Trainers lift up more than weights with mentorship program

Senior Julia Roshelli of Spring -Ford High School works out on a bench press assisted by Maxout Strength Studio manager Sam Monestero. Monestero trains students athletes like Roshelli but also mentors them about other life issues.
Senior Julia Roshelli of Spring -Ford High School works out on a bench press assisted by Maxout Strength Studio manager Sam Monestero. Monestero trains students athletes like Roshelli but also mentors them about other life issues. John Strickler — Digital First Media
Senior Maggie Locke of Spring-Ford High School works on upper body strength assisted by Maxout Strength Studio manager Sam Monestero. Locke has been training at Maxout since she was a freshman and is now a part of the mentorship program.
Senior Maggie Locke of Spring-Ford High School works on upper body strength assisted by Maxout Strength Studio manager Sam Monestero. Locke has been training at Maxout since she was a freshman and is now a part of the mentorship program. John Strickler — Digital First Media

ROYERSFORD >> On the outside, Maxout Strength Studio looks like any other fitness facility, but students who walk through the doors become stronger — both physically and mentally.

At the end of last year, the studio officially launched the Leadership and Mentorship Program (LAMP) which is designed to help teens and young adults strengthen their mind, body and soul. Young people who sign up for personal training at Maxout also have the option to be mentored at no additional cost.

“Our goal at Maxout is going to always be to put as many good citizens out into the world as we possibly can,” said Matt Cubbler, vice president and chief operating officer of Maxout. “We use strength training and fitness as the pathway to get there.”

Teens and young adults not only develop physical strength at Maxout, but they also learn to strengthen their mind and learn leadership skills. Although the official launch of the Leadership and Mentorship Program was in December 2014, Cubbler said he’s been mentoring young people at the studio for the last five years.

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Cubbler, who has 25 years of experience in the military and law enforcement, said he has a background in human behavior and body language. He is currently an officer with the Collegeville Borough police department.

“I’ve always had an interest in it (mentoring),” he said.

When Maxout Strength Studio got its first student athletes, Cubbler said their physical training just developed into mentoring as well. He said the athletes wanted advice on more than fitness.

“I was trying to determine whether or not there was a way to mentor kids through exercise,” Cubbler said.

For the last few years, he’s been trying to create a structured plan for the mentorship program and eventually came up with the program currently being used. It’s designed for ages 14 to 22. Cubbler said there are currently about 20 teens and young adults being mentored but over the years there have been about 70.

The mentorship program is 26 weeks long and includes several segments. Mentees learn what they are good at physically and mentally as well as how to be a leader. There is also a maintenance phase and past mentees that have continued to college, still stop by to talk to trainers, Cubbler said.

“Our goal is to maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses,” he said adding that this concept helps young people make life decisions now and in the future whether it’s about business, family or school.

President and CEO of Maxout, Jason Griggs, said it’s easy for young clients to join the mentoring program and all they have to do is ask.

“We want there to be a free flow of ideas and conversation,” he said.

Cubbler said students come in on their own time to talk about a variety of topics including politics, religion, school and sports. He also said teens from different economic and social backgrounds come together to talk about serious issues.

“The more kids you have interacting with each other, the better they are at adapting to the outside environment. There’s always going to be some level of adaptation required in life and kids need to learn how to do that as early as possible,” he said.

Julia Roshelli, a 12th grader at Spring Ford Senior High School, has been training at Maxout for four years. She started with just the strength program but then it developed into mentoring.

“We talk about how to approach situations as a leader and also how to adjust to other people,” she said. “We learn how to read people’s personalities and also how to read ourselves.”

Sam Monestero is the assistant manager at Maxout and also trains student athletes at the facility. As a trainer, Monestero is also a mentor for the Leadership and Mentorship Program. Although the official mentorship program is 26 weeks long, Monestero said she mentors students for much longer than that and gets to see them grow into young adults.

“I’m really proud of them and really honored that I get to be part of their life and watch their success,” she said. “They’ve made me want to be a better mentor, a better person and a better friend.”

Many of the mentees think of their trainers as friends or even as an extension of the family.

“We just feel so comfortable being here…Sam (Monestero) is like the older sister I never had and Matt (Cubbler) is like another father figure to me,” Roshelli said.

Several students said after being a mentee, they plan to or already are a mentor to others.

“I’m naturally a mentor on the football field, basketball court and in the classroom as well,” said Zack Mattiola, a freshman at The Haverford School.

Mattiola said having a mentor is very beneficial especially when he’s having a difficult day. He said when he’s in a bad mood; Cubbler will use humor to make him feel better.

Students said the mentoring happens not only through conversations but also through the strength exercises they do.

Maggie Locke, 12th grader at Spring-Ford Senior High School, said the strength training she does at Maxout is really hard and there are times she wants to stop.

“No one here will let you give up,” she said. “It just applies to outside life and teaches you to persevere through your problems.”

C.J. Gorey, a junior at Spring-Ford Senior High School, has been training at Maxout since he was 13. He said he remembers how the trainers push him during his workout and uses that as a motivator when doing other things in life like homework.

“When you have Sam (Monestero) or Matt (Cubbler) screaming in your ear when you’re dead tired, you know you’re just not going to stop,” he said.

Cubbler said Maxout uses a training method that opens up the window of trust between teens and their trainer. He said when mentees realize that trainers’ advice for strength exercises work then they’re more willing to trust them with other matters in life.

He said Maxout has unique physical equipment that’s different from anywhere else called the Barwis Methods Maxout Tower.

“It allows us to get kids stronger in a much more efficient way without causing damage to the joints,” Cubbler said.

Griggs said the Maxout Tower allows more weight to be applied going down and less weight to be applied going up so there are two separate weight amounts for each rep. He said this method allows students to get stronger faster and more confident physically.

“The body has the capacity to be stronger in a resistance phase than it is when lifting,” Griggs said.

He said the workouts at Maxout are difficult and students learn that they are mentally and physically capable of doing them.

“The Maxout workout is an obstacle that you have to commit to and be able to overcome it,” he said.

Cubbler said students who are mentored are “hungry to be better and learn.” He said Maxout trainers help give them direction for both fitness and life issues.

“We take that responsibility very seriously,” he said.

Students have an intense one-hour workout scheduled for every week but many of them come in at additional times just to talk with their mentors and get advice for all sorts of topics.

“I come here on my free time just because I love being around here and the mentoring is helping me through so much stuff. This is a great place to be,” Roshelli said.

Cubbler said Maxout Strength Studio launched their national franchising campaign in January and that future locations will also include the mentorship program as part of the strength training.

For more information about Maxout Strength Studio and the mentorship program visit the website www.maxoutstudio.com or call 610-948-5959.