Health Care and Wellness

Commander’s Cup Brings Competition to Jam Performance

By Scott Lendak
HERMITAGE, Pa. – When Jeff Wurster and Marlin Palich created Jam Performance and Fitness, they strived to be different. In a competitive industry, they believe Jam Performance and Fitness differs from their larger rivals by creating a hands-on, instructional environment.

“Our goal was to make sure we have the most instructional facility,” said Wurster, the gym’s general manager and head trainer. “If you come in here and don’t know what you’re doing, that’s OK, because we are going to make sure to show you. Whether it be a class, personal training or your own workout, everyone should be able to get something out of it.” 

At Jam Performance and Fitness, the close relationships between trainers and members are by design. So, when a few active-duty Army members asked Wurster about using the gym for a morale-building event, he didn’t hesitate. 

“I initially thought it was a great idea,” Wurster said. “The military has a new PT test, and they did some test runs for some of the events here on their own. So, instead of a group softball game to build morale, they came here to have more a fitness-based event.”

Saturday morning, Jam Performance and Fitness hosted the 2019 Commander’s Cup, where about 30 military members were divided into teams and competed in contests including weightlifting, pull-ups, trash can basketball, cornhole and more.

“We have a lot of different officers and military people that come in to train here at our gym,” trainer Jim Boyd said. “We are providing the space and some of the equipment they are using, but they have arranged most of it. Our idea, upon opening this place, was that we wanted to do something for the service men and women and the people that give their lives.” 

Boyd believes that despite being in a small area, events can create more exposure and show people what Jam Performance and Fitness is all about. 

“We have to start at the ground level,” Boyd said. “We want to show them what we are doing and draw as many people in as we can, obviously. And this is not a huge area, so we are trying to get people to recognize what we are offering. We are centrally located in Hermitage, but we’ve got people coming into train because they’ve heard about what we are doing.”

Jam Performance and Fitness co-owners Marlin Palich and Jeff Wurster.

Palich realizes the importance of creating a supportive environment that encourages the community – both members and nonmembers – to get healthy.

“As a business, you have to give back to the community you’re in,” Palich said. “It’s not take, take, take. You’ve got to become part of it, so everyone can experience it and give back to it. And we want everyone to come in.” 

Beyond that, Boyd says events like the Commander’s Cup give people an opportunity to try different types of workouts and figure out what works best for them. 

“All of our classes are free the first time,” Boyd said. “So, we want people to come in and try things and see what it’s like. And these events help us connect with people, who maybe haven’t even heard of us before.”

While the fitness industry is competitive, Boyd and Wurster say Jam Performance and Fitness has figured out a formula that sets it apart from large chains like Planet Fitness.

“I think these big gyms have figured out the recipe,” Boyd said. “You make it really cheap and put in tons of treadmills and TVs. That’s how a lot of the fitness industry makes their money. For us, it’s about being unique and offering people something they want, that is also different.”

As the Commander’s Cup 2019 came to an end, Wurster received a Certificate of Appreciation for hosting the military event. 

“If you can create an event that people enjoy and benefit from, then it just reinforces what we are trying to do,” Wurster said. “Even the people that aren’t here are going to see this on social media, and people that are here are going to talk. Every time you have an event, and more people get involved, it just continues to send the message that we aren’t a normal gym, and we support everyone who walks through our doors.” 

Pictured: Jam Performance and Fitness trainer Jim Boyd watches participants in the Commander’s Cup Saturday.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.