“This place is really [a gym] for everybody.” It’s with this idea that Karl Pfistner, owner and Head Strength Coach at Division One Prep, on the border of White Plains and Armonk, runs his lively fitness facility. No matter who you are, or what level of training you’re at, Pfistner assures you, “You’re going to come in here and feel like you belong.”
A strong advocate of “effective training” over “just working out to work out,” Pfistner–a former athlete at the high school, collegiate and professional Arena Football levels–prides himself on Division One’s unique approach to training, which, in keeping with his beliefs, focuses just as much, if not more, on the mental health, body control and overall movement aspects of the workout as the actual physical workout. “You could come in here and squat 400 pounds, [but] if you can’t move on the field, that means absolutely nothing,” he explains.
Eager to instill his clients with this same way of thinking, Pfistner creates any given workout in the same way. “My focus is on getting you moving,” he says, straightforwardly. “It’s about quality over quantity or time [spent], and achieving the absolute best possible results for your body.”
To that end, while every workout covers several key focus areas–agility work, strength training, core work, and static stretching–the specifics of each session, 60 minutes in length, are tailored to each individual’s needs. “We push clients to their full maximum potential, so that they get full range of motion, and receive full maximum burn,” says Pfistner, adding that programs are further categorized into “sport-specific” exercises, so they can easily be translated onto the appropriate field/court/pool, etc.
Essentially, no matter what your age, conditions or limitations, “You’re going to have a workout that really caters to your goals and what you’re looking to accomplish.” (For the record, Division One’s staff also includes a Nutritionist and Life Coach to give clients the full “mental health” experience).
Another element Pfistner cannot emphasize enough? Structure. “That’s the biggest difference between us and other fitness facilities or high school gyms,” he explains.
“There’s a big difference between having a history teacher sitting there supervising an open gym, and an actual structured, laid-out program. Especially with colleges as competItive as they are to get into nowadays, athletes need structure. It can really set them apart.” Though his gym is indeed open to people of all ages, as a dad of four– who range in ages 5 to 15, he can’t help but hold a special place in his heart for the youth athletes. “I love working with youth,” he says, stressing the importance of instilling children with these values and ideals at an early age. “They’re hungry for knowledge; they just soak everything up.”
But, as mentioned, they’re not the only age group he sees: “I have a 45-year-old ex-college football player that wants to train before he goes to work on Wall Street.
I have two middle-aged tennis pros, who also used to play football, I have a 62-year-old retiree who’s looking to pursue a new passion and lose some weight. It really runs the gamut.”
And with so many people of different ages and abilities, and various levels of training, filtering in and out of the gym at any given time, Pfistner acknowledges it’s hard to say who will retain what they’ve learned after leaving the gym.
Still, he’s fully aware of the role he plays in the lives of his clients and strongly encourages them–and everyone else–to follow through. “The bottom line is it’s a small piece in a much larger puzzle,” he explains, in reference to his clients spending just one hour (out of 23 others) at the gym.
“My goal is to motivate my clients and instill in them a desire to stay healthy, so it’s ringing in the back of their head throughout the day… It’s my job to make you want to come back, and to give you the right training to get you excited about working out. If I can instill that idea in my clients, and have them carry that [healthy outlook] on through their life, then that’s a win for me.”
Division One Fitness Prep is located at 4 New King Street in West Harrison. For more information, please visit www.divisiononeprep.com.
Matt Smith is a writer and regular contributor to The Inside Press. For more information or inquiry, please visit www.mattsmiththeatre.com.