Up a little hill off the Sunset Strip, above the restaurants, there's a nondescript parking lot, and you can see that something's going on by the cars parked there. There are a few Range Rovers, a matte black pickup jacked up on monster wheels and, oh, yeah, a bright yellow Ferrari.
Inside the low building that's adjacent, an elite group of athletes is chugging through workouts this July morning, with a good number of trainers in gray T-shirts sprinkled around a gym floor. There's the Dallas Cowboy Orlando Scandrick over by a weight bench. A little farther back, there's Jeron Johnson from the Seattle Seahawks. Marcedes Lewis of the Jacksonville Jaguars walks over to give a fist-bump to a non-pro who's just finished a workout. During the NFL off-season, 20 or so players are in and out of the gym every day.
"I've been working out with these trainers for years," Scandrick says. There's a jocular camaraderie in the room, and that's what former Chicago Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher and Fox Sports "NFL Insider" Jay Glazer were going for with Unbreakable Performance Center, their new gym aimed at professional athletes and the "civilians" who want to train like them. There's also a sense of security away from the Twittering masses of high-profile trendy Hollywood gyms.
FOR THE RECORD:
Pro workout: In the Aug. 9 Saturday section, a photo caption with an article about a gym used by professional athletes off-season identified an NFL player as Orlando Scandrick. The player was Terrell Thomas. The caption also misspelled the last name of coach Jordan Feramisco as Ferannisco. —
"We wanted a place where these guys can be comfortable and check their ego at the door and not worry if they look bad doing it because no one's gawking," Glazer says. "And then you have this atmosphere of, 'Hey, I miss the locker room' — you get to bust chops with people, whatever walk of life you are from."
Busting chops comes more than naturally to the affable Glazer, who, along with his sportscasting, used to be a sometime competitor in mixed martial arts. So he's brought in Chuck Liddell, the Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer, to oversee MMA-style training to go along with the gym's high-performance work. There's an MMA area behind a cage along with the four weightlifting racks and an artificial-turf mini-field for drills in the 3,500-square-foot gym.
But no mirrors.
There also are machines to serve the professional athlete and lessen stress on knees and joints, including the Surge Performance Trainer, with its hydraulic poles for upper-body training; the ReACT core and lower-body trainer that operates like a reverse squat machine with a moving platform to bring the knees up to the body; and the Sproing, which replaces a moving treadmill with a padded stationary surface for running and interval training.
"The other thing we do, which other gyms don't do, is that we rehab you right here," Glazer says. "Our whole point is, if you're a pro athlete or not, we want to make sure you come back the next day to train better."
Most notable is a shower-like metal capsule that's actually a cryotherapy chamber, where a two-minute blast of subzero nitrogen replaces the dreaded locker-room ice bath to alleviate muscle soreness.
To establish a baseline for a member's fitness, Unbreakable has teamed up with 6-month-old BodySpec, a mobile medical-grade diagnostic scanning service that maps body composition, including bone density, fat tissue and muscle mass. And MyFitFoods also is on call to design nutrition plans and provide meals.
It's an elite experience with rates to match. "But if we can get someone three more touchdowns, that's worth millions of dollars," Glazer says. (Personal training sessions at the gym run $150 an hour, and classes are $25 each; packages are available.)