By Kelsey O’Connor
Heart pumping, sweat dripping down his face; he pushes with the last of his energy to get the bar back up one more time. He has reached muscle failure. Exhausted from today’s workout he grabs his gear and heads to the locker room to get ready for the rest of the school day. This is a common scene in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire McPhee Strength and Performance Center. However, this student’s gym session would have ran much differently if it weren’t for a man named Guy Brown.
Brown, 49, is an Eau Claire, Wisconsin resident who is active in the city’s fitness community. He has worked as a personal trainer, fitness equipment distributor and salesman, a coach, an athlete and is now developing and placing fitness equipment in facilities throughout Eau Claire and Wisconsin.
Brown’s family is also very rooted in sports and health fitness. His son is a football player at North Dakota State University. His wife, a former athletic trainer at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire, is now the head of the Concussion Center at Oak Leaf Surgical Hospital.
Brown explained it was his love for health and fitness that steered him into a career where he could analyze the layout of workout facilities, develop equipment to maximize workouts, and improve workout effectiveness for people throughout the community. Sports also played a big role in his career choice.
“Sports kind of lead me into that.” Brown said, “I played collegiately, as well as at the Division I level and eventually had a tryout for the Green Bay Packers. And that lead me into that strength emphasis.”
As a UW-Eau Claire collegiate athlete, Brown said, he experienced many team work outs. After graduating with a major in exercise science, he had an internship at a human performance center and also coached multiple high school sports. It was during his time as the hockey coach for Regis High school that Brown began to evaluate the use of the weight room. He wanted to make practices as efficient as possible. Brown looked at what he calls the “flow” of the weight rooms or fitness facilities. He analyzed them with the intention of ensuring that workouts are maximized and everyone continues to move during the session. It was this critical thinking and his involvement in the fitness industry that brought him to Dynamic Fitness and Summit Commercial Fitness which are manufacturing companies for fitness equipment.
Today, he works solely with Summit Commercial Fitness which is a Wisconsin business based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Instead of focusing on selling fitness equipment, he is working on plans for entire fitness facilities. This includes workout plans, equipment layouts, and selling the actual equipment itself. The brand of the equipment they sell is Matrix, but Summit will also build custom rigs for any gym or workout facility. A rig is a large piece of equipment that can be used for many different purposes. The idea is to allow gym goers more options. It, in turn, keeps the workout from getting boring. Brown said their goal is to make workouts “play, instead of something you dread.”
If you’re looking for a place to see one of these pieces of equipment, you don’t have to go far. Brown created a rig for the UW-Eau Claire McPhee Strength and Performance Center. He has also put custom rigs into the local YMCA and in Hobbs Ice Center. These machines have been used by hundreds of Eau Claire students and residents who are working to become healthier or more physically fit. Without Brown, workouts for these residents may be much less organized and effective.
Blake Nikolai has known Brown for about eight years. His father owns Summit Commercial Fitness. A senior at UW-Eau Claire who is majoring in Movement Studies, Nikolai sees Brown as somewhat of a mentor or role model. He is taking a similar path to Brown and wants to be involved in the fitness industry as well.
“Guy is a well-known and respected professional in the fitness field, especially in the Eau Claire and Madison area,” Nikolai said. “He has dealt a lot with the growth of not only the commercial sales of fitness equipment but also with the development of integrating a well-rounded fitness plan for gyms and schools and universities all across the state. So he has impacted a lot of people from all across the state and it’s only growing from there.”
Brown has made a great impact on the area’s fitness community. He has changed the way that many people work out by successfully creating an environment which fosters health and fitness at maximum effectiveness. His knowledge, love, and dedication to for fitness makes him a true steward of the profession.