I made a quick 4-day trip back home to surprise mom for her birthday. We got to spend some quality time together and I was also able to catch up with some friends I’ve known my whole life which is always good for the soul.

In addition to seeing friends and family, I attempted to check out a couple fitness facilities around town. Whenever I visit another town I typically try to get in to a gym or two. Whether I know the owner/manager or not, I love to see facility layouts, see what equipment they are using, and try to get a workout in at a new space.

rockport, ma

I had a number of facilities on the agenda, however, due to the weather conditions, I wasn’t able to get to all of them.

Stop #1 Fitness Zone
This was actually one of the first gyms I ever had a membership for. It’s a bit more of a traditional space with plenty of strength machines and cardio pieces. They do have some open floor space and some stretching areas which are nice and the layout is good considering all the equipment that is in there. I’m not a big fan of “equipment jungles” but they did a pretty good job here.

fitness zone

Stop #2 Crossfit Cape Ann
A pretty traditional ‘box” with pull-up bars, rowers, air dynes, boxes, med balls, and plenty of open space. Whether you are a Crossfit enthusiast or not, you’ve got to like the layout of most of these gyms. I didn’t necessarily “understand” the WOD that was going on but the simple, easy, and open layout is something that I really enjoy seeing.

crossfit ca

 Stop #3 Cressey Performance
I first met owner Eric Cressey at a Perform Better event many years back and I’ve kept in touch ever since. He’s pretty active on social media and he puts out a great newsletter. In addition to that, he runs a cutting-edge facility in Hudson, MA. While I’ve visited his space before I hadn’t been to his new, 15, 000 square foot space that he moved into last year.

cressey performance

If I had a 15k spot I would want it to look a lot like this one. Here’s a tour. I might put an octagon in there instead of the double cages but that would be about it. It has a great “flow” to the space, includes all my favorite fitness “tools” and it’s really open which I love. I was able to catch up with Eric, Tony Gentilcore, and Tank (the head of security at Cressey Performance). These guys are truly world class educators, fitness professionals, and people. If you live in the area, and are looking for a great spot that will produce results, check them out. Just watch out for Tank.

 Tank Nasty

Stop #4 Boyle S&C – Woburn
My first stop on my last day in town was at Mike Boyle’s main location in Woburn. This is another kick-ass space. Much like Cressey’s, it has all the best equipment and a ton of space for movement drills. I met Kyle Holland there and he was nice enough to show me around before his next session. Kyle also trains a number of MMA athletes so it was great to “compare notes” so to speak. It was nice to hear that we following a similar line of thinking when it comes to programming. I’m sure we do a few things a bit differently, but big picture, our layouts seemed to jive pretty well. It’ll be a tough fight if any of Kyle’s athletes fights any of the Alliance team because I know they will be well prepared.


Boyle S&C – North Andover
I had arranged to swing by the Andover location of Boyle’s facilities as well, however, snow and poor driving conditions made me reconsider. I had planned to meet Ben Bruno there just to see the space and talk shop. Ben is another extremely knowledgable coach that definitely deserves a follow. He puts together a great “recap” of roughly 40 fitness-related articles each week that has become one of my go-to resources on cutting-edge articles and videos. He also puts up some awesome video clips of exercise variations that always impress. Check these out and you’ll become a better trainer, hands down.

Reebok Headquarters
The last spot I wanted to visit was the Reebok headquarters. I have a hometown friend that works there so I had hoped to get a tour of the facility and check out their fitness space. Again, Mother Nature had other plans. I probably could have made it to these last two spots however I haven’t driven in snow in years and I didn’t want to rush on my last day there. There are on the list for the next trip back home.

Boston Garden

Moral of the story? No idea…I guess it’s just that you should reach out and connect with fellow fitness professionals the next time you are traveling. Whether you are looking for a spot to train, or just want to talk with like-minded folks, it’s always educational and inspiring to meet with people in the industry. At least it is for me.


About Doug
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.