Janesville's Athlete X Factory manufactures young athletes
JANESVILLE—Athletes are always looking for that extra edge.
The bigger, faster and stronger one can get, the better.
Brad Fitzke is helping area athletes find that edge.
As owner of the Athlete X Factory in Janesville, Fitzke has developed a training system that caters to the young athlete. More than 100 area kids starting as early as age 6 are participating in Fitzke's weekly training sessions that are focused on increasing speed, strength, flexibility and power while keeping the athlete safe and injury-free.
Fitzke has a degree in exercise science from Wayne State College but doesn't believe there's a science to exercising.
“I definitely see a pulling back of phy. ed. in schools now, and that has a big effect on how much exercise kids are getting,” Fitzke said. “What I'm offering is a chance to learn how to lift correctly, eat correctly, run faster and jump higher by pulling back layers to see how far they will push themselves.”
Fitzke said his program is not for everybody; the trash can is often used for more than just trash. Feeling uncomfortable and pushing oneself to the limit is part of Fitzke's philosophy toward getting the most out of each and every session. He never charges for the first session because he wants each participant and the participants' parents to know what they're getting into.
Sessions are broken down into age groups. The 6-to-10 year-olds are what Fitzke calls the “playful” group, where fun, participation and learning the basic elements of exercising are established. The 11- and 12-year-olds are old enough, Fitzke believes, to be serious about all aspects of the training sessions, while anyone 13 and older gets the full treatment. The younger kids meet twice a week, while the older kids can train as many as four times a week under Fitzke's supervision.
“It's definitely a team environment,” Fitzke said of his 1,000-square-foot training facility. “I've got Craig kids pushing Parker kids to be the best they can be when they're here. They're not enemies or rivals, just workout buddies. It's pretty cool to see.
“Sports builds character, and that's what I want going on in my building with these athletes.”
Fitzke said the use of steroids of any type is taboo in his program. He lectures every athlete about the dangers involved in using and said taking the natural approach is the safest and most effective route. Fitzke's ultimate goal is to see athletes that come through his program earn athletic scholarships at the collegiate level.
“If the athletes want to cheat using my program, the one way they can do it is by eating correctly,” Fitzke said. “So many young kids aren't eating properly and getting the proper nutrition that if we can teach them the right way to go about eating, they're ahead of the curve. There's too much at risk with steroids. There's no place for them in what I'm trying to do.”
Fitzke will branch out this summer. He will serve as Craig High's speed and strength coach for the longtime summer JABS program.
“I just enjoy working with these kids, setting individual goals and watching them achieve them. I think not only the athletes, but the parents, too, are amazed at the results they're getting from not only the training sessions, but during competition, no matter what the sport is.”