March 28, 2024

If all continues to go well, in a handful of months Drew Kleinsasser will take the football field in a Harrisburg High School uniform.

The numbers are pointing in his favor for the 13-year-old eighth grader and aspiring defensive end.

In the past four months, he has gone from bench-pressing 160 pounds to 205 pounds, from 275-pound back squats to 345 pounds. His muscle gain has taken him from 160 pounds to 171 pounds, and his speed has increased from 16.4 mph to 18.2 mph.

“I see him four times a week,” said Rudy Sinflorant, who trains Kleinsasser at GreatLIFE Performance Center. “We work on speed, agility, strength, explosiveness, stability, just everything related to athletic performance.”

At its core, though, the relationship that has been built between student and trainer goes far beyond anything that happens in the weight room, on the turf or even in a future football game.

“I could get emotional even thinking about what he’s done for Drew,” said Kleinsasser’s mother, Jill.

“He’s taught Drew mental toughness and just to believe in himself, which is huge at the age of 13. He teaches Drew not only to train and do proper form, but nutrition and how he can work on pieces of his game outside of the gym.”

For Sinflorant, the journey to GreatLIFE has brought the Florida native back to the place where he honed his own career on the football field. A two-year captain who played running back at Augustana University, he’d gone home after college with an eye toward playing professional while putting his exercise science degree to work as a trainer at a local gym.

“That’s where I got experience with one-on-one training and how to manage the business side of it,” he said. “I knew there was a market for sports performance training, and where Florida is a more established market, it was a no-brainer for me to move back.”

He joined GreatLIFE in the summer of 2022, and “it’s been a great thing,” he said. “I’m making a lot of new relationships and meeting a lot of people and making an impact I never thought I would. It’s rewarding to be seeing the results that training and relationships can have on others’ lives. I don’t dread going to work. I love my craft and being able to challenge myself every day.”

The welcoming nature of GreatLIFE is built around the common goals of enriching members’ lives, he added.

“Everyone feels that positive energy when you walk in the building,” Sinflorant said. “It’s the kind of place you want to be part of.”

In addition to training, he coaches. The offensive coordinator for Ben Reifel Middle School eighth graders took his experience and proposed a sports performance camp in the off-season to GreatLIFE. Kleinsasser became one of his first enrollees, and they’ve been working together one-on-one ever since.

“He’s making a lot of change, including mentally,” Sinflorant said. “I pride myself on being able to build these kids up mentally and teach them hard work and manners, and it’s just cool to play such an impactful role in their lives. I didn’t know I could get this type of satisfaction from being able to help do that for others.”

Even outside the gym, Kleinsasser now is thinking about the gym, his mother said.

“I cannot get my son out of the gym,” she said. “He goes every day and even thinks about his protein intake, which is huge for a 13-year-old. I can’t even imagine training someone this age, but he made Drew care. He made him feel like this is all worth it, and Rudy always tells Drew we’re not training for high school. We’re training for what’s beyond it.”

She uniquely understands the role – and how impactful Sinflorant has been. A trainer herself for years, Jill Kleinsasser sees the kind of transformation that she used to help others now at work in her son.

“Discipline is something you can’t always teach, and I don’t know if parents are the best to teach it,” she said. “We can tell him to go to practice, but when someone else they respect tells them and they respond, it’s really cool to see. You can tell Rudy pours his soul into Drew, and I have no doubt he does that with everyone he trains, and that’s unique for a trainer. And I’ve been around them a long time.”

More broadly, though, the change in her son goes far beyond anything he achieves in the gym.

“Rudy has gotten him out of a shell. He made him believe in himself,” Kleinsasser said. “He makes him think about life beyond football. He always talks about faith and being good to your parents because they let you come to the gym and all aspects of life, which is really cool. An hour in the gym twice a week, and he’s changed Drew.”

To connect with a trainer for you or your kids, stop into any GreatLIFE location.

 

Bond between young athlete, trainer goes beyond gym  

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