At Prime360, BJ Grondin more than just a "coach"

·6 min read

Sep. 4—AUBURN — BJ Grondin is a man of superlatives, constantly on the go and very passionate about what he does.

What he does is help his clients achieve a level of sustainable fitness tailored to their individual goals. But it goes beyond that, as the 33-year-old espouses a whole life philosophy which includes what you eat, pain management, rest and mindset in addition to exercise. Together it becomes the complete fitness package.

What makes Grondin and Prime360 stand out from the run-of-the-mill workout factory is a deep seated philosophy and methodology that make up his approach to getting and staying fit, starting with his five pillars of your "prime" — movement, nutrition, restoration, mindset and community.

"Having all five aspects to reach a peak performance, whether your peak performance is as a Division I athlete or your peak performance is as a grandmother who wants to live longer and play with her grandkids," Grondin said.

Both groups are clients at Prime360.

John Shea, "Mr. Maine Basketball 2022," is a 6-foot-6 forward who committed to the University of Maine earlier this year and has worked with coach Grondin going on four years. "I've built up a really good relationship with BJ over the last couple of years," Shea said calmly before exhaling with a growl of relief as Grondin worked with him on a bench.

What does a Division I athlete get from Prime360?

"Everything (pain included). I'd say probably me being able to do things I didn't think I'd be able to do," Shea said. "Like whether that's range of motion type of thing ... he makes me do like those big hurdles," he continued, pointing to the bright yellow metal hurdles stacked to the side. "I wouldn't be able to do them if he didn't make me do them in the first place."

Mindy Davis is a financial planner in Auburn in her 60s. She's been a client for five years and just wanted help to achieve her personal goals that included fitness and nutrition.

"I consider him to be my health coach," Davis said. "I come in and he is so passionate about what he does that it just rubs off on me. I feel like when I leave here I want to just continue with everything that he's working with me on. He keeps me motivated."

It didn't just come to BJ Grondin in a dream. He majored in exercise science at the University of Maine after deciding his chosen path of engineering was not what he wanted to do. Education is a mission in his life and a big factor in his work with his clients, who range in age from 10 to 80.

An internship with the University of Texas basketball team was transformative for Grondin working with and being mentored by two of the top strength and conditioning coaches in the country — Tom Wright and Logan Schwartz. Grondin said Schwartz was among the pioneers who took a physical therapy methodology and philosophy — called applied functional science — and applied it to performance training.

"The whole fitness craze has changed so much over the years. We just know more," Grondin said. "There's more science out there that tells us what we need and it's just getting that science into people's hands, getting it so people know about it.

"A lot of people think that fitness is how much weight can I move, how far can I run, how fast ... and not necessarily how well can I move, how long can I live well and what's this going to do to my body in the long run," he said.

Grondin said there are answers to those questions. Before it was the more the better. Now, he said, we know that's not not necessarily the case. "There's a Goldilocks amount — not always more, not always less — we got to find that Goldilocks amount and that's different for everyone."

Family health issues drew Grondin back to the area from Texas, despite some high-level strength and conditioning opportunities. He started out as a back office operation in Mechanic Falls, working with a few people. In 2017 he made the move to Auburn and his first true training facility.

He opened a Portland location in 2018, which is now run almost entirely by his colleague Joe Murphy, whom he describes as a local guy who went to St. Joseph's College and also has a degree in exercise science.

In 2019, they expanded the Auburn location as the business grew, but still had to turn people away because of lack of space. In 2021, Grondin and his wife and business partner, Toby Martin, bought the property at 41 Stevens Mill Road, and built a new building. Now, they have room to grow. Martin spent three years in Germany as a professional basketball player and is the director of basketball performance at Prime360.

The menu is substantial. Prime360 has group classes and will be able to offer small groups to their lineup that also includes one-on-one training and attention. The offerings include lifestyle coaching and employee wellness programs. The business also partners with local organizations and teams to offer clinics and group classes.

People will have to think of training with Prime360 as an investment in their future, because Grondin admittedly does not come cheap. However, he promises it's 100% worth it.

He said he has very little attrition and clients who have been with him for years, like Mindy Davis, who summed up her experience this way: "Everything in moderation! It doesn't mean that you have to be perfect all the time, you just have to progress. I can't picture my life without being here."

Grondin has another pledge that comes from his heart and goes directly to his upbringing. "I didn't have all the opportunities everyone else had and I don't want that to limit kids from being able to see us, or adults."

He said he'll never let affordability be an issue and they give out plenty of scholarships. "I don't share who gets it, but if someone can't afford it we never turn them away. We figure out a way to get them in here."

Grondin estimates half his clients are high school athletes and adults over 50 make up the second biggest block of customers, with only 1 in 10 in the 25 to 50 age range. So, athlete or grandparent looking for a sustained quality of life, Grondin said all are welcome at Prime360.

"It doesn't matter how good you are. Come in and get better and let's learn," he said.

Prime360 will hold a public grand opening Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. at its new facility at 41 Stevens Mill Road. There will be demonstrations, games, giveaways and the opportunity to learn learn more about their training and meet the staff.