If you are SERIOUS about TRULY reaching your goals, no matter what they are, then we are the gym you call when you’re tired of thinking small.
Coach Mike moved to North Carolina in December of 2009 with no clients, no gym to train at, and a burning passion for the fitness business. He got hired at a local commercial gym and the process began. A book of clients was built, and his passion led him to training from 8am to 8pm, and usually going home for another few hours of studying his ever evolving craft. His father told him, “love what you do and you will never work a day in your life.” This couldn’t be more accurate.
As the saying goes, “cream always rises to the top.” Mike quickly got promoted to Master Trainer to the company he was working for. They did 30 minute sessions, little to no flexibility work, and left nutrition (the biggest piece of the puzzle), as an ambiguous afterthought due to the time constraints of the shortened sessions. Something had to give, so Raw Fitness was born.
A gym member approached Coach Mike due to his success in training his son for his collegiate football career, and asked him to check out his old barn with a big field in hopes of training local athletes using the space. This was the jumpstart that Mike needed. The scramble to find equipment was on, and praise God for Craigslist. Used weights, heavy bags, kettlebells, sandbags, and the legendary 360 lb tire got shoved in that old barn. It was Rocky IV all over again. No heat, no a/c, no running water; just hungry high school athletes and a willingness to train hard and piss in the woods.
If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat down a path to your door. Raw Fitness (aptly named) got results and the interest grew. It was time to get a real space, so that old barn which many original members will miss forever, would be no more. We packed up and moved and continued to add the most cutting edge functional training tools. Clients continued to pour in despite zero marketing effort whatsoever.
January 2012 marked another milestone as we expanded again and doubled in size. This was followed by another expansion in June 2013 with another doubling in size to nearly 4,300 square feet! We aren’t done yet, so feel free to join the movement. If you are serious about changing your health, body, or performance, than we invite you to come along side of us on our journey to help 100% of the people 100% of the time. It might never be accomplished, but we are not going down without a fight!
meet our trainers
Owner/ Comeback Commander/ Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
Michael is very familiar with not being a fit individual. He actually spent much of his life as the polar opposite. He ran with the wrong crowd in high school and became a stock broker in New York at 19 years of age. Lots of money and bad habits were not a good combination. He spent most of his early 20’s with a terrible drug addiction. He has been in several detoxes and rehabs and even experienced homelessness. The picture above is a recent shot of the tree he used to sleep behind in 2004. God’s grace was upon him and gave him a second chance. It has fueled his passion of showing others they can change, and achieve more than they thought was possible.
Mike prides himself on his goal of helping 100% of his clients 100% of the time. He strongly believes that with proper guidance, hard work, and determination, the average client can achieve above average results. His philosophy is simple: give the client what they want, give the client what they need, get it fast, and make it fun! Michael forged his training chops in the fierce and fit city of Los Angeles where he was aptly dubbed, “Trainer to the Stars.” He worked for several high profile clients such as: Brad Pitts’ agents’ nanny, and the woman who managed the Starbucks that once served Charlie Sheen.
On a more serious note, Michael is certified in the Functional Movement Screen, a system for analyzing and correcting faulty movement patterns which have been proven to predict injury. He has completed 4 courses at The Postural Restoration Institute and regularly uses their methodologies to help restore proper function for his clients . He is also a certified Youth Speed and Agility Specialist through the International Youth Conditioning Association. He is extremely passionate about molding today’s youth not only into better athletes, but better people through his emphasis on hard work and perseverance.
Michael is certified through the prestigious National Academy of Sports Medicine and is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach and reads and studies basically every piece of fitness related material he can get his hands on. He has 11 years of experience of not only training his clients but also working as Master Trainer for the Charlotte areas largest training company.
He is currently employed as the Fitness Coach for the Carolina Rapids US Soccer Developmental Academy Program. He oversees both strength and conditioning for them as well as injury prevention.
Whether you compete in sport or the game of life, Mike salivates at the opportunity to help you reach your fullest potential.
Melissa graduated Cum Laude from Messiah College, obtaining her BA in Sport & Exercise Science. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer with the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) and a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant through the AFPA (American Fitness Professionals & Associates). Her passion is training children and adults who fall into the obese/morbidly obese category, and those who suffer from a wide variety of diseases including Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, and even those with old sport injuries. Her approach to wellness is all-encompassing; not only does she make her clients sweat, but also gives them nutritional recommendations, addresses issues leading to their current state of health, and talks about ways to improve their overall well being. Melissa’s “no excuses” approach has undoubtedly made her very successful with clients she trains. Her impressive retention rate with current clientele speaks to this success, and in effect, she is a very sought after trainer in the University area.
Head Trainer/ Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
Natalia originally studied Teaching Methodology of Foreign Languages at one of the highest-ranked Russian Universities (Kostroma State University 1991-1995). She briefly got to use her skills as an English teacher and a simultaneous interpreter with various populations. Shortly thereafter, she got married and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana.
With Zero nutrition knowledge, a Mom of 2 little children, living in the ‘food capital’ of the south, Natalia soon found herself constantly battling low energy and bad mood. It seemed she gained 60 lbs overnight. That affected her health in several ways, and soon she knew something had to change. Being solution-oriented by nature, she made herself her first client. Natalia tried and tested on herself many fat loss approaches. Kept what worked and tossed away what didn’t. During the next 2 years she went from 200 lbs to 135 lbs (from 35% body fat to 10%).
