Reflecting Back – Forming The PIT


The PIT has been open just over a year and what a first year we’ve had! Reflecting back on our year also got me thinking about where we started and why we started.

We knew we wanted to open a progressive gym paying attention to the highest quality training available for both our adult clients as well as our athletes. That’s why we decided to partner with Men’s Health Thrive, formerly MBSC Thrive, to help our idea come to life. Men’s Health Thrive is a cutting-edge fitness center that provides customized training programs and personal coaching for every single member. We use the functional training system created by world-renowned strength coach Mike Boyle, who trained the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and the 2014 Silver Medal Winning U.S.A. Women’s Hockey Team, as well as hundreds of NFL, NBA, and NHL athletes.



Mike Boyle is one of the most influential people in fitness and his experience and knowledge has been paramount in our success. Using his systems we develop personalized and progressive programs for everyone from elite level athletes to adult clients looking to get in a little better shape. Our coaches are trained in his systems and have access to immense amounts of continuing education resources to keep our quality of training at the very highest level.

I had the opportunity to head out to Woburn, MA to train for a week with Mike Boyle and his staff at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning(MBSC). It was an unbelievable experience to get to train and ask questions to some of the best fitness minds in the world. I left with a different view on training and a renewed excitement for fitness. I knew I could change people’s lives more effectively with his help and couldn’t wait to start!

We opened The PIT in January of 2014 and have been working tirelessly to improve every single member’s life that we come into contact with. We have had the great opportunity to train hundreds of people of this last year. These members range from a wide spectrum of populations.

Athletic sports performance is at the core of our beliefs and affects our programming on every level. Our athletes come from many backgrounds and sports, including basketball, football, baseball, hockey, volleyball, softball, lacrosse, rock climbing, golf, track and field, tennis, and many other sports. These athletes range in both age and level. We train youth athletic development for 10-13 year olds, a more in-depth, intense athletic performance program for our high school athletes, 14 years old and older. We have also trained Division I, II, and III collegiate men and women, as well as professional athletes. The variety is huge, but the performance is the same. The programming in the PIT is designed help every athlete become a better version of themselves. The demands of sports are very different across disciplines, but the efficient, powerful, athletic movement that the body can achieve is often times the same. We pay special attention to the intricacies of each unique sport and adjust our programming individually, but the rock solid basics of great athleticism are always the same.

The PIT has had the opportunity to partner and train some professional sports organizations from the area as mentioned previously. We spent early summer last year training the Normal Cornbelters to prepare them for their 2014 campaign. We will also be training the Cornbelters upcoming this summer, including specialized training for their starting pitching rotation to make sure arm care and maintenance are maintained throughout the season to help prevent injury and maintain performance. The Bloomington Thunder Hockey team has also been heavily involved training in the PIT for the entirety of their season. They play in the USHL which is a premier junior hockey league with most players receiving Division I scholarships for hockey as well as considerations for the NHL draft. The Bloomington Thunder Hockey guys are really a special group of driven athletes who pay attention to every aspect of their training. The PIT was no exception. I worked closely with Head Coach Dennis Williams on the needs of his team both pre-season and in-season and made sure these elite athletes were able to perform to the best of their abilities.

What’s so special about the programming at the PIT is that very complex, heavily researched, and progressive athletic strength and conditioning concepts can be manipulated for the adult population as well. We all agree that we are all human and our bodies behave and adapt very similarly, regardless of athletic prowess. We use this idea with our Adult Performance groups. Our philosophy is to first and foremost avoid injury. There is a current trend in fitness for highly intense, fantastically difficult exercise regimens. The PIT’s approach is different. We use a series of progressions, regressions, and lateralization’s to ensure that the member reaches their goals without taking unnecessary risks along the way. We utilize high intensity programming when it is appropriate for the individual, but only then. We use a combination corrective exercises, mobility’s, activations, compound strength work, and progressive conditioning methods to achieve your goal methodically.

The PIT has grown and continues to do so. We look forward to 2015 to keep researching, keep learning, keep adapting, and to most of all keep bringing state of the art strength and conditioning programming to the Bloomington-Normal community. Strength and Conditioning should not be a trend or fad, it should be a science. We treat it as a science here at the PIT. The combination of pursuing overall excellence in programming and our talented coaching staff creating connections with members to drive results has really made The PIT a unique, special gym that I am very proud of.

Written By Jesse Hawkins, PIT Manager & Coach


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