MIAMI - Jim Meder and Irik Johnson got into the athlete training business for days like Wednesday.
Sure it's great when NFL stars Adrian Peterson, Trent Williams or Elvis Dumervil stop by their Miami facility for a quick workout.
Yeah, it's nice to share a basketball court with the Miami City Ballers, a nationally competitive AAU program featuring the children of LeBron James and Juwan Howard as well as 6-foot-11-inch Victor Chinut, an eighth-grader from Nigeria.
From left, Jim Meder, Fast Twitch Performance Training director of operations; Denver Kirkland, Booker T. Washington High School tackle who committed to the University of Arkansas on Wednesday; Matthew Thomas, Booker T.?Washington High School outside linebacker who committed to Florida State University on Wednesday; and Ivan Lora, Fast Twitch trainer, are pictured following a recent workout in Miami.
Irik Johnson, Fast Twitch Performance Training director of performance, right, works with Victor Chinut, a 6-foot-11-inch eighth-grader on the Miami City Ballers AAU basketball team.
New England Patriots cornerback Will Allen and free agent guard Vernon Carey are even beginning comeback attempts into the NFL with workouts at Fast Twitch.
But true satisfaction for the Mayville pair comes from helping young high school and college athletes make it big from their Fast Twitch Performance Training facilities.
On college football's national signing day, more than 20 Fast Twitch athletes signed national letters of intent for Division I college football programs.
Booker T. Washington High School's Matthew Thomas, the No. 1 outside linebacker and No. 6 player overall, according to ESPN.com, signed with Florida State University. Thomas' high school teammate, Denver Kirkland, the 12th-ranked offensive tackle and 144th best player in the country, signed with Arkansas. Both are Fast Twitch clients.
Other Fast Twitch clients who signed Division I letters this signing period include: No. 10 cornerback Artie Burns with the University of Miami; No. 109 running back Darius Tice with the University of South Florida; No. 55 running back Daryl Chestnut with Indiana; No. 52 safety De'Andre Coley with Arkansas; No. 69 outside linebacker Issac McDonald with West Virginia; No. 51 athlete Charles Williams with Louisville; No. 137 outside linebacker Marqez Hodge with Syracuse; No. 133 guard Gerald Wright with Marshall; No. 79 safety Simeon Thomas with Louisiana-Lafayette; and No. 120 running back Bo Ellis with Harvard. No. 74 running back Lorenzo Woodley is a Fast Twitch client who has not yet chosen a school.
Meder, a 2000 Chautauqua Lake graduate, and Johnson, a 1999 CLCS grad, have been successfully growing their business for more than two years with hopes of positively affecting the careers of young athletes.
"Working with pro athletes is great, but being able to be a part of the development process for these young athletes is much more rewarding," said Johnson. "You are able to influence them not just on the field but who they become. Also, many of these athletes will be professional in the future."
In addition to the 15,000-square-foot facility Fast Twitch opened in November, the company has a presence at the Goldfine-Smatt Tennis Academy, which is run by Andy Roddick's former coach, and has an agreement with Miami Northwestern High School's football program, which has won two national championships, produced more NFL athletes than any other high school in the past 10 years and supplied Fast Twitch with several of the athletes who signed Wednesday.
Fast Twitch has created partnerships with the likes of Barry University, which boasts national-championship worthy Division 2 golf and tennis teams, a Miami Beach Jewish community center, and several local high school coaches, some of whom lead nationally recognized athletic programs. Fast Twitch also recently hired the director of the graduate program for nutrition at the University of Miami and a sports psychologist from IMG Academy to be Fast Twitch's mental conditioning specialist.
But at the end of the day, what Meder and Johnson love to do best is train their athletes.
"Fast Twitch started out with the vision of a full-scale athlete training facility and now is the largest comprehensive facility in Miami," said Meder. "With an innovative methodology and a great staff, I am excited about the future."
What makes Fast Twitch different is the unique style the company uses with its clients. Instead of lifting huge piles of weights to build muscle or running on a treadmill for hours at a time, Fast Twitch clients grow through a variety of workout techniques. This also distances Fast Twitch from other gyms in the Miami area, which Meder and Johnson don't even consider competition because their philosophies are that different.
Saturday is considered a day off for most of the working class across the United States, but not the Fast Twitch crew. Meder and Johnson take a couple more employees onto the sidelines of Miami Northwestern's games during football season to remind their athletes of Fast Twitch's principles in the middle of their contests in order to get a leg up on their competition. And, keep in mind, Miami high school football isn't a Saturday afternoon Class DD game in front of a couple dozen parents and classmates. Instead,10,000-plus fans show up to Alfonso Field at Florida International Stadium, a Division I college program in the Sun Belt Conference.
Fast Twitch is also looking to open a site south of Miami to extend its reach to even more high schools in the region. Whereas the current site is more centrally located for many of the Miami city schools, a new site would cater to a whole new group of athletes.
Meder and Johnson have even discussed working with high school teams over the summer in Western New York if they are able to vacation back home next summer.
If Wednesday's signing-day results are any indication, local high schoolers will be jumping at the chance to work with the Fast Twitch team.
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Follow Fast Twitch Performance Training on Facebook at facebook.com/FastTwitch or on Twitter at twitter.com/fasttwitchpt.