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MIKE FERNANDES’ LONGTIME PASSION
FOR ATHLETIC TRAINING EVOLVES INTO
THE POWER OF INFINITE FITNESS
Open Just Over Two Years, His Fall River, MA
Based Facility Specializes In Athletic And
Weight Loss Training For Its Fast Growing Clientele
Mike Fernandes earned his degree from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and quickly achieved his goal of being a middle school teacher. A fitness class back in high school sparked a lifelong passion that inspired him at the same time to pursue his equally important goal to become a trainer. Both areas of his professional life are guided by the same basic principle rooted in the importance of making a personal connection with students and clients.
“It’s a great quote I like to use in the school environment,” says Fernandes, who launched his quickly growing facility Infinite Fitness Sports Performance Institute, in 2011 in Fall River, MA.
“Students don’t care what you know, until they first know that you care. It is the same with athletes – they want to know their trainer is passionate about getting them to the next level. You can be a great trainer knowledge-wise, but if you aren’t truly passionate about getting your client, or the athlete you’re working with to the next level in their training or competition, they won’t buy into what you’re sharing, and won’t reach their full potential.”
In the mid 2000s, he had the perfect opportunity to put his talents in the fitness arena to use, working on shoulder care and rotational power for his brother Kyle, who was drafted into the Boston Red Sox minor league system and pitched for various teams until he retired in 2011.
Word got around about Fernandes’ success with Kyle – including training him to get stronger and more explosive in his delivery – and he soon had a booming clientele of athletes of many disciplines, from professional MMA to college baseball and softball, minor league ballplayers, college, high school and middle school soccer, basketball, softball and track competitors. When he opened his facility, he was training Kyle, those local athletes and MMA Competitors.
More than half of the now 100 plus members of Infinite Fitness are athletes and Fernandes is quick to point out some prominent individual success stories. He cites a recent profile in the local paper about a teenage girl softball player signed to go to a Division II school in Pennsylvania. Fernandes and his team helped add 11 mph to her pitching velocity. They also train a female athlete that finished #5 in the country in the Division III Hammer Throw and #7 in the Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track competition in the U.S. Infinite Fitness works on specifically helping her meet and exceed the demands of her competition, as well as making her stronger and more explosive.
Kyle now works with young baseball players, doing strength and conditioning with a focus on throwing and mechanics programs. As referrals began to grow, the facility started doing weight loss training, with specialties in strength based semi-private training and Metabolic Resistance Training, whose goals are burning calories, destroying fat and gaining lean muscle.
In November 2013, Infinite Fitness was recognized in the Fall River Herald, the local newspaper that called it “just what the doctor ordered – literally.” The publication says it’s “not your typical gym. It’s a training facility, unlike any other in the area that specifically caters to the athlete’s needs. With more than 100 members to date, Infinite Fitness has been guiding athletes in the right direction for three years and the results speak for themselves.”
Earlier in the year, Fernandes was named the official strength and conditioning coach of the New Bedford Bay Sox, who are part of the NECBL, an elite college summer baseball league that produces many professional ballplayers.
“My staff and I are here because we have a deep passion for educating people and helping them be their best,” says Fernandes, a longtime Certified Personal Trainer who is also a Strength Specialist. “I see so many athletes who never reach their full potential because they don’t train properly. From working with my brother and other athletes in every sport from soccer to softball, I learned the right way to train them. I opened Infinite Fitness because I wanted to help more athletes. We have helped them reach the next level in their athletic lives, to transcend their game. Some kids have come to us in a last ditch attempt to make their team. We have succeeded in not only helping them achieve that goal but surpassing it to become standout players.
“As gratifying as that has been, the growth of our weight loss training programs has allowed us to reach even more people,” he adds. “A good friend of mine helped me come up with the name ‘Infinite Fitness’, which matches our belief that our clients’ health is a lifetime commitment. Too many people are conditioned to believe that training is a one shot, two month or however long deal and then they go on their way. But to make it work, it has to be a part of an ongoing lifestyle in season and off season to keep their game up.”
