On the ‘Edge’
Mike Spagnola of Cary help others fulfill fitness goals.
Many 20-somethings are learning to navigate the real world after college — paying off debt, renting for the first time and getting their career off the ground.
Mike Spagnola, 23 and mature beyond his years, has been running a successful business for more than two years.
An Algonquin native and a 2009 graduate of Dundee-Crown High School, Spagnola is the owner of Edge Strength & Conditioning, which opened its doors in Cary in November 2011.
The young businessman borrowed $10,000 from his grandparents and never looked back.
“I appreciate my grandparents’ belief in me and all the people that believe in me,” Spagnola said. “My dad, my girlfriend — they all think I can do this and totally believe in me. I have aligned myself with the right people and I have total focus on the job. I really thought about it a long time and really want to do it.”
According to his dad, Kevin, who attends classes at Cary Edge three days a week, “At an early age, Mike had a determination he could do anything he would put his mind to. I knew he could run this business. This is icing on the cake. I think eventually he will run a string of businesses. He is doing a lot of good things with his life.
One of Spagnola’s biggest supporters is his girlfriend of seven years, Samantha Ruttenberg, who helps with administrative duties at Edge.
“Mike came to me one day and said he wanted to open a gym,” Ruttenberg said. “I had total belief in him and told him to do it. Once Mike puts his mind to something, he does it.”
A Workout Haven Opens
After securing financial backing, Spagnola needed to find a prime piece of real estate. He found the perfect place in the Cary Industrial Park at 720 Industrial Drive, Unit 132.
Spagnola, who actively competes in strongman and powerlifting, went to work to transform a vacant warehouse into a workout haven.
After working six days and 75 hours per week, Spagnola was ready to open the private workout facility late in 2011.
“It was a lot of physical work along with planning to make this happen,” Spagnola said. “I basically did all the work without lawyers. I was able to do most of this without spending a great deal of money. I got all the permits on my own. I was determined to make this go.”
Building a Clientele
In a little over two years, Spagnola now has a clientele of more than 100 ranging in age from 10 to 50.
The 10- to 22-year-olds competing in the fitness classes are serious athletes in sports such as basketball, football, cross-country and baseball. They are trying to improve themselves mentally and physically under Spagnola’s guidance.
The 23- to 50-year-olds are trying to stay in shape or possibly make a lifestyle change.
Their workout may consist of barbells, kettlebells and/or ropes.
“We test how well a person moves in each of these movement patterns so they can safely progress through more advanced training,” Spagnola explains. “My client, Rudy, is one of the most dramatic of many success stories and I think the main takeaway is that, not only did he get all that weight off, he’s strong and confident enough to be competing in competition.”
Classes and Charity Boot Camps
Classes are offered for both genders and cost between $137 and $229 per month.
Adult classes are scheduled at one-hour intervals during the week at 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., and in the evening at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Kevin is impressed with the way his son teaches his classes. He is serious, but makes the classes fun.
“He works his students hard, but they respect him because he genuinely cares for them,” Kevin said. “He is very intelligent and he cares about people, and he wants to help people be in better shape and be better people.”
Spagnola offers charity boot camp opportunities on Saturdays. He has done camps to benefit former Cary-Grove athlete Rick Carone, Wounded Warriors, local animal shelters and Toys for Tots.
Along with Spagnola, the instructors in the program are Matt Gerebizza and Claire Kraemer.
Spagnola is not without a background in his field. He attended Elgin Community College and University of Illinois at Chicago where he majored in kinesiology before withdrawing to open his business. He also has a certificate from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and continues to attend numerous seminars in search of more knowledge.
“I am always open to more knowledge in the business [and open to] going back to college someday,” he said. “I want to become more systemized in the business.”