My “Must See” Fitness Facilities

Hello All,

The flu knocked me off my rhythm and I am now just getting back. Before carrying on into the various nuances of fitness and wellness, I decided to change the pace up a bit. I felt like sharing my "Wish List" of places that I have either visited, would like to visit, and inspire me in the fitness industry.  For the most part, you will not see any franchise names. In no particular ranking order (this was done alphabetically), I have listed my "must see" fitness and/or wellness facilities directly below. It's good to be back. I hope you'll check out the websites of all of these listed below and better yet, go visit them. 🙂 Enjoy.

NOTE: If I missed your facility, let me know. It could be I'm unaware of how awesome it is. 🙂


Arizona Training Lab
Phoenix, AZ

I've had the pleasure of knowing Dave Dreas, the owner, for a number of years now. A big time sports fan (especially for the University of Michigan) and a sharp tack on exercise physiology, it's a no-brainer as to why ATL (I know, I think the city of Atlanta almost every time I see that) is doing so well in the AZ Valley. When you get to Phoenix, whether it be for golf or something else, be sure to make a visit here.


BDx Fitness
Shelton, CT

For some time I've been reading the newsletter of Christopher Graney. Impressive material if you ever get the chance to read it. From what I understand, the facility and staff are amazing. I'm looking forward to the day I can visit this place in person.



B-Fit Training
Las Vegas, NV

Byron Ross was my first guest I ever had on my podcast. Very knowledgeable and practical. He knows the borders of nutrition for non-dietitians and nutritionists. I love his practical style and the macros education is impressive. REPEATING - he knows the parameters of a non-dietitian and nutritionist.  For those that are looking for quality one on one training, visit this side of Vegas. Personal Training is supposed to be PERSONAL, right?



CLE Muscle Lab
Independence, OH

Intriguing to see a service like this next to a Box. Very interested in checking out how this coexists and learn from it. Plus, Joel, the owner, is awesome.  His enthusiasm in and of itself is worth the trip to his facility.


Core Strength
Toronto, ON

The MAT hub of Canada. The owner, Eric, has been very polite and encouraging via the social media platforms. That's always a good way to get traffic to your facility. 🙂


Exercise Intelligence

Through a journalism project this last summer, I was able to connect with Greg Gordon of Exercise Intelligence. Located in the Soho area of the Big Apple, E.I. offers personal training and Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) in a one-on-one setting. I can't wait to see this place for myself. When asked who my journalist colleague should interview in the NYC area about MAT, this was the recommendation from MAT HQ. That's all I need to know. 🙂


Fitness Alliance
Overland Park, KS

I have only met Bill Leavitt, the owner of Fitness Alliance, once. Very knowledgeable, his facility looks top notch and it  warrants a trip to the Kansas City metro area to visit. If you're a connoisseur of excellent fitness facilities, place this on your list (like all the others listed here). 🙂


Fitness Tek
Tampa, FL

The MAT hub of Florida or the SE area of the country (pending on your perspective). I have yet to visit Fitness Tek. From what I've seen, I need to experience what they offer in person. Gulf Coast Florida, get yourself here quickly!


Fitness Werks
Clarendon Hills, IL

What is in the water in Illinois?  This is one of MANY facilities I'd love to see in the Chicago metro. I met Neil, the owner, on my FIRST trip through the Muscle Activation Techniques program. He is what is called an Rx level specialist now.  Always knowledgeable and professional, things are looking better than ever for him....especially after the Steve Harvey show appearance.


Focus on Fitness
Oklahoma City, OK

Home of the Resistance Training Specialist (RTS) program. RTS is arguably the most advanced biomechanics program in the nation.  Focus is also where I get worked on when my muscular system gets weak. I've been using the same MAT Specialist for over a decade now, Daren.  It just so happens we were in the same exercise science program and graduating class many moons ago. 🙂  He is the original person who introduced me to Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT).  Did I already mention FOF is the home of the RTS program?


Greg Roskopf's Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT)
Englewood, CO

The headquarters of Greg Roskopf and Muscle Activation Techniques, aka, MAT.  Need I say anything else? 🙂


Isophit-MAT SD
San Diego, CA

I can't believe this is currently the ONLY place in Southern California that has an Isophit unit.  If you want to experience a new and solid workout, (solid defined as challenging while keeping your joints mobile and stable), you need to book here ASAP.


