By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
For the last 20 years, Nick Thomas, owner of Prime Performance Training, has been involved in the personal training industry, even while he was working on his degree in electro-mechanical engineering from Chattanooga State University. Although he graduated with honors, once he was on the field, he found that he was not walking in his true calling and passion, which is fitness and nutrition. He had been training athletes at school and made his career switch early on, and what a career it has been!
In the world of karate, Nick is undefeated. He officially competed in 48 matches, and lost none of them. He won all of his ISKA (International Sport Karate Association) competitions, the US Open, the Battle of Atlanta, the North American Championship, and the Alabama State Championship. One evening, after a memorable dinner with his father who pastored a Baptist church for many years, Nick decided to walk away from competing while he was still at the top of his game. He began to craft a plan for going full time in personal fitness and sports nutrition, and for the past five years, that has been his vocation and passion.
Nick is a Master Certified Personal Trainer as well as a Certified Sports Nutritionist, and trains everyone from elite athletes to Parkinson’s sufferers. Nick started working with the Athens High School sports teams in March of 2017 by giving sports nutrition training as well as performance conditioning, both one-on-one and with teams. All of it gives him enormous satisfaction, but what causes him to get emotional is showing the videos of the elderly men who could hardly get out of a chair, and now can lift weights and walk.
The first jaw-dropping success story was a man in his ‘80s who had been a sleep doctor. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had gone to physical therapy for five years with virtually no improvement. The doc and Nick first met at church, and Nick agreed to train him. In the video of their first session, Nick had to stand behind him to protect him from falling over, and doing even a partial squat with one leg was incredibly arduous. As is often the case, the doctor had been given a grim diagnosis by “experts” down in Birmingham, and both the machines and the doctors were locked-in to the conclusion that because he had Parkinson’s, it was going to be downhill from there. One day, when the sleep doc was visiting his neurologist, he patiently waited as the doctor delivered more bad news, and then asked if he could show him something. The neurologist said, “Sure,” and Nick sent the video, which they watched together in the office. “That’s impossible,” the neurologist said, and eventually came around to a position of “seeing is believing.”
Nick has several core beliefs that help his clients to grab a hold of hope when they are sweating and know they are going to be a bit sore, and one of his favorites is: “If you can be resilient in the face of adversity, that’s when you become successful. It’s that space in the middle of the workout, when you think you can’t go on, where the progress is made,” he said.
Another elderly man, a well-known local Athenian was so weak that he could not get out of a chair. He couldn’t leave the house, so Nick came to him for sessions and upon entering, confidently announced, “We’re going to make you better.” Now the man can walk to the mailbox and has become a dear personal friend.
Nick told me, “I enjoy helping people, and I have a passion for helping improve people’s quality of life through fitness and nutrition.” He also has the rare ability to do the full spectrum of training, from oldsters to kids, from women who want to lose a few pounds to elite athletes who are training for competitions. He is structured and disciplined, and expects commitment from his clients. “I am not cheap,” he says, and I finished his sentence for him by saying, “You get what you pay for.” He smiled and nodded.
Nick is putting the finishing touches on a new studio which is located at 105 Market Street in Athens, due north of the Limestone County Courthouse Annex parking lot, and already has 18 clients. He has kettle bells, does a combination of functional fitness (body weight) workouts and weights. He has floor work for flexibility and endurance, circuit training, and Nick tailor-makes each person’s workout according to their ability and goals. He will design an eating plan, and for the record, does not believe in diets but rather lifestyle changes. Food must be natural and whole, and Nick recommends only a few supplements.
If you are serious about improving your total health and level of fitness, no matter what shape you are in (or not), then allow Nick Thomas of Prime Performance Training to help you get to your goals, great or small.
Prime Performance Training
105 Market Street
Athens, Al 356ll
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner