GLENVIEW — When the Glenview Park Center opened its doors in 2001, Mark Sich began working at its health and fitness center as a personal trainer.
It was a job that in 2006 led Sich to start his sports enhancement training company, The Edge, a program that eight years later has serviced thousands of adults and high school athletes, with numbers of enrollments continuing to grow exponentially.
“This is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on a 360 degree perspective of your health and wellness,” said Sich, who is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a performance enhancement specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. “It’s a habit-based model. It’s not a fad. We’re creating a long-term life plan for our clients.”
A GBS graduate, Sich played hockey in high school and college, and graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Kinesiology.
Sich then worked as an exercise specialist at Lutheran General for four years before becoming a personal trainer. He said the idea for The Edge, a small group sports training and nutritional program, was sparked by a need to accommodate his large client base.
“My schedule had become so full that I didn’t have the time to take on new clients, and The Edge created a system where we could help as many people as possible and achieve results in the most cost-effective scenario,” Sich said. “I came up with a proposal, brought it to the district and they approved it.”
The Edge, which is led by Sich, along with trainers, Andy Santos and Mike Geesey is a four-week exercise and nutrition regime for adults or high school kids.
Following an initial assessment and goal discussion, The Edge meets three times per week for a one-hour workout with a group of up to six. The program also includes two or three days of self-exercise and a menu plan, which was created by licensed dietician and nutritionist, Nicole Olds.
“It isn’t a diet and it isn’t eliminating food groups,” said Olds, who holds a Masters degree in nutrition and who has been practicing for 10 years. “It’s all whole foods, but normal, every day available foods.”
Olds said the menu is the same for every client, but portion sizes are customized. She also explained that the plan can be customized for vegans or clients who eat gluten-free.
“Not everyone is in this just for weight loss,” she said. “There are so many other benefits including lowering cholesterol, decreasing inflammation, more energy, improved immune system and overall better health.”
John Fix is a baseball coach and teacher, and the owner of Glenview’s The Strike Zone. He’s been a client of The Edge since its inception.
“I’ve always worked out–the treadmill and weights at the gym—but never anything as intense as this,” said Fix. “The staff is phenomenal, fun to work with and personable, and they’re constantly introducing new and innovative techniques.”
“The Edge shifted my perspective when it came to the gym. It’ much more than just, ‘Here, lift 100 pounds.’ They teach you the science behind the exercises you’re doing,” said Jessica Ach, who is a soccer player and senior at Colgate University, and who has been a client of The Edge since she was in high school at GBS. “It’s been very empowering and it’s given me a lot of confidence.”
Sich said The Edge shares the Glenview Park Center’s philosophy to provide affordability, and claims that his prices are 40 to 70 percent less than traditional personal training models. Clients also don’t have to be Park Center Health and Fitness members to enroll in The Edge.
“I’ve never felt stronger or more flexible in my life,” said Fix. “There isn’t a better program out there.”
2400 Chestnut Ave.