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  • Writer's pictureVolume 82 Magazine

Former NFL Trainer Chris Pearson Helps Athletes & the Youth Turn Pro In California's Bay Area

Chris Pearson is a former strength and conditioning trainer for the Raiders NFL team. He later partnered with former NFL and MLB athletic trainer, Markus Turner, to form Turn Pro Sports, a program that coaches California Bay Area youth and older athletes who are pro material toward pro athlete goals. We recently caught up with Chris to talk about his incredible career transition.

(Chris with the Raiders’ former running back LaMont Jordan)

Volume 82: How long were you with the NFL?

Chris: I worked 14 seasons with the National Football League as a strength and conditioning assistant (in other words, a trainer).

Volume 82: What program advantages do you feel like you brought over from your NFL experience to your company, Turn Pro Sports?

Chris: Professional experience. I was once responsible for taking care of million-dollar athletes, and that required a high level of focus and creativity. And so I bring those two qualities with me to help each of my clients with something.

Volume 82: What special elements of NFL training do you now use at Turn Pro Sports?

Chris: My business partner, Markus, worked in the NFL for one training camp and that’s where we met. He’s a certified athletic trainer, and he handles the sports medicine side of our business. From our combined experiences, we developed the S.M.A.R.T. system, which stands for Stability, Mobility, Agility, Recovery, and Timing. We found that, by stabilizing our clients and helping them move better, they’re able to do more reactive athletic and agility types of workouts. We also teach our clients that the most important thing they can do is to take care of their bodies and recover properly. Rest is just as important as the training! The way you organize your rest is important to be able to perform at a top level. For us, the Timing piece of it stands for nutritional timing. We want our clients to know how and when to eat. We experienced how the NFL organized training tables (meals) for the athletes. Players would eat after weightlifting, before practice, after practice, before they go home, etc. And eating recommendations were given to the athletes so they could stay on top of their nutrition when they were at home. We learned all of those things at the professional sports level.

Volume 82: How much of a role does diet, health, eating habits, and meals contribute to an athlete being an exceptional athlete?

Chris: It’s very, very important to put the right things in your body to provide the right type of fuel for your body to perform at its top level. It’s the most important thing outside of general training. Good nutrition and recovery will separate the top athletes from the everyday athletes who don’t take care of their nutrition, too.

Volume 82: So, something as small as eating habits can make a difference in being drafted or not?

Chris: Yes. Because you’re competing against people who are operating at the same level you are. Everybody is a pro.

Volume 82: Right!

Chris: Look at Lebron James and the amount of investment he puts into his body. He and his team spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to make sure he has the right nutrition to perform, and Steph Curry is the same way. When I was with the Raiders, we had a linebacker, Bill Romanowski, who actually has a nutrition company now. He was the best example of an athlete who timed his eating so he could peak on every Sunday for every game that he played. If he was supposed to eat at 4:00, he'd eat at 4:00. If he was supposed to eat at 7:00, he ate at 7:00. It was that serious, and that’s the kind of dedication that creates separation. It made him an all-pro player, too!

Volume 82: With the skills you have, after your time with the Raiders, is there any reason you didn’t go back to being a trainer for the NFL or even try training at the collegiate level?

Chris Pearson: I think it was time … For a long time, I dreamed about having my own business. Back in I990, a year after I graduated from high school, I wrote down some personal goals. One of my goals was to have my own fitness business. I was in love with the Steelers, so I dreamed about naming my business Steel Factory Fitness! Being young, I thought I would have the opportunity to work with the Steelers in the capacity that I worked with the Raiders, and then branch off from there. But, it was the Raiders that called me to work for them!

Volume 82: How much networking do you do with colleges and high schools, to make them aware of what you offer at Turn Pro Sports?

Turn Pro: We have affiliations with major shoe companies, such as Nike, Reebok, and Adidas. They come to Turn Pro with information on different kinds of athletic camps and we have a presence at those camps, and so we are visible and available to student athletes. We are also connected with the local high schools and colleges. A lot of their athletes come here for services. We also offer internship programs for students to come and work with us at the trainer level. We’re pretty active!

Volume 82: This is your tenth year co-owning your own business. What has been the most exciting aspect of you stepping on this side of training and development?

Chris: Meeting the five-year mark as a business. Most small businesses don’t last five years. So when we made it to that point, we knew that we had something! God has continued to make sure we can pay the lease, and he continues to send people to us, to foster growth when we need it.

Volume 82: Are there any athletes that you can mention in regards to their connection with Turn Pro?

Chris: Stephen Domingo. He plays for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, which is the G-League team for the Indiana Pacers. He’s been at the pro level for a while now. He’s played in the pro level in Nigeria, for the Spurs’ summer league team. He played overseas in Lithuania, as well.

Volume 82: As far as people who want to get fit, you also service everyday citizens in the Bay Area who want to get in shape, right?

Chris: Yes. Those are our primary customers, as well. There are only so many top level athletes in the world that we can service. But, we treat all of our customers as athletes.

As I mentioned, Markus runs the certified athletic trainer (sports medicine) side of our business and I’m the strength and conditioning coach. At the professional level, every team has that combination of trainers. For example, Markus gets our injured clients back to about 80-percent healthy, and then sends them to me to help them reach 100-percent recovery, and back into regular activity.

Volume 82: Things seem to be really moving along.

Chris: The reason I think things have lasted this long, is because we are servant minded. Every time someone comes through our doors, we try to do the best we can for each person. I think that says a lot about our approach, leadership, and longevity.

Volume 82: Absolutely! Thank you for sharing with us!

Chris: You’re welcome.

(Chris & Markus at the San Francisco 49ers' training facility for the NFL Combine)

(Markus working with technology)

Photo Credits: @turnprocoaches (Instagram) and Christopher Pearson



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