CLARION, Pa. (CSZ) – Clarion resident Eain Brooks is fulfilling a dream of helping young athletes get bigger, faster and stronger, by passing on a wealth of training expertise that he has cultivated over several decades, personal training field.
(This article was provided by our News Partner ClarionSportsZone.com.)
He runs his personal training business, BRX (short for Brooks) out of Forell Barbell, which is located on route 322 next to Route 66 Trail and O’Neil’s Quality Meats in Marianne.
Brooks, a 1998 Clarion Area graduate, was a standout athlete, in track, football and cross-country. He was third in the nation in the mile run at AAU Nationals in Houston, in 1996, which is even more impressive considering the track at the Clarion University was being redone and he trained by running the Toby Hill. As a senior, Eain concentrated only on track.
Eain went on to Slippery Rock University, where he majored in Spanish and French, while running track and cross-country. He was a teammate of Tom Wise, who went on to coach track at Clarion Area.
After graduating from Slippery Rock in 2002, Eain landed a teaching and coaching position at Opapka High School (an 8A school where NFL standout Warren Sapp played).
Eain mentioned, “I was coaching track and cross-country there and was running cross-country. I ran cross-country until 2008, until I was twenty-eight. That’s when I started training kids. I started running with the kids, because they’d do my practices with me.”
He quit teaching in 2005 and began working for Bally Total Fitness, where he was a personal trainer and then became the fitness director, traveled all over the state of Florida, going from gym to gym, building up his personal training programs and passing on the “training torch” to others (one of his passions).
“I trained trainers on how to be trainers. To be able to do that I had to be able to get certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT). I also became a CPR instructor through American Safety and Health Institute; so I’d travel around and do that too. I was in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, all those places.
“A lot of people that worked for me as personal trainers and as clients are personal trainers now and have their own gyms now, which is really great. It’s been a ride, but it’s been a lot of education and a lot of continuing education.”
(Pictured above: Eain with former Clarion Area baseball player Cameron LaPinto.)
After Bally was bought by LA Fitness in November of 2011, Eain opened his own gym and had his own restaurant.
“So I was busy doing those things… We leased out my gym in Florida to some professional MMA fighters. Then I was just doing my restaurant, but I was still training people at that gym, but I just wasn’t running it.” His personal training business was called SPT (short for Sports Performance Training).
Fast forward. 2019. “I moved back here. As soon as I got back here, all my friends from high school, that have kids here, were all over me to train their kids. That was during Covid too, so we just started in my garage at my home… same place I started, in my garage.”
As for the “marriage” of BRX and Forell Barbell, “It’s been good. Kelly and Rob (Fornell) opened this place, and it’s been perfect, for the town and for everybody.”
(Pictured above: Eain working with Central Clarion Wildcat football player and Clarion-Limestone PIAA State javelin medal winner Ryan Hummell.)
“I just came here as a member and I talked to her one day. She (Kelly) said, ‘Yeah, you can train people here.’ So I help here at the gym as much as I can. And I train my clients here. You do whatever is necessary, whatever is needed to be done, helping out. There’s a lot of stuff needing to be done here, cleaning up every day… She didn’t let kids under 18 in here. Whenever I came along, she was like, ‘They can come. As long as they are working with you. And you have to be here when they are here.’ Anyone under 18, they work with me. I write programs for them and they just have to be here when I’m here. So I allocate a substantial part of my day to being available for these young athletes.”
And the young athletes come from a number of area schools to workout with Eain. Some of those are Brookville, Clarion Area, Clarion-Limestone, Keystone, Grove City… “This (Forell’s) is the best gym around. Once they get here, they say, ‘This is the place I want to be.’ Especially when they have someone to help them.”
“There are several athletes I’ve trained here in Clarion who are now playing collegiately… Bryson Huwar, Breckin Rex, Calvin German, Kaitlyn Constantino, Jack Krug, and Jordan Best…just to name a few.
(Pictured above: Eain with (L-R) Kaitlyn Constantino, Ava Brooks, and Jordan Best outside the original BRX gym.)
“I do have some young ones coming up who are really showing signs of great things… Ryan Hummell, Dawson Smail, Derek Smail, Mason Burford, Hayden Hindman, Jase Ferguson, Noah Harrison and Matt Alston, Taylor Alston, and Sarah Botar. These are names to watch for in Varsity Sports this year. They have all been consistently working hard In the gym and at their practices and they are gearing up for rewarding sports seasons and futures in collegiate athletics. I also have a lot of 12-14-year-olds whose names will be on the collegiate radar very soon.”