Metroflex LBC
Long Beach, CA

Arguably the equivalent of "Gold's Gym Venice" for Gen X and Millennials.  Within reason, you can make your workouts as challenging as you want here. There is a little of everything at this place...and it is based in hometown #2, Long Beach 🙂  It doesn't hurt that the owner, Eddie, hung the OU Sooners flag in the facility when I brought it there.


Muscle Activation Fitness
Plano, TX

The MAT hub for the SW...or Texas, as the state is quite large. I know this place well, as this is where I attend to take the MAT Specialist program. Aside from this, Glenn and Jake are phenomenal instructors, practitioners, and the DFW Metroplex are in good hands with them.  I do believe they have some, "Cowboys", on the client list that should be able to back my statements up as well. 🙂


Muscle Activation Schaumburgh
Schaumburgh, IL

The Chicago area hub for MAT. This tandem known as Charlie and Julie make fabulous teachers. Their videos are easy to follow and they seem to make complicated topics easy to understand.  The city of Schaumburg should consider itself lucky to have this business in their region.


Muscle Activation South Bay
Redondo Beach, CA

I've never met the practitioner at Muscle Activation South Bay, Christian Phillips.  I love his work that he demonstrates on his Instagram though.  Christian is a former collegiate football player that became both an RTSm and MAT Master (MATm) Specialist.  Undoubtedly, from what I have been able to witness, MA South Bay is a jewel of a business in the greater Los Angeles area.  Football and Track & Field...take a look at this place.


The Muscle Project
Denver, CO

My original teacher of the MAT course in 2003, Matt Brenier, opened up his own facility in Denver. He is one of the kindest, laid back individuals I have ever met.

MÜV Integrated Physical Culture
Pittsburgh, PA

If Leonardo Da Vinci would have ever created a gym (I know this is an imaginary stretch), I'm guessing it would look a lot like MÜV.  CREATIVITY! That's the best way to describe this place.  This group single handedly made me rethink the value of group fitness. Understanding joint mechanics and individual tailoring, these guys do that and do it creatively. Seriously, if this were in Beverly Hills or Manhattan, this would arguably be one of the hottest studios in the nation right now.  I have never seen anything like this. Pittsburgh, this is a gem of a service...treat it so.   Artistic, creative, intelligent and ultimately, a provider of long-term fitness results (should the client do his/her part).  If you like fitness with an artistic twist, take yourself to MÜV immediately. For all you NPC/IFBB folks that arrive annually in the may want to take a detour here. 🙂


Miami, FL

Another facility focused on customized optimization for individuals. This is Myocortex Human Performance Systems, the creators of the "Pro X" System, "a neuromuscular development method that improves overall muscle function by using a periodization plan to micro-progress within a training phase which delivers results while decreasing risk of injury."  Looking forward to seeing this in action.

By this time, we may be noticing a theme on all these facilities - focusing on the nervous system to help improve physical abilities.


West Palm Beach, FL

Jacques Henri Taylor I would consider another early mentor for me. I worked and learned from him in 2003 while coordinating MAT Jumpstarts in the Los Angeles area and UC Berkeley.  I would go on to say he is probably one of the foremost minds when it comes to the nervous system and it's effect(s) on the muscular system. Myotopia teaching and personal services are provided in the greater Miami area.  Check out his blog and be blown away.

Non-Fiction Fitness
Sarasota, FL

A little further south of Tampa lies Non-Fiction Fitness in the city of Sarasota. I've spoken to Chris Vercelli, watched some of his videos, and I see why he is so successful there.  He provides great tools for trainers and MAT practitioners to build their business in a brick and mortar setting. He has one amazing backstory beating cancer. Check out his site and make sure you spend some more time on the Gulf Coast of Florida to check out his place.


Norman Regional Hospital's "The Health Club in Brookhaven"
Norman, OK

The hospital lead health club has the largest concentration of academic and professionally skilled staff in personal training and sports performance. Friendly staff, always feel welcomed, and it is nice to go back to my old stomping grounds from time to time. It's not every hosipital lead facility (that I'm aware of) that allows you access to machines and Olympic lifting platforms under one roof. There is a little something for everyone here.


NRG Fitness
Cincinnati, OH

I've only seen Aaron via Livestream as an instructor for a couple of my MAT weekends. He did leave an impression. I need to make a trip to Cincinnati to check out the other Midwest-based MAT hub.


Phase 1 Sports
Las Vegas, NV

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Michael Waters in 2013. I did not get a full grasp of his facility until I visited it in 2014. This 10,000 sq ft facility was an athlete's dream. The concept of Phase 1 creates programs for athletes as young as 6 all the way to Seniors in High School.  Collegiate and professional athletes have been known to come in during their off seasons.  What I feel sets this facility apart from other athletic training facilities, is the dedication to academic achievement. Want to go to a D-1 school? You're going to need D-1 level academics to go with that athletic ability. Academic tutoring coincides with athletic skill improvement.   Strong mind, strong body. I look forward to checking out the NEW 20,000 sq ft facility they now reside in.  Should you find yourself in Vegas, visit 7770 Dean Martin Drive, #307 while you're there. 🙂


Precision Human Performance
Chicago, IL

If there was ever a place that blew me away at first site, it would be PHP. Located in the heart of Chicago (told you....something going on in Illinois), the city is flat out spoiled in my opinion. Loaded with arguably the largest concentration of RTSm Trainers and MAT Specialists under one roof, it comes across as if NASA got into the fitness industry. 🙂 The newly added BioAcademics Streaming Courses for trainers or the inquisitive, is an impressive touch to an already impressive array of services. They truly live up to their motto of, "Train Smart".  FIVE (5) Stars. If I did rank this list, this would most likely be number 1.


Prevail Strength and Fitness
Oklahoma City, OK

Another service that is challenging my thoughts on group fitness. For the longest time, I concluded it was too difficult to conduct group classes while keeping aware of individual need.  I'm slowly coming around.  I'm being shown if certain needs are addressed and accounted for prior as well as during the class, both can be achieved. Prevail is good example of this mix.

Proactive Lifestyle Fitness
Katy, TX

I could argue that this could be the PHP of Texas. Proactive is another science-based fitness facility that is quite impressive. Staffed with some amazing trainers and MAT Specialists, the facility could arguably be the best in the Houston area. That is correct, I said that. Check out their Facebook Live videos and their Instagram --- Southern hospitality meets anatomy, physiology, and physics. 🙂


Striation 6
Toronto, ON

The home of the inventor of the Isophit, Brad Thorpe. 🙂 I have him to thank for me being back in the MAT program.  I was enamored by both the Isophit and the business model for Striation 6 so much, I went to bat to get him on as a speaker. Where you say?  At the annual conference for the NPO endeavor I helped co-create, the FMI Guild. Much like PHP in Chicago and Proactive in Houston, highly knowledgeable professionals, cutting edge class creation, and home of the Isophit...did I mention that already? 🙂


Strictly Muscles
Chicago, IL

The tandem of Mark Kimpston (RTSm Intern, MAT) and Scott McWilliam (RTSm, MAT Masters Specialist) in Chicagoland.  I have never met either. Both have been very complimentary about my business and by the acronyms they've obviously been to Oklahoma City (home of the RTS program) a few times.  There seems to be a theme I'm going with here.  Extremely knowledgeable professionals but I want to use their own description from their Instagram account,

"Muscle Activation Techniques Specialists • Exercise Contrarians • Resistance Training Specialist • Candy Crush Champion"

Get yourself to Chicago and visit all the area facilities on this list. 🙂


Ventura Training and Athletics
Ventura, CA

Due north of Los Angeles, is the hub for MAT in Southern California. This last summer, I was connected to Blair Ferguson. Based on a potential journalism lead, I learned about Ventura Training Athletics, how Blair got to where he is.  Like everyone else on my list, his credentials and operation is impressive. I can understand why Ventura became the hub for MAT.  Though some may consider it a bit of drive from the likes of Orange County or the Inland Empire, it would be worth it!  From Santa Barbara to San Diego, it is worth checking out what is going on at VTA. I should be checking it out myself the next time I'm back home.


And there you have it! Thank you for staying to read my wish list tour of facilities I would love to visit.

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