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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 8 years ago

Iron-pumping pair open new team-training gym


Richard Pinelli and Brennan Dougherty opened a sports training facility to focus on teams and youth athletes.


Sport-specific training facilities are lacking here in Ormond Beach, according to Richard Pinelli and Brennan Dougherty. And they've decided to do something about it.

Co-owners of the new Elite Strength and Performance gym, at 916 US 1, Pinelli and Dougherty see their space tailoring more to team, not individual, workouts.

“There are gyms, but they aren't set up where you can have a team come in,” Pinelli said. “I think it’s important that you can bring the whole team in and get that group atmosphere. Then everyone is on the same page.”

Pinelli and Dougherty are originally from Pennsylvania and both attended West Virginia University, where Pinelli majored in exercise physiology and Dougherty majored in sports psychology.

After graduation, Pinelli took a job at All Star Sports, in Paisley, which closed after his first six months on the job. And when Dougherty graduated in May, the two graduates -- Pinelli, 25, and Dougherty, 24 -- saw an opportunity to become their own bosses.

About $20,000 in startup costs later, and that's exactly what they were. Elite Strength and Performance was born, and it opened for business Friday, Oct. 5.

“It’s the shipping that kills you,” Pinelli said, "because everything is so heavy. Everything is big. We probably had a third of a tractor trailer with our stuff in it.”

The inside of their gym weighs close to 7,000 pounds, they estimate. And so to keep costs down, the pair made trips back and forth to Orlando, with trunks full of weight plates, in order to save on shipping.

That's how they moved about 4,500 pounds of their inventory.

In addition to focusing on team workouts, Pinelli and Dougherty also want to make youth training a cornerstone of their business plan.

“The concept is that, normally, you don’t want to start too young,” Pinelli said. “But, you know, that’s an old-school mentality. We want to start with younger groups and work with them as they progress through middle school and high school, so that they continue to progress until they get into college.”

Start early, they say, and young athletes will have a huge leg up on their peers in the fundamentals department. It can also help protect against injury down the line.

But if not done correctly, strength training at a young age can also cause a lot of problems.

“From what I’ve seen in my experience, in the weight room in college, unless you have a really good coach, you aren’t getting taught the proper things,” Pinelli said. “Even stretching. They’re having you do static-stretching before you work out, which is not right.”

That's where Pinelli and Dougherty come in. They might be young, but they live and breathe this stuff. They studied it in school. And now they want to teach it -- to high school teams, youth sport clubs. They want to make Ormond Beach better, and stronger, and faster -- one team at a time.

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