Men pledge allegiance to Athletic Nation
by Anthony Gentile
Published - 07/03/08 - 06:51 PM | 1994 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In personal fitness, there are lean options for men. Athletic Nation is trying to change that.

"We really go after a market that doesn't get paid attention to," said Jeriko Retana, owner of the Athletic Nation gym in La Jolla. "The programs out there are focused on women. So we're focused on men."

The men-only personal training gym has opened a new location in La Jolla. It is one of nine across the nation, and the first in the San Diego area.

The idea behind the gym is simple: two one-hour, high-intensity workouts with a personal trainer per week to help get the average man back in shape.

"We want to get the results. There's no other way. We're back to basics so there's no fancy machines in here. That's the point "“ no fancy machines, no bouncy balls, we're not going to dance to the oldies," Retana said. "It's just hard work, basic fitness and good old-fashioned intensity."

And another thing. No women.

"We wanted to re-create that old college locker room, or high school locker room "“ whatever you can think back to," Retana said. "You remember those days "“ guys being guys."

"We love women, but it would change the energy in here," Retana said.

Eight years ago, Athletic Nation founder Dennis Mulgannon, 46, used fitness to turn his life around. Mulgannon wrote a book about his exercise program, "Reality Fitness in 90 Days"¦For Men." The book became Athletic Nation, and the first gym opened in San Jose, Calif. in 2006.

Although their target is middle-aged men, Retana said Athletic Nation's workouts are for any guy.

"We've got athletes in here, lawyers, doctors," Retana said. "But we also have a high school program and a golf program."

In addition to the workouts, Retana said trainers at Athletic Nation will look at a client's nutrition.

"We sit down with them, we look at their diet. So we consult them on their diet. We do have our own protein powder. The whole thing is really basic," Retana said. "We're not going to get fancy and have a whole line of supplements, just protein, one of your essential supplements that you should be taking if you are working out."

Former San Diego Charger fullback and 16-year NFL veteran Lorenzo Neal put the Athletic Nation workout to the test on June 18. Neal and two of his friends went through the full one-hour leg workout.

"It was great. It made training camp look easy," said Neal, sweating profusely. "It's a great workout."

Neal, a four-time Pro Bowler and lead blocker for LaDainian Tomlinson for the last five seasons, is currently a free agent. Of the six teams he played for during his career, Neal made no secret about his favorite location.

"I'm going to be a Charger for life, and when I finish writing my chapter of my book, when it's all said and done I want to retire a Charger," Neal said.

Whether in San Diego or not, Neal plans to churn out another 1,000-yard rusher if he steps on the field in 2008.

"If I'm on the field, it's got to happen. And that's my staple "“ that's what I take pride in," Neal said. "Lord willing, I stay healthy and barring injury, there will be a 1,000-yard rusher behind Lorenzo Neal again, without a doubt."

In the meantime, Neal is just working out like one of the guys "“ at the men's only gym.

Athletic Nation is located at 702 Pearl St., No F. Sessions start at $70. It is open Mondays through Fridays 3 to 8 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and by appointment.

For more information, contact owner Jeriko Retana at or call (858) 454-4067. 
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