the off season."
He points to his staff and wife Katie for enabling him to balance his career with family life. The couple has four children, Allison and John, 12-year-old twins, Andrew, 10, and Michael, 7.
"I have taken my family to many games in which a Good Energy Training student athlete or professional has performed and they know a lot of the people that train with us," he said.