For most people, landing a dream job with the New York Yankees would be enough. But Dana Cavalea, head strength and conditioning coach for the team, decided to branch out on his own and open ML Strength in White Plains, while still maintaining his duties with the Yankees.
Cavalea opened his own training center to fill, he says, a vacant hole in the fitness industry: real, genuine instruction to build a better athlete. “I felt like I had the ability to make a change,” says Cavalea. So he opened ML Strength in September of 2011 to help aspiring athletes and to provide them with the same experience as the pros. “When you think of a pro athlete, