Champions Sports Performance opens in Lake Norman area

by Chris Hunt

When Champions Sports Performance and Training Center owner Greg O’Connor began plans for his training center, the last thing he wanted it to be known as was a traditional health club. Sure, his 10,000-square foot building, located on 18831 Statesville Road in Cornelius, has a few treadmills and plenty of dumbbells, but O’Connor will cringe if his patrons call it a gym.

O’Connor hopes to revolutionize health and fitness in the Lake Norman area, meshing what he calls functional training – based on multi-joint movements – with a franchise of Parisi Speed School, an 18-year-old operation that boasts more than 60 speed school franchises across the country. Instead of rows and rows of bench-press stations, O’Connor’s facility is packed with state-of-the-art training equipment such as speed sleds, where members sprint across the room dragging a weighted sleigh; a Vertimax machine, for vertical leap and acceleration movements; and a PurMotion functional jungle gym, which allows eight to 12 members to perform weight suspension exercises at once. His facility is more like a training ground for professional football players than a traditional health club.

But the key ingredient to the Champions Sports Performance center is its trainers. Unlike traditional gyms, Champions Sports Performance’s equipment requires experienced supervision and motivation. CSPTC members will train in groups of 10 to 12, performing cutting-edge techniques with equipment used by college and professional athletes. Members can sign up online or in person for classes such as Speed for Shape (speed training), Metabolic Circuit (fat burning) and regenerations (stretching and recovery), to name a few.

“This isn’t a place where you can just jump in and start working out,” said O’Connor. “We show you how to use this place.”

CSPTC is set to open for business soon, after its facility inspections are completed, but it already has made an impression in the Lake Norman area. Hough High football coach Bobby Collins will hold a lineman strength camp for grades 6 to 12 at the facility starting June 20, and he expects his athletes to visit often during the off-season. O’Connor said high school athletes from Mountain Island and northern Lincoln County have already made the trip to check out CSPTC.

“We will definitely get a lot of off-season training done in here,” said Collins. “We will still lift weights in our school gym, but we can focus on speed and agility in here.”

O’Connor, however, doesn’t want his facility to be pigeonholed as a training center for Division I hopefuls. He hopes to target everyday adults and children as young as 7 years old, who want to “train like professional athletes.”

“I traded bonds for more than 24 years, but I  always coached and trained youth sports on the side,” said O’Connor. “My passion has always been working with and training kids. Don’t give me the big stud college athlete, but give me the little guy or overweight kid and let’s teach him these techniques and see what happens.

“We’ll close down if we only train high school athletes.”

Memberships range from $99 per adult to $149 for children; youth programs cost more, O’Connor said, because they require more trainer supervision.
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