Infinite Fitness provides individualized programs that teach all athletes how to get the most out of themselves by increasing their functional strength, speed, endurance and range of motion – all while decreasing their risk of injury. Clients are first put through a rigorous assessment process to check for any issues connected to their range of motion or muscular imbalances that may be limiting their performance and could lead to injury. Individualized plans consist of soft tissue work and corrective exercises to fix mobility issues, dynamic warm up, plyometrics, agility, strengthening, regeneration and conditioning. The approximately 4,000 square foot space has a lot of sports specific equipment, including Astroturf, tires, ropes, slide boards, hurdles and power sleds.
“Every athlete is different,” Fernandes says. “Two of them might be playing the same sport, but they may need different approaches to fix muscular imbalances and any kind of shoulder or hip instability. Or they may have muscular restrictions or poor movement quality. We do the assessment to make specifications in the program we write for them. A lot of facilities, including top college strength and conditioning facilities, prefer the group training, one size fits all approach. We work with athletes of all ages, from eight year old kids to men and women up to 65 years old that need corrective training for old hip pain and hamstring issues.”
The weight loss and metabolic resistance element of Infinite Fitness was a natural outgrowth of the group boot camp training sessions Fernandes and his team offered as they were raising funds to start the facility. Many non athletes wanted to start training there, and true to his desire to help people achieve fitness success, Fernandes developed customizable nutrition programs, strength based semi private training and metabolic resistance training.
Like the athletes, these clients are given a comprehensive fitness assessment to determine mobility issues that could impact training. Under the supervision of an experienced trainer, the track that each client follows will include a monthly re-evaluation of the plan to make necessary modifications in order to prevent plateau and to further their fitness and health. Clients will also receive nutritional counseling and monthly weigh ins and body fat percentage calculations to keep them goal focused.
Infinite Fitness’ Metabolic Resistance Training is a group run session unique from all other boot camps, incorporating proper mobility drills, strength based exercises and proper progressions/regressions on a per client basis. Based on the active-rest circuit, clients work in a small group setting, which provides an opportunity to work alongside old and new friends in a fast paced, fun, community oriented environment.
“Our metabolic resistance training is geared towards fat loss,” Fernandes says, “a high intensity activity where we get the heart rate high. With that and strength training, clients burn more body fat than they could ever do by getting on a treadmill and running for 45 minutes. There are many options, with people choosing programs where they train two, three or four days a week depending on their goals. The programs are usually 4-6 weeks, after which time they get a new program.
“We do frequent check-ins,” he adds, “testing body fat and fixing corrective issues and measuring strength gains. Some people come to us because they want to lose weight, or maybe they just want to bulk up. Others may be former athletes who just want to increase their dead lift or get back in the shape of the athlete they once were. When clients get close to achieving a primary goal, we help them set another one, maybe even compete in a 5K or other challenging event. We are big on professional development so our trainers are always going to different seminars working hands on with top strength and conditioning coaches throughout the country. We’re constantly on that because believe it or not, the strength and conditioning field is so young that there are constantly new studies coming out where we learn something new. It’s exciting to us that we can never be satisfied with what we know and there is always room to grow personally and professionally, just as our clients do.”
Fernandes says that the real payoff for him and his staff is when clients come to them after they complete a part of their program and say things like, “The day I came in and got my assessment is the day my life changed.” Or when their younger athletes earn a scholarship or can compete in a championship, have more velocity on their fastball and reach new levels in whatever sport they play. He adds that he didn’t start Infinite Fitness just for the sake of being a business owner, but because he thought if he had his own facility, he could help more people.
“In just over two years,” Fernandes says, “we have had the privilege of changing the lives of several hundred people, from athletes who are now playing at elite levels to people who came in because they couldn’t enjoy life anymore because of knee, back, hip and weight issues. We’re in the business of giving them hope through practical programs that feed their passion but also motivate them and hold them accountable for their progress.”