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Thompson builds business along with bodies

Thu, Oct 18, 2012

One on One

Steven Thompson grew up in Colorado Springs and left with his mom to finish high school in the Midwest. But when he got into motocross racing and wanted to pursue it professionally, Colorado called him home.

He was the chubby kid in school until he grew older and started learning about fitness. What he learned impressed him. He was able to build a professional bicycle racing career, travel the country and win because he kept his body fit.

When he decided to move out of professional racing, he realized he could apply what he learned about fitness to help athletes and others get to their peak physical fitness levels. And he could make a living doing it. Now, at 36, Thompson is planning to move his personal training business to 3105 N. Cascade Ave. so he can double his space and keep up with his growing customer base.

Tell us about your personal training business.

My training business is called Vital – Personal Performance Center. I am in the process of moving in order to double my square footage and won’t be 100 percent open until mid-December or at the very latest Jan. 1, but am still training in the meantime.

I work with local athletes as well as the general public. My focus is providing each person with my full attention on their goals whether that might be an athlete trying to be his or her best in order to get a college scholarship or a business professional just looking to stay active and healthy.

I do not run a 55-year-old female through the same routine that I would a female soccer player. I first try to develop a healthy inside with each client, trying to aid in eliminating outside stress from daily life and develop a balanced plan of attack when it comes to nutrition.

Once the inside body groundwork is laid, I work with each client toward his or her goals. If I’m working with athletes, we focus on sports specific conditioning to make them better at their sport. If I’m working with a business professional or “average Joe” I use routines that focus on functional movements – training that pertains to everyday life activities, not sitting on a bench and lifting like a bodybuilder. In addition to the one-on-one training, I also offer group fitness classes that combine strength and cardiovascular work all molded into one.

How did you get into personal training?

I started to read fitness magazines my senior year of high school and asked for a gym membership for my 18th birthday because I became intrigued by the way the body worked and how complex it really is.

I spent a good amount of my teens as the chubby kid even though I was nonstop with sports year-round. It boiled down to having really poor nutrition – my mom made excellent balanced meals but I snacked on garbage all the time also, which negated any of the activity I did.

After high school I started to race motocross again after a few years away from it. And that’s when my desire to get in really good shape came around. I had to make up for missing out on some years of racing experience and lack of pure natural talent with trying to be in better shape than my competitors so I could last longer at a higher pace than them.

I was able to obtain a professional card in 1997 and travel around the country, which gave me more time to gain knowledge about training and nutrition. After I quit racing, I started to work out more and got excellent results from my training. One thing led to another, and people in the gym started asking me to work out with them, so I decided to get certified and make a career out of it.

What is Fli Bye Racing and why did you start it?

Fli Bye racing is a local bicycle race team that I started a few years ago. Having dealt with sponsorship in motocross, I knew that if I organized a team it would be easier to attract support from the bike industry. Instead of one person getting a discount on a given brand, the company would get six to eight people using its bikes and representing it, which opens up their exposure a bunch. So I used some contacts I had and started the team. The focus isn’t all about going out and winning races, it’s about being model citizens, ambassadors for the bike industry and creating a community around being active in the bicycle world.

What opportunities do you feel you have in Colorado Springs working with athletes and people trying to get in shape that you might not have in other places?

I feel that, in general, Colorado Springs has so much to offer when it comes to working with athletes and other people. We have a pretty active community with tons of people who take advantage of the awesome climate and abundance of city parks and open space.

Our local economy hasn’t been hit as bad as other places in the country, and that helps out a bunch when you are in an industry like mine – trainers are a luxury item and the fact that so many people like myself or any of the other reputable trainers in town are still in business says a lot about the “healthy living” attitude most people around here have, placing health high on the priority list.

On the athletes’ side it’s no different. Active parents create active children who, once they get to a certain age and show some promise in a given sport, will start to work toward their goals until they graduate from high school.

I have been fortunate enough to work with male and female athletes from soccer to hockey and from motocross to mountain biking, many who have gone on to big-time universities with full scholarships and excelled at that level. That is the most rewarding part about my job, seeing a young, hungry and focused kid come in at an early age and grow as a person and athlete. Training develops discipline and work ethic that carries over into everyday life a lot more than people think

Are there any particular opportunities or challenges you find being a young professional in Colorado Springs?

I see huge opportunities for young professionals in Colorado Springs. Overall, we have a great community with enough diversity that I personally feel gives you a chance to succeed in whatever field or career you are in or want to be in. In my mind, I don’t see any challenges from living here. My attitude is one that if you face an obstacle or see a void or flaw in our city, you should take it upon yourself to address the issue and fill that void.

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