Made Strength: a gym for all athletes

In 2020, the pandemic swept the world and everything had to be put on pause, including mental health. Many were not able to see friends, work or maintain a healthy schedule.

However, as mandates are lifted and life is returning back to normal, those who wish to get back on track for their physical and mental health should check out Made Strength: an athletic gym for everyone from student athletes to adults.

Craig Merrick, the founder and owner, built Made from the ground up. He was inspired to do so from an injury that took multiple years to recover from.

“My favorite part about being a coach is watching athletes grow to love the methods we are preaching and seeing their success firsthand.””

— -Charlize Smith

“I went through many procedures but the one thing that always worked and was most impactful, was movement/training/exercising,” said Craig Merrick. “I spent a long time researching and mentoring under professional individuals to try and help myself overcome this injury, and through this, I discovered a lot of the methods we currently do at MADE.”

From Craig’s experience with working alongside athletes at previous jobs and Made, relationships have become an important and favorite part of the job. The bond created between coaches and clients allows for gym goers to look forward to training.

I think relationships are the most important thing in life, in business, and in sports…We enjoy being a part of athletes’ lives, asking them how their day was, or maybe giving them a piece of advice, or listening.””

— Craig said

To start, Craig evaluates the person as they go through various gym exercises. Then, the next time the person goes in, he/she states the amount of days a week he/she will be attending Made and receive personal schedules.

It’s easy for anyone to “get in their head” while working out; however, there are coaches ready to help with your workout journey. The coaches create an environment that pushes you to always improve but understand that accommodations are normal.

Made’s turf room. (Amelia Mead)

“We preach that each athlete is unique and different in their own way, which leads to each athlete having their own individual goals,” said coach Charlize Smith. “We use those individual goals to motivate them to achieve their goals.”

The trainers have experienced working with athletes and the mentality from their days as athletes and going to the gym.

“Growing up I always played sports and was a captain of these sports teams,” said Smith. “I see the gym as a team because each athlete and coach is significant to the success of the gym. This ideology has allowed me to appreciate all our athletes more and more each day.”

The athletes can tell the efforts the trainers and Craig put into making Made into the gym it is today.

“All the coaches really want to help you out and are rooting for you,” said Del Val senior Nina Rybansky, who has been going to Made for around two years. “I first went to Made so I could build strength back after an MCL injury from soccer.”

Made is affiliated with St. Luke’s Sports Medicine, which allows for physical therapist, Christian Plunkett, to come in and aid injuries.

“Christian is currently there on Tuesdays but is in the process of being there a majority of the week moving forward,” said Merrick.

Nina Rybansky benching 225 lbs. (Amelia Mead)

The access to a physical therapist is especially useful for student athletes because seeing the school’s athletic trainers takes time out of practice.

Craig has thought of every athletes’ needs and created a gym to meet them all. Made is the place for gym goers to take it to the next level and not look back.

“The secret to becoming a better athlete is: Confidence. When athletes work hard, get stronger, faster, etc. they gain confidence. Most importantly is that Confidence transfers to life, and ultimately that is the goal of being a great athlete and great person. And, I am very fortunate to get to see this on a daily basis and wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Craig.