JIM PETERS: Wayne finds a home for his fitness passion

2014-01-15T17:00:00Z 2014-01-16T05:04:09Z JIM PETERS: Wayne finds a home for his fitness passionJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
January 15, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

It's mid-January. If you're not a hard-core workout warrior, chances are the buzz of your New Year's resolution to get in better shape is already waning.

"So many people burn out because it's so monotonous doing the same thing every day," Portage baseball coach Tim Pirowski said. "I'm in a different workout mode now where just lifting weights or running is just boring."

Chances are that feeling applies to many of us, average folks looking for a spark in their mundane exercise regimen.

When Nick Wayne was strapping a tractor tire to his car last summer and driving to Veterans Memorial Park in Hobart to conduct training sessions, a vision to help people took root.

"It was the best summer of my life," he said. "We're doing something we believe in, that we know works, with people who believe in what we do."

The 1999 Portage graduate bounced around in college, playing baseball at three schools. Along the way, Wayne developed an interest in the exercise sciences.

"I found a passion," he said. "I always felt I would be part of the fitness field."

It just took awhile to get there. Wayne played Independent League baseball for several years with stints in Joliet and Fargo, working construction in the offseason. When that ran its course, he found his way into boxing and mixed martial arts.

"I was looking for that camaraderie," Wayne said. "I did martial arts growing up. I wanted to see what was out there. I've got a lot of good friends in UFC, John Kolosci, Eddie Wineland. It's an individual sport, but it's the biggest team sport I've ever been a part of, the competition, the training partners. It's the best community I've ever had behind me."

Wayne did a number of matches in both disciplines. Along the way, he joined an area gym as head trainer, developing a loyal following with his unique, high-energy classes.

"He's a good motivator," Pirowski said. "It kicks your (butt), but it's fun. It's a family-type atmosphere. You get all types of people, in shape, looking to get in shape. Everybody's supporting each other. You have a good time working out."

After branching out on their own last year, Wayne and his wife, Ava, found a new 3,200-square foot home for their dream on U.S. 6 in Portage. Three months of moving and cleaning later, and Hybrid Athletics and Fitness opened its doors.

"It's our lifestyle. It's what we do," Wayne said. "People say, 'What do you do for work?' I say I'm retired. I don't look at this as a job. I enjoy doing it."

Don't let the fancy name scare you. Clientele covers the whole spectrum, from grandmas to professional fighters, all sweating together to a wide range of activities.

"We'd like to think it's a place for anybody," Wayne said. "There are variables to everything we do. Everybody has their own pace. We can't tell you how it will work for you. We can just show you, help you help yourself. The proof is in the pudding."

Dan Clark, a certified strength and conditioning coach, is a big fan of Wayne's methods.

"I don't think there's anything like it in the area," Clark said. "There's something for everybody. For someone like myself who works out quite a bit, it can be hard to push myself. I like it, because when I go, Nick makes me want to do better. I wish I had his energy all the time. He's got a gift for it."

The next step is ours.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.

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