BY NATALIE WINTERS
A goal-oriented mom and pop’s gym is open to the Stockton area with an emphasis on training athletes and a door that’s open to everyone.
The Total Athlete Gym, across from Lincoln Center, exists to serve athletes of all ages in the greater San Joaquin area and owner Hershel Sandler believes in the importance of personal goals.
“We opened this gym as a ministry to our community,” he said. “A place where athletes can come and train and be surrounded by people that want to build them up and make them the best they can be.”
The gym is equipped with free weights, cable crossovers, ellipticals and treadmills — all the necessities to cater to athletes. Their bread and butter, however, lies on the 1,600 square foot wrestling mat.
“Our greatest focal point is wrestling,” said Hershel. “We wanted to create something in the community that would foster and continue the growth of the sport.”
Sandler opened the gym with his wife, Oksnan Sandler and his brother, Michael Sandler, head wrestling coach at San Joaquin Delta College.
“My brother and I wrestled in high school and college,” said Hershel Sandler. “Growing up with a wrestling background inspired us to open this gym to provide opportunities for other athletes and to be part of their success to reach their goals.”
The Total Athlete Gym offers five core elements in their program: power (strength training), endurance (cardio), technique and agility, nutrition and mental toughness — accompanied by a strong motto, “We build champions.”
“A person’s physical well being is like a puzzle,” said Hershel Sandler. “Our training is very much faith based, and our athletes grow in all areas.”
The classes range from the Little Brawlers ages 7-10, Future Champions ages 11-14 and the Elite Training Program that’s offered to athletes 15 years and older.
Hershel explains that the athlete focus does not distract from the fact that it is a full-service gym that is open to the public. He ensures that whether they are an ex-athlete or someone who is just looking to get in shape, they’ll be trained with the same mindset and core elements.
“This is not a mega gym,” said Hershel Sandler. “It’s more of an Average Joe’s where everyone knows your name.”
Each member is given the opportunity to achieve his or her personal goals and adult classes and total conditioning is offered, as well.
Hershel has great pride in his trainers at the gym and said that often times they’ll have a handful of the college wrestlers come in and help train, including Nathan Engle who was in the 2008 Olympic trials.
Athletic excellence and overall health are valued at Total Athlete Gym and the athlete’s nutrition and diet is assessed, as well.
“It’s important for us to help people understand to fuel their bodies in order to achieve what it is they want to do,” said Hershel Sandler. “We approach nutrition individually based on the sport and the athlete’s goal.”
He provides the outlook and made clear that diet isn’t what you don’t eat, it’s what you do it.
“Starvation is not a diet,” said Hershel Sandler. “Everyone has a goal, whether it’s to lose weight, gain power, lean muscle mass or whatever, that we can help.”
The gym opened in February 2015, and success from athletes in the area has pushed the Sandlers to continue the program that the Total Athlete Gym encompasses.
“How great is it to be able to be involved in an athlete’s success?” said Hershel Sandlers. “Watching these kids go off to college or win a state championship… it’s incredible. That’s what I enjoy most.”