Injury can’t stop star athlete from pursuing his passion

It took only one time for Demetrus Johnson to find himself sold on the latest discovery in maintaining peak physical condition. A wide receiver for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team from 2000-2005, Johnson moved here after the Arizona Cardinals added him to their lineup.

But an injury cut short his promising career, and Johnson needed to get back into playing condition.

Now, after exercising for several weeks at a Kyrene Corridor fast-training facility, Johnson is introducing his friends and area football coaches to the same kind of workout. On Saturdays, he holds a workout with high school athletes, and says he already has witnessed improvement among many of them.

Now, he’s on a mission.

“I’ve been trying to spread the word, talk to some of the high school coaches that I’ve come across and also a few of my buddies who are still in the (National Football League).

“I’ve been introducing them to this type of training,” Johnson said. “Hopefully this off-season we’ll have a few more of the players that I know coming down.”

Johnson said a growing number of the high school coaches have taken an interest in the training. The players are excited, too, he said.

“It’s two athletes in particular. I was there at the time when they started until now, and you can definitely see the improvement,” he said.

Josh Clark and his wife Lara, who have adopted the new strategies into their training protocols at a facility called Fast Athlete USA, say their unique, high-tech workout improves athletic ability. It helps high school athletes reach the next level.

“You’re putting into play more muscle tissue and we’re creating more explosion and speed,” Lara said. “We’re basically putting two things together.”

While growing up in Milwaukee, Johnson said, his journey through football would have been much easier had he been introduced to this type of training.

“I never had anybody taking time out to say ‘Look, maybe if you do this and learn it at an early age, when you get to that next level it’s going to be that much easier for you,’” he said.

“Growing up, all I had was my natural ability and natural talent; all I ran off of is what I knew. But if I could get exposed to somebody who was going to dedicate their time to getting me better, I would have been that much better and that much more ready when it was time to play at the next level.”

Although he had gone through many training sessions, Johnson said, the workouts he got here were different.

“I’ve been through plenty of different types of workouts, but this by far was the best one that I’ve experienced,” he said. “You feel good because you know you just worked out. You’ve pushed your body to the limit.”

Johnson, who works as a marketing representative, was introduced to the new workout protocol while doing his job. He was later convinced to come in and try it for himself.

“I stopped in to see what they were doing as far as marketing,” he said. “I’ve been going ever since. It was a blessing in disguise.”

Johnson’s football injury required surgery. His anterior cruciate ligament was rebuilt. After the surgery, Johnson was not able to train the way he did in the past.

“For a long time I wasn’t able to train on my leg the way that I was supposed to. Since I’ve been introduced to this equipment and this type of training, I’m able to train on my leg the way I’m supposed to,” he said.

Training involves fast-twitch isokinetic training equipment designed to provide a more effective workout with little risk, according to co-owner Josh Clark.

“We train at high rates of speed with zero risk of injury. It’s the quickest way you can get your body conditioned. You’re working two directions at the same time, so you’re building lactic acid in your blood stream. Lactic acid is a precursor to growth hormones.

“You’re getting all the benefits of a workout with no negatives. We don’t tear muscle tissue down.”

Johnson works out regularly at Fast Athlete USA, 8725 S. Kyrene Road, Tempe. Information: (480) 496-0828.

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