"We Build Athletes."
That's the slogan Combine Training, a new fitness facility in town, follows. With veteran Ironman competitor Craig Vitale running the operation, Combine Training is indeed equipped to build athletes.
Vitale, a Greenwich resident who qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii with a strong showing at the Ironman U.S. Championships in New York two weeks ago, opened Combine Training last month. Located on 469 West Putnam Avenue, the facility offers free weights, nautilus machines, an artificial turf field a cold plunge and sports dietician.
A 1990 Greenwich High graduate who played football for the Cardinals and the University of Tennessee, Vitale previously owned C4 Training in town with his brother Todd for six years.
"I wanted to open up a bigger place," Vitale said. "It took me almost two years to find this place. This is what I've always wanted, it's what I envisioned."
Greenwich High has athletes from its football and boys and girls lacrosse teams workout at Combine Training, while New Canaan High School is slated to send its swimming, skiing, hockey and lacrosse squads to the new facililty.
"We get a lot of sports teams, individual athletes and triathletes as well as the average person trying to get into better shape," Vitale said. "We set a goal and a plan for everyone."
Vitale explained what he believes makes Combine Training different from some other gyms.
"We train everyone like they are an athlete," he said. "Most places you work out, work up a sweat and leave. Here we assess you, set goals for you and hold you accountable for those goals. Then we reassess you. If it's about losing 10 pounds, we analyze how we are going to get you to lose those 10 pounds."
Vitale, along with his training staff, wear T-shirts with the word "coach" on it, instead of "personal trainer."
"Our guys are coaches, mentors," Vitale said. "We motivate athletes to be ready for game day, race day. The people who train with us know we are athletes and see us doing the work alongside them."
Fitness is a way of life for Vitale, who has competed in Ironman competitions for seven years.
"Training for an Ironman -- it's a bit obsessive," said Vitale, who lives in Greenwich with his wife Christina and sons CJ and Christian. "It's kind of like going through a midlife crisis without buying a Ferrari or gambling."