Top 17 PowerStrength Moments in 2017

With 2017 ending we wanted to re-cap our Top 17 Moments in 2017 at PowerStrength. Enjoy reliving some of our best memories from another immense year here at PSTS. Granted we couldn’t list them all, but thank you to all of you who helped create such an unforgettable year for all of us!

We look forward to continuing to serve West Michigan and beyond in 2018!

In no particular order…


1. Launch of Premier and Successes

We officially launched our Premier Advanced Football Training Program last year after working with hundreds of high school football players. Essentially we made the most ideal program as possible once we considered all the factors. This is for the serious football player and these athletes must qualify for Premier. We hosted an in-house Premier Combine which was a lot of fun and revealed incredible results.

From the 2017 Premier class alone we had 7 seniors earn college scholarships, 12 earn All-Conference, and 14 win state titles!

2. Opened PSTS East

Back in early April we had the opportunity to expand into a second location here in West Michigan to help serve more people in our hometown. This was a turning point for us and would not have been possible without the PSTS Team and our growing PSTS Fam. We now have PSTS East in Kentwood (E Paris/52nd St) and PSTS North in Grand Rapids (Alpine/4 Mile).


3. Launch of PSTS Supplement Line

In March we acted on an idea that was building for a couple years. After constant questions about supplements, and more horror stories related to this industry – we decided to take matters into our own hands. We stuck to our mindset that supplements should add to your nutrition not replace it. We also believe supplements should revolve around health, especially growing athletes. Taking this approach we found trusted people and products to develop our own line of supplements. The feedback has been great and we’re looking to step it up a notch in 2018! You can see all the supplements in the online shop.


4. Hosted the CPPS Certification

In May we hosted the international Certified Physical Preparation Specialist certification right here in Grand Rapids. Developed by industry leaders James Smith and Joe DeFranco, we have been heavily involved with this curriculum over the last five years as we believe it’s the best for coaches who work with athletes on a daily basis. Hosting it was a big honor for the entire PSTS Team as we place a big emphasis on growing our skills as coaches. This cert is required for all PSTS coaches and through the years we have had 14 coaches take this course!


5. ESPN Article on PSTS Disciple

Kenny Willekes was a standout high school player in West Michigan and dedicated PSTS Disciple since 2012. His unique path from small school player with no D1 offers, to MSU walk-on, to earning a scholarship, to starting for the Spartans and earning Third Team All Big Ten was featured in an ESPN article in November. It was beyond awesome to see his story be recognized and was a success for all his old and new PSTS training partners! When one of us wins, we all win!


6. WWE Wrestlers in the House

When WWE Monday Night Raw came to Grand Rapids in May, we were played host to 10 WWE superstars as they got their training session in on the road. These athletes live a very demanding lifestyle and no matter where they are they have to take care of their bodies. Fun to chat with them and they were all very cool guys. Shoutout to Joe D. for the ringside seats to the show!


7. Continuing Education Opportunities

As mentioned above about the CPPS cert, we aim to live our value of the Growth Mindset as much as possible, especially when it comes to delivering the best results for our athletes and members. We had the following learning opportunities this year as a staff and look forward to more in 2018!

  • April – Dan John – industry leader and expert coach
  • June – John Gaglione – gym owner and expert powerlifting coach
  • October  – Mike Ranfone – gym owner and expert coach
  • December – Leonard Van Gelder – physical therapist and expert on pain and pain management


8. New Additions to the PSTS Team

The growth and expansion of all our programs, along with the second location, would not be possible without our incredible team at PSTS. We welcomed coach Bre, coach Dave, and Coach Nick all to the team in the late spring. As summer went on, we were fortunate to add Jackie to our team as well to direct our growing adult programs (Jackie also happens to be my wife, making our our close-knit gym family truly “family-owned”). It’s no secret that our people make us unique, and our Team is the core of what we do.

9. Best Gym 5 Years in a Row

We were voted Best Gym by Grand Rapids Awards for the 5th year in a row. Very cool honor to be recognized for our PSTS Fam and Team!




