Inside the 2,800-square-foot space Pat Kuntz calls his workplace are two jump-training machines designed to help athletes improve leaping ability and overall explosiveness.
These contraptions, with their flat base and various cables, were the starting blocks to BEAST Performance Indy, a business that opened five years ago for the purpose of helping young athletes reach their potential in their chosen sport.
Co-owned by former Roncalli High School athletes Kuntz and Jason Werner – former Division I football players at Notre Dame and Purdue, respectively – BEAST provides sports-specific training for football, baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, track and field and wrestling to athletes as young as 10 years old.
Kuntz is a personal trainer and performance enhancement specialist certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Former University of Indianapolis football player Craig Ray is also a trainer.
BEAST Performance Indy is located on Indianapolis’ southwest side, with a client base of approximately 65 customers.
David Clayton, an eighth-grader at Plainfield Community Middle School, trains four days a week at BEAST Performance Indy to increase his level of explosiveness for football and baseball.
A 5-foot-9, 175-pound tailback/linebacker on the gridiron, Clayton, who will be a freshman next fall at Roncalli, has benefited greatly in terms of flexibility, speed, self-confidence and focus since joining in late-September, his father, Andy, said.
“I think we’re getting a steal. I would classify this as an incredible return on our investment,” said Andy Clayton, who estimates he’ll pay $1,500 for what amounts to approximately 120 training sessions annually for his son.
“We really looked at a lot of places to go,” said the elder Clayton, whose son, by switching schools, is going from being one of the go-to running backs to someone who will be trying to prove himself all over again. “What sold us on BEAST is the one-on-one instruction even in group settings, and the attention to detail.
“Pat, Jason and Craig have very engaging personalities, and have experienced what David is experiencing now. It’s all about pace and core and performing when you’re tired. David loves it there. It’s been a positive experience.”
Athletes pay $125 per month with a six-month agreement. Adults pay $100 monthly with a 12-month agreement.
Best friends since the second grade, Kuntz and Werner wanted to provide the type of training option they themselves never had as teenage athletes.
“Naturally, I’ve been trained, worked out in football and been through many strength and conditioning programs. Jason and I talked and we both said, ‘Man, I wish I had this when I was in high school,’” said Kuntz, a former defensive end for the Fighting Irish who was given a tryout but eventually cut by the Indianapolis Colts.
“We’ve been to different gyms, but we never had just learning how to move, learning how to jump and having that competitive pace, a situation where we could learn this sort of stuff.”
The philosophy at BEAST is to start an athlete on core training and then work from the inside-out rather than the other way around, Kuntz said. In time, it’s about achieving better balance while ensuring the body is strengthened, agile and more explosive when it comes to that particular sport.
Maybe it’s vertical leaps in order to rebound more effectively on the basketball court, or spike a volleyball. Meanwhile, horizontal bursts benefit, among others, long jumpers, football linemen and baseball and softball players, both in the batter’s box and in the field.
Wrestlers, too, partake in a sport in which accelerated and powerful movements are beneficial. Same holds true for soccer players, whether they’re in goal as a last line of defense; a midfielder charging toward the ball; or a defender looking to effectively shadow an opposing forward.
Werner lettered in three sports at Roncalli (football, basketball, track). Kuntz did so in two (football, basketball). Yet the latter readily admits the business he operates is best suited to benefit the single-sport athlete.
“This place is great for them because the probability for injury goes up when you just play one sport all year,” Kuntz said. “Even if you’re an all-time baseball or volleyball player, we train you as an athlete.
“It’s injury prevention, but it’s also athletic development.”
Werner’s full-time job is as an advisor in financial services for Blue Chip Consultants in Indianapolis. He finds time to work at the business in the evenings and on weekends for what typically amounts to 15 to 20 hours per week.
A former linebacker at Purdue who racked up 77 tackles and 4.5 sacks for the 2009 Boilermakers, Werner, too, can only imagine how a place like BEAST Performance Indy could have enhanced his football skillset while in high school.
“If we would have had this stuff together then, as far as speed development what an opportunity,” Werner said. “We would have been more functional, more flexible.”
After purchasing one VertiMax machine at a cost of roughly $3,000, Kuntz and Werner eventually added to their business piece by piece.
Aside from the second VertiMax, there is a speed Treadmill ($10,000). Self-propelled, the machine allows clients to work on speed development while emphasizing proper mechanics.
There is also a power rack for bench presses and squats ($750); free weights (ranging from 10 to 80 pounds); kettlebells (5 to 30 pounds); weighted ropes; and foam boxes utilized for plyometric training.
Two adjustable basketball goals allow trainers to simulate the proper environment while working on basketball-specific drills.
“Every athlete is different. In football a lineman might train differently than a receiver or quarterback,” Werner said. “When you get those results it’s so rewarding.”
VertiMax training is resistance jump training — vertically and/or horizontally — while improving form and explosiveness. Plyometric exercises force the athlete to focus on shorts bursts and quick lateral movement.
Speed treadmill workouts are done on a self-propelled treadmill for speed development while still emphasizing proper technique in that sport.
Indianapolis resident Robin Eads has been going to BEAST Performance Indy two to three times a week since November to condition herself for the Mini Marathon in May.
Her daughters, Elizabeth, a Roncalli freshman, and Erica, a sixth-grader, have been training there for two years as a way to enhance their talents on the volleyball court.
“I’ve always been an athlete and done a lot of different workouts. With Pat’s training I always have something different that’s sore because he encompasses everything along with the core,” Robin Eads said. “I look at my kids as one-sport athletes, and they’ve been injury-free since training there.
“(BEAST trainers) make it fun. They mix it up and don’t give up on you. When training the kid it’s like Pat becomes a kid again himself.”
Clients come from as far away as Shelbyville, Columbus, Kokomo and New Palestine.
“We’re constantly trying to evolve,” Kuntz said. “We’re trying to grow. But at the same time we never want to take away from the product. We’ve definitely gone through a learning curve starting this whole thing. We change and we evolve.
“There are some places like this on the Northside (of Indianapolis), but on the Southside it’s us taking this niche and giving these kids an opportunity. We’re not a weight room gym. I want to make sure people know how to control their body, how to move and let’s get them more powerful and more proficient in what they’re doing in their sport.”
BEAST PERFORMANCE INDY
Where: 6136A S. Belmont Ave., Indianapolis
Phone: 721-5577 / 403-2360 (Pat Kuntz) or 410-1027 (Jason Werner)
Current location: Since November 2013
THE KUNTZ FILE
Name: Pat Kuntz
Family: Father, Tom; brother, Joey, 32
High school: Roncalli H.S. – 2005
College: University of Notre Dame – 2009
Favorite TV show: “Married with Children”
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite movie: “The Big Lebowski”
Favorite athlete: Cortez Kennedy
Favorite team: Baltimore Ravens