Personal trainer Jeffrey Montalbano is using his MMA background to train sports teams and athletes.

Montalbano, founder of the Fight Sports Winter Garden gym, is using his knowledge in mixed martial arts and sports to create specialised sports training programmes for local teams and athletes.

Soon after he moved to Florida from New York in 2005, Montalbano opened his own MMA fitness gym.

In the beginning, he had just 20 members and no mats or equipment. Now, 10 years on he is running a gym with two programmes spearheaded by him and his new business partner Ricardo Oliveira.

The two programs: Fight Sports and SWAT Fitness, offer everything from personal fitness classes, women’s fitness, self-defense, Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu — all at the same facility.

Similarly, Sammy Phua, personal trainer Singapore, winner of Senior Manhunt 2015 and ex-National Rugby Player who once played against the famous Waisale Servi in the Hongkong Seven’s, worked up to 15 hours a day as a Personal Trainer while pursuing his Degree in Sports Science.

Phua realised the correlation between health and fitness, and went on to get his Masters in Health Science.

With the backing of the knowledge he gained, he is not only able to provide effective training for his clients but also approach training from a medical point of view.

Montalbano is applying his experience in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to develop sports-specific training programs for young athletes.

He explained: “When I owned the place, it was all me. I was the receptionist, the guy who cleaned the bathrooms, I did all the vacuuming, I taught classes — luckily I had Julian Williams, who ran our MMA program here.

“And then, once Ricardo came in and developed this whole SWAT fitness and Fight Sports, I’m now able to really dedicate myself to stuff that I love.”

Montalbano is passionate about applying his 10 years of experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and four years of experience in judo to develop sports-specific training programs for young athletes.

Two weeks ago, he started a strength and conditioning scheme for the West Orange High School junior varsity baseball team with coach Graig Smith and assistant coach T.J. Sullivan.

He also just began working with Ken Janata from Wildfire Softball, a competitive girl’s travel softball program based in Windermere.

Montalbano added: “With all of my youth athletes, we don’t do any kind of heavy-weight training, but we do a lot of functional training — stuff that’s going to help them in their individual sports but also help tendon and ligament strengthening to help prevent injuries.

“My job is to not only make (them) better at whatever sports (they) play but also to be able to help keep (them) on the field.”

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