After seeing the results of proper nutrition and physical training, Natalia fell in love with all things health-related. Especially nutrition and behavioral psychology. She got her hands on the latest research and other resources relating to the subject, while helping her friends and family members reach their health and fitness goals. She knew she could not keep this knowledge to herself. Natalia often found herself sharing her knowledge with people via her blog and social networks. That’s a teacher in her. Many were suggesting she should make it her career.
Natalia was thinking of working at one of the local commercial gyms when she was approached by Coach Mike. Once Natalia saw what Raw Fitness was all about, the rest was history. She’s been a gym goer for 13 years and none of those gyms compared favorably to Raw Fitness and its staff. Meeting the clients was like icing on the cake. Natalia was excited to start learning the trade under Coach Mike’s mentorship.
Natalia is certified in Sports and Exercise Nutrition through Precision Nutrition. She also holds a personal trainer’s certification through ACE. Natalia has completed 2 courses with PRI (Postural Restoration Institute) and utilizes these skills with many of her clients to help them achieve pain-free and properly aligned movement while exercising and during their every day activities. She is continually learning from the best in the industry in the fields of physical training, nutrition and behavioral science.
Natalia meets her clients where they are, by actively listening to their concerns and goals. Collaborates with the clients on the course of action in the gym and on the nutrition front, and helps them break the big goal into bite-size easily manageable steps. Constant monitoring of the progress and building on the current success leads to ultimate win!
Natalia: “I have experienced first-hand all the pitfalls of fad diets and all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The journey to the place where I am now would have been a lot easier if I had a knowledgeable and motivational coach by my side. Someone who believed in me. I want to be just that for others now. I want to provide a safe environment for my clients to consider change, and help shape the path for reaching their goals.”
Kym has spent the majority of her life invested in the realm of health. As a young athlete she played competitive volleyball which eventually led her to the collegiate level, and the love of all things active. What started as a love for a specific sport grew to be a fascination with the human body and all it’s capable of doing.
Kym holds a degree in Exercise Science, and is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. (She also is SPIN certified and LOVES to teach indoor cycling). The one lesson Kym thinks is important for everyone to hear is that no matter where life takes you, your health will always be with you. It’s important to do our best to take care of the bodies we have in order to live life to the fullest.
As much as Kym loves health, over the years three things have crept into her life that she loves even more: God, her awesome husband Jeff, and her two adorably cute kids, Everleigh and Jameson. They have become the fuel for her life and why she pushes daily to be the best Jesus follower, wife, mom, and health enthusiast she can be.
Jamie has been no stranger to physical fitness and competition. She began competitive swimming at a young age, which eventually landed her a spot on the varsity swim team at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. After four years of education at UNCW, Jamie graduated with degrees in Biology and Exercise Science. With her education, personal experience and love of fitness, Jamie was able to become a certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist.
Over the following six years, Jamie was able to work in a medical practice that not only allowed her to follow her passion but help others reach health goals and work with acute and chronic pain. Jamie now brings her top level workouts and motivation to Raw fitness where she is dedicated and determined to help anyone and everyone from looking better in a bathing suit or just touching your toes again.
When Jamie is not making people sweat at Raw Fitness she can be seen in the back yard with her dogs or riding bikes with her husband.
“Finally, A Gym Culture Where Everyone is Welcome.”
People don’t usually come to the “Comeback Gym” because they are on a fitness winning streak. So we have gone to great lengths to know exactly how to take anyone, regardless of their gym experience, from total newbie to “Raw-Fitness-ologists”. So they can get and stay in control of the way that they look and feel
Heart Rate Based Training
No question is a bad question. We want to answer any concerns you may have. Check out some of our frequently asked questions, or ask us a question below!
How much does it cost?
We are extremely competitive with our pricing. It depends upon your specific situation and needs, but typically our members pay $40 per hour of personal training and $12 per 50 minute class. There are no fees associated for the membership or gym usage itself.
what is the environment like?
100% Unpretentious. We have people of all shapes and sizes and experience levels. The coaches are much more on the encouraging side versus the “Jillian Michaels” get in your face style. We still get great results for our members with the former.
what if im just a beginner?
Then you will be like the 99.5% of people who come to us. You will see some really fit people at the gym, but none of them came to us that way. We always have lots of newer people so you will be part of the majority
what are the classes like?
Fun, engaging, energetic and motivating. They are smaller in size (Like 5-10 people) and we have lots of different toys like kettlebells, sandbags, ropes and sleds so you’ll have plenty of variety (though no one comes to us knowing how to use any of them, so newcomers are very welcome)
Can I use the gym on my own?
All of our members who either take our classes or train with a trainer can use the gym on their own during our normal business hours. However, we don’t crowd our gym by letting anyone pay us $10 a month fee to have access alla” Planet Fitness style”. We like to maintain our ultra private vibe and feel.
DO YOU HAVE CARDIO EQUIPMENT?
There’s no dreadmills, but we do have rowers, bikes, slideboards and a stair-climber. Because we specialize in fat loss, we do cardio in shorter bursts using really effective tools like medicine balls and heavy rope training. We never have our members off doing mindless repetitive cardio getting less than optimal results.
Is the gym super crowded?
Never. We have 4300 square feet and even when a class is going on, there is still plenty of breathing room.
make your comeback.
Contact us for more information
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Monday 6:15 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday 6:15 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Friday 6:15 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.