10. Athlete Successes

The success of our dedicated athletes is what we strive for. Whether they enjoy success as a teammate, an individual, or both – it is fulfilling to see them be rewarded for their dedication. We’re the fortunate ones as we get to know their stories and see all the ‘behind the scenes’ effort on a daily basis. Without going overboard, here are a few collective highlights from 2017:


  • Helped 25 athletes earn college scholarships and sent 35+ off to play a college sport. Fun fact: we have now had over 125 athletes come to us with zero scholarship offers, only for them to earn it for themselves through consistent effort!  Very cool to witness and be a part of!
  • Over 50 athletes earned All-Conference or All-State honors!
  • Cornerstone Volleyball took first in the WHAC conference and the WHAC tournament. They took their first trip to the national tournament since 2004. They have been training with us for the last 7 years and really committed themselves over the last few seasons! Individually, they cleaned up on the awards as well!
  • The handful of professional athletes we work with all found their way onto rosters.  With a couple international pro basketball players earning their largest contracts to date!
  • 17 footballers players were on a D1 football roster in 2017. Over 25 D1 PSTS athletes in all.
  • Too many athletes to count that are getting it done in the classroom with over a 3.0 or 3.5 GPA. Props to Ethan Kaminski of Lowell and Alex Anthony of Rockford for their All-State Academic honors. Ethan’s brother, Alex (Michigan football), was also named All-Academic Big Ten along with Jake Martin!
  • Nolan Fugate of GR Catholic Central earned GR Player of the Year honors for football. Nolan was one of many CC players that have trained hard with us since 8th grade.
  • Combined, 37 PSTS-trained athletes won football state titles between West Catholic and Catholic Central high schools.
  • Check out past blogs and our social media for more athlete highlights and successes!









11. Seminars and Clinics within the Community

It always takes a village when working towards success. Coaches and parents obviously play a huge role in this. We love working with those who have the growth mindset, know that complacency kills, and who keep it all about the athlete and not their own ego’s. Some of the clinics and seminars we were fortunate to put on in the community in 2017 are listed below. If you would like for us to get involved with your team, league/school, or organization in 2018 – please contact me directly

  • Youth Athlete Development Seminar for
  • Berrien Springs Coaching Education Clinic
  • Rockford Youth Coaching Clinic
  • Rockford Youth Athlete Parent Seminar
  • Triumph BJJ and MMA Warm-Up and Self-Care Demonstration



12. Self-Defense Class

Having Coach Dan (PSTS member and owner of Triumph BJJ/MMA) come in and lead a self-defense class for our ladies of PSTS was awesome! We’ll definitely be doing more of these types of events in 2018!


13. Fundraisers and Community Enrichment

Without going into too much detail, taking care of our hometown here in West Michigan is extremely important to us. Utilizing the PSTS Army we know we have the platform to carry out this responsibility. Some of the fundraisers we were fortunate to provide/support were:

  • Night of Nets
  • Stuff the Bus – Back to school supplies
  • Holiday Fundraiser  with Soldiers Angels and Ronald McDonald House
  • Youth League Sponsorships
  • Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids
  • ESPN Signing Day
  • HoopSmart Basketball Camp
  • Sponsorship of Area Teams and Clubs

14. PSTS to West Point

It is not uncommon for us to be helping serious high schoolers prepare for their military goals and aspirations. In 2017, Julien Levesque turned from PSTS athlete to West Point candidate. He trained hard for his physical performance tests and was very diligent. His dedication paid off and he was admitted and enrolled. Thank you for your service Jules and for the opportunity!


15. Rave Reviews with Adult Program Expansion 

With PSTS up and rolling we were able to develop our Adult Fitness program even further. This gives us another avenue to serve our PSTS families under our roof, as well as provide a comprehensive program for those looking for sustainable results. We’re coaches. This is a coaching program for our members to be confident about the work they consistently put forth. The results have been extraordinary and the feedback incredible. Follow along further on Facebook and contact us to find the optimal plan for you.


16. PowerStrength Basketball Takeover 

Coach Brian Palmer continues to do unbelievable things with local area hoopers. The elite college basketball group was formed this past year, combining of on the court skill work paired with athletic performance training in the gym. Boys or girls, high school or college, the West Michigan basketball community continues to improve because of the buy-in and commitment these athletes dedicate to becoming the best player they can be. They train, they pay attention to their nutrition, they recover, and they combine it all on court. Brian offers Basketball Skills training for all ages and abilities. This complete program goes beyond fancy drills or aimless routines. Our basketball athletes are learning how to train smarter and are being educated across all facets of preparation and performance.









17. Youth Athletes – Building the Next Generation 

Results, achieving goals, earning more playing time, and creating more athletic opportunities is important – what’s even more important is developing better young men and women. We accomplish this using training as that platform. Dare I say the results in confidence, self-esteem, personal responsibility, and work ethic are more important than a couple pounds or inches when working with youth athletes? We like to encompass all of this. Coach Cam, Coach Stefan, and Coach Murphy continue to create an awesome experience for our next generation of boys and girls. 2018 will reveal further prominence in this program.

Thanks again for  reviewing 2017 with me, and thank you for the memories! We will keep ‘moving the chains’ into 2018!


– Mark