Eain’s philosophy of training right with his clients holds as true today, as it was years ago, when he was working out kids in Florida. And it makes it easier for him to tweak workouts so they are best suited for the client’s goals and needs.
“The most impactful part, where you get the most experience is by doing… The fact that I still exercise as an athlete and still participate with the kids, enables you to make corrections better, enables you to feel what the kids are doing, so you know exactly what to do… It’s pretty simple for me now.
“I get challenges, Like Jordy Best (recent Clarion Area graduate, who will be playing softball at Gannon University) because she is so gifted as an athlete… And there’s plenty of others besides Jordy, that are really great. That’s how I got to this point.”
Jordan also helps to take some of the load off Eain’s shoulders by helping him train other kids with their workouts.
Two others of note, Clarion Area’s Calvin Germany and Brookville’s Jack Krug, who have trained under Eain for some time and play college football at Juniata and IUP respectively, also have been helping train the kids. “When kids come back, they help out, because they know how important it is. They see now, when they get to college, they know a whole lot more than the other kids and have experience and have been coached properly.”
(Pictured above: Jack Krug, Eain Brooks, Aiden Brooks, and Calvin German.)
About the BRX program, Eain said, “The workouts are formulated for them, to their sport, to their goals… Like cross country kids aren’t doing one rep maxes on bench press. Cross-country kids’ workouts are geared towards endurance training, high intensity. All the athletes have that component. But for some of the sports that require more strength training, we focus on those things. Like for football, we do deadlift, bench and squat. And we’re trying to boost those up, because those are the numbers that colleges look at.”
Odd lifts? “I do everything imaginable. I have thirty years of stuff in my head. I have band training, tires. There’s an unlimited amount of equipment here (and much more just arrived). We have some things that some people have probably never seen.
“And I have a lot of experience working with a lot of different apparatus. For instance, when I was training kids at the house, we didn’t have a sled to push, so I just had somebody sit on the riding mower and we put it in neutral and the kids had to push the riding mower.”
Of the BRX ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All’ philosophy, Eain said, “(A lot of times) the kids don’t get the coaching like they do for their sport. They don’t get the coaching for the strength training or for the speed training. They just tell them to run or go lift.
“I’m here and I coach them through the movements. We work on the specific details of it. Even things like it could just be positioning your knee a different way. You’re figuring out why your body won’t move a certain way. We got to do foam rolling, stretching for that part of your body. Then we look at weaknesses people may have. Maybe their posterior is weak and affects your deadlift. So we work on strengthening that with a lot of hamstring and glute work.
“They learn to identify those things and they learn the impact of working on those, rather than just going and doing one rep maxes on everything.
“These kids are learning the importance of doing accessory movements as well as the primary movement that they do. It’s really been good for them.”
The program isn’t just about strength.
“I’ll help them all with every component. I’ll take kids to the track to work on speed training. I say, ‘You’ll never have to beg Eain Brooks to go to the track. I promise you that.’ They don’t particularly like it, but they know they need to do it. When I go over there with them, I run with them. They don’t like to lose to the old guy.
“Plyometrics. That’s a major component. I wish more kids would do it. There is a big difference between the kids that just do plyometrics and just do strength training. I do plyometrics every Saturday with the kids. But during the week, there is a component of their workout of warmup that has plyos in it.
“You can combine strength and plyometric training too, where you’re loading the central nervous system with weight for a couple of reps and then do a plyometric exercise after it. Then your central nervous system is ready to be more explosive and you’ll be able to jump higher, move quicker, run faster. When all those muscle fibers are activated, you’ll be able to use all the muscle fibers instead of some of them.”
One of the key components of Eain’s work is injury prevention and recovery from injury. He shared an example. “Like Bryson Huwar (from Clarion-Limestone) When he came to me, he had torn both patella tendons. He wanted to play basketball, and he wanted to be able to go and play baseball, obviously. I had him all last summer. I remember the first day we got him back, squatting. He did 135. Then he squatted 225 and… now he has a baseball scholarship to Saint Bonaventure.”
Eain and a number of skilled professionals have developed a network of what I would best describe as cross referrals to help with injury prevention and injury recovery. “College kids all summer, 12-year-olds, adults, a lot of people with injuries. I refer a lot of people to Dr. Don Campbell, the Orthopedic Surgeon. And then, he refers people to me, because he knows what I do. He knows the programs that I’ve been involved in, like say, with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. There’s a huge component of that that deals with corrective exercise, called the Corrective Sports Program. It’s a whole love of identifying muscular weaknesses, muscular imbalances. That’s a whole lot of what I do.
“I also send people to Seth Babington (Clarion Rehab Services). It works out because, if you can get all these people, the doctor working with the physical therapist. Then the physical therapist transfers those people back to the trainer. With all those people on the same page, then everything is smooth.” Another resource is one of Eain’s own clients. “I also work with a doctor, Beth Crawford. She’s a chiropractor. She had surgery on both hips, replacement. We tried to get her back on the bike, we tried to get her to squat and those things. Now my players go see her all the time, because a lot of them have problems in their side joints.
“We have a good working relationship too, for referrals, because she knows I understand what she says. I understand what a doctor is talking about, like they talk to other doctors, because I know anatomy and I know how the body moves. I wasn’t like that when I first started. But you start learning, you start investing your time and you want to get better at it. That’s what you do.
“She’s been amazing as a client and she has been amazing as a professional referral resource.”
And don’t forget nutrition.
“I encourage them (his clients, which range from junior high and high school students, adults, special needs individuals and so on) to seek out a nutritionist. I encourage them to do research on their own in regard to that. I give them some supplement advice. I don’t go into detail with them. But I want to make sure that they are eating enough, make sure that they are supplying their body with proper nutrition before they come to work out and after they work out and throughout the day.
“But in my experience, if I write out a nutrition program for them and they don’t follow it, it becomes a barrier between us. If they want an actual nutrition guide, that they (need to) see a nutritionist, like Kim Schwabenbauer. (Keystone graduate, Former Assistant Professor of Nutrition at CUP, CEO & Founder at Fuel Your Passion – Sports Nutrition Counseling and Coaching, Nutritionist for the Steelers). She comes here. She used to be a professional Triathlete after college.
Eain also networks sports specific training. “(I) sent some of my kids to Tom Wise at Grove City. I send my Keystone kids. Work out with Tom” They work out a couple of days a week and a couple of days with Eain.
(Pictured above: Eain with son Aiden and daughter Ava.)
As you can probably tell by now, Eain has a major desire to see some of his young trainees pursue personal training, or a similar field as a career.
He shared, “One kid I trained in Miami, it was his first year out of high school. He didn’t get recruited by anybody. Then I trained him. He started working for me. And then he got a scholarship to Arkansas to play football. Now he has his own gym in Texas. He has a ton of clients.
“One girl I trained in Orlando, was an Irish Dancer. I trained her and her sisters. She ended up getting a degree in Exercise Science. Then she got her Masters and then her PHD. Then she wrote a book for women on how to exercise and lose weight. It’s published, and she sells it on line too.
“It’s great to see those things, because back then they were eighteen and I was twenty-five. They were kids. Now I’m forty-two and they are like in their thirties.“
Does he see any of his current proteges showing interest in taking up majors that would lead toward being a personal trainer or related field? “My daughter Ava is. I’ve been training my daughter for Olympic Lifting. She won the Regionals in Florida and she was fifteenth in the state for the Clean and Jerk and Bench Press. So I know that both my daughter and Jordan Best both want to do something along the lines of working with athletes in one way or another.”
Kids showing interest in taking up majors that would lead toward being a personal trainer: “My daughter Ava is. I’ve been training my daughter for Olympic Lifting. She won the Regionals in Florida and she was fifteenth in the state for the Clean and Jerk and Bench Press. So I know that both my daughter and Jordan Best both want to do something along the lines of working with athletes in one way or another.”
(Pictured above: Eain putting Jordan Best through the paces.)
Eain shared his thanks for Kelly Forell and Forell Barbell for the great results BRX is seeing, “I’d say that none of this could be possible without the tremendous investment of time, money, and care that was put into this gym by Kelly Forell. In all my time working at Bally Total Fitness, I’ve never seen a gym so we’ll put together and not Lacking a single thing.
“The accomplishments of all of the athletes I work with are tremendous. Both in the gym and outside of the gym in their respective fields of play.”
Eain summed up his absolute pleasure in his profession and working with the kids. “It’s just what I was meant to do. I don’t sit still very well. I interact with kids that age very well and they seem to like to be around me. For me, I can’t do something that’s boring, monotonous and feels like a job.
“This doesn’t feel like a job. It just feels like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. There are challenges; I do have challenges. There are long days, but at the end of it, I’ve been at a gym all day. You know what I mean.
“And I’ve been working with kids who want to get better, for the most part. And then I get to see them excel in sports. I get to see them go to college. I get to see what they become afterwards. That has happened for me and it’s been awesome.”
(Pictured above: A fine testimonial from Cal German.)
To reach Eain: firstname.lastname@example.org
To reach Forell Barbell: forellbarball.com