Carmel Catholic has entered into a strategic partnership with Health Performance Institute (HPI), the personal training and strength and conditioning branch of Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. Led by Cory Leman, HPI will have full-time, boots-on-the-ground fitness training professionals leading the Carmel program.
In addition to a brand-new weight room that would impress any college athlete, Carmel worked with Tim Green '85, owner of Mundelein-based Direct Fitness Solutions, to bring in 35 pieces of cardio equipment geared toward all students.
The cardio area includes custom-built flooring, 10 treadmills, 10 ellipticals, 8 upright bikes, assault trainers and a selection of rowing machines.
“We’ve outfitted some amazing high schools, but you can always tell the vision of the athletic director or person in charge,” explained Green, whose four siblings and two children all attended Carmel. “It’s always geared towards either athletics or physical education with heavy cardio. Carmel, on the other hand, has created a perfect balance in what school officials have set out to accomplish with their fitness center and weight room.”
Not only serving as a great recruiting tool for prospective students across all of Lake County who may consider to attend Carmel for its athletics, the school has embraced the idea of fitness for all students.
“The new facility is state of the art and without a doubt has made Carmel one of the best outfitted high schools in Illinois,” added Direct Fitness Solutions Regional Manager Justin Mitchell. “They’re providing students with an area that really sets them apart from a physical education perspective—treating everyone like an athlete, whether they are one or not, giving them a foundation for fitness for the rest of their lives.”
Separating this project from other suburban high schools is the unique relationship with Illinois Bone and Joint’s Health Performance Institute. HPI’s Lincoln Howard will serve as head strength coach, while Carmel alum Josh Walinski (’13) of the HPI staff will assist personal training. In addition, assistant girls’ softball coach Nicole LaBeck is also a member of the HPI Team, while Illinois Bone and Joint orthopedic surgeon Dr. Roger Chams will oversee the medical side of the program.
“We’re so excited,” said Leman. “The goal was never tied to bringing in professionals who have ties to Carmel, but Lincoln, Josh and Nicole all have Master’s degrees (in exercise phys) and were so well qualified. We knew it was a way to bring even more value and further solidify this relationship.”
Leman added that Carmel Catholic and his team set out to create a whole new ecosystem for the school, bringing in strength and conditioning professionals to provide expert support all the way through the process for students.
“The goal from Carmel’s standpoint was to create a place the school feels very proud of,” said Leman. “Dr. Chams had already been an integral part of the program so it’s just something that has happened organically over the past year. All the pieces just fell into place and it just feels right.”
While the fitness center is state of the art, visitors will be blown away by the new weight room, built with custom flooring and Carmel-branded machines and weight equipment.
“We wanted this built to look and feel like a collegiate weight room,” said Carmel President Brad Bonham. “If you are a high-level athlete coming out of middle school and walk into our new facility it’s going to be hard to say no. It’s that sweet.”
When the fitness center opens to students at the end of November, all recommended CDC safety guidelines for COVID-19 and social distancing will be followed.
A Blessing and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held on November 11, 2020. Thank you to Alexander and Patricia Pissios, Paul and Michele Kelly, and Illinois Bone and Joint Institute for their support of the Carmel Catholic Fitness Center.