LAKEWOOD RANCH -- More and more so-called "normal" people want to emulate professional athletes and have training regimes tailored to meet their needs.
To accommodate their desire, Mike Gough, longtime trainer and owner of Athletic Edge Sports in Lakewood Ranch, has expanded his services.
"I have opened it up and have an executive athletic program," Gough said. "It's for normal people who want to be challenged and trained with a personal, customized program. I call them executive athletes, but it's open to the general population."
Bob Delaney, who was an NBA ref for 23 years until his retirement in 2011, wanted to stay in shape and found Gough's training methods perfect to fit his needs.
"You cannot duplicate running up and down basketball floors 80 times a year, and I needed something to keep me in shape," Delaney said. "He has been able to keep me at a high fitness level since I retired. I am very happy and get compliments about the shape I am in, especially for someone 62. He is training me to have a high quality of life."
The 6-foot-1 Delaney weighs about 195 pounds. That is similar to what he weighed when he retired, but he claims he is a lot stronger.
Gough first started out in a small gym in Lakewood Ranch in 2001. Now he has a facility on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch and uses Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch for outdoor work.
He still primarily works with pro or college athletes and is training 11 players for this year's NFL Combine. The group includes former Palmetto receiver Damian Copeland, who recently finished his career at Louisville.
"When I first started out, it was just for getting professional athletes prepared for what they do. But I found a lot of people are looking for something similar," Gough said. "For them, we customize everything. Everyone gets a needs analyst and then we go from there. We take into account previous injuries and health issues. Everything is customized."
More than a dozen athletes who trained under Gough last year were either drafted or signed as free agents in the 2013 NFL draft.
When it comes to working with people who are not affiliated with a pro or college team, Gough and his staff take a special approach
"There are no members at all. I am into training people, not providing gym space for people to train themselves," Gough said. "All of them work one on one with trainers or in small groups with two to five people. Nobody is getting younger. We are trying to help these people stay in shape and do it the best way."
Copeland knows Gough perhaps better than anyone and has nothing but praise for his work. He started with Gough when he was in high school and returned after his college career because he said this is the best place to get him ready for the NFL.
"I really took off when I started training with Mike my senior year in high school. He was a big contributor to the results I had going into college," Copeland said. "It's a guarantee he is going to get you bigger, faster and stronger. I put on about 12 pounds of muscle since I've been here.
"All you have to do is buy into what he is saying and put in the work. My goal is to run a high 4.3 (40-yard dash) at the combine. We have field sessions where we run routes and hand-eye coordination drills."