Altus Training Center in Frisco pairs self-defense with mind-body coaching
Altus Training Center
Courses at a glance: 10-week body transformation (includes nutritional and motivational coaching), karate, Krav Maga, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, self-defense training, TRX suspension training, general fitness and conditioning, sports and performance nutrition
Memberships: Begin at $89 monthly for three classes per week, with varying rates for classes
Where: 842 N. Summit Blvd., unit 35 in Frisco (next to Sally Beauty Supply)
To browse a complete listing of Altus classes and memberships, see www.altustrainingcenter.com.
For Ian and Jamey Andrews, owners of Altus Training Center in Frisco, couple’s therapy is a bit more hands-on than a couch session.
Picture this: In the corner of the Andrews’ year-old gym — a small yet clean-cut space lined with heavy bags, free weights and Japanese rice-paper walls — there’s a black, thickly padded contraption dubbed a Fist Suit. It looks like the sort of intimidating body gear that police officers don to train K9 units, complete with cushioned arms, legs, torso and a helmet. This thing is meant to take a beating.
And a beating it will take. When Ian slips into the suit, his wife and frequent training partner begins warming up with gentle kicks and jabs in front of a floor-to-ceiling mirror.
“This is way better than couple’s therapy, trust me,” Jamey says with a laugh as her husband tightens the last strap on the suit.
“OK, are we ready?” Ian asks her in a slight British accent. Jamey practices a final kickboxing combo, gives a nod with a wide grin, and the two launch into a personal brand of athletic therapy. She kicks, he blocks, they share a laugh, and then it’s on to the next combo.
“If you want, put the gloves on so you can hit me in the face,” Ian says, and Jamey obliges. The jabs aren’t hard — the two are posing for photos, after all — but it’s easy to tell they’ve been training together almost daily for more than five years. Their shared form and body position are impeccable, and as a former British police officer, Ian wears the Fist Suit like a three-piece tuxedo.
At Altus, the Andrews’ fitness philosophy goes beyond couple’s therapy via a padded suit. The gym offers an eclectic range of courses built around self-defense disciplines like karate, Krav Maga and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, plus general fitness and athletic training. The husband-and-wife duo then sweetens the pot with in-house wellness programs: Ian is a certified nutritionist, Jamey is a TRX conditioning expert and local coaches handle the rest, including life coaching sessions with Melanie Ash of Integrative Beauty in Breckenridge.
The gym’s far-reaching roster is meant to give clients every tool they might need for mind-body transformation. A complete toolkit can mean the difference between fleeting outer beauty and long-term inner beauty, Jamey says, and in a fast-paced fitness world, it’s often difficult to separate the two.
“We’ve developed into a one-stop shop for overall health and wellness,” Jamey says after gently pummeling her husband. “That’s everything from self-defense and personal safety to nutrition and mindset coaching and lifestyle coaching. I really think that’s the way the industry is heading.”
THE ALTUS APPROACH
Altus Training Center is an extension of Ian’s first training venture, Zen Martial Arts and Fitness Center in Calgary. He moved across the pond after 28 years with the British police, where he fostered a love for just about every self-defense discipline. From there, he moved into the private security realm, holding courses for personal bodyguards and former law enforcement personnel.
Yet when Ian and Jamey met at the Calgary Stampede, a massive 10-day rodeo, Jamey, a New Jersey native, convinced her soon-to-be husband to try Summit County.
“Like any good story, there’s a woman behind it,” Ian says. The couple moved to Summit in late 2013 and opened the gym soon after. Both knew that High Country residents are an active lot, but Jamey was a bit nervous about the Altus concept: Would ski bums give up the great outdoors for an indoor gym?
“People here are definitely health-oriented, and before we opened we weren’t sure if this would take off because people seem so active,” Jamey says and looks to her husband.
“But once you’re in our doors, we can only train you for an hour,” Ian adds. “It’s what you do the rest of the 23 hours a day that makes a difference.”
Of course, training is different than play. The gym’s most popular course is the 10-week Body Transformation Program. It blends the Andrews’ myriad disciplines in a single, high-demand course. Clients have dozens of goals at the start, from losing weight to toning muscles to simply eating better, but the philosophy is on par with everything at Altus: After 10 weeks, Ian and Jamey hope clients enjoy a new, healthier relationship with fitness.
“We basically train them like fighters, so to speak,” Ian says. “It makes you lean and long and strong and fit. This isn’t a body-building program — it’s a hybrid style of training.”
And it’s not for the faint of heart. Jamey admits that common knowledge says to take fitness slowly, particularly if the end goal is sweeping lifestyle changes. But she and Ian believe the crash-course approach can be motivational on its own.
‘BREAK THE RULES’
“We do break the rules in that we throw a lot of stuff at people at one time,” Ian says. “But in doing that, we set them up to reach their goals, or really just carry these tactics through for the rest of their life. You honestly won’t get to the exact place you want to be after 10 weeks.”
It helps that classes are small. Each session is capped at about 15 participants, with five classes per week for $549. The current 10-week session began on Monday, and Jamey says clients often return to be part of a workout community.
“In so many classes, you’re anonymous,” Jamey says. “There’s an instructor up front and you’re just in the back. Here, you’re involved. You don’t just follow along — you’ll have somebody right next to you at the bag, helping you get to that next level, that next goal.”
And, if you’re willing, they’ll even help you into the Fist Suit. What happens from there is up to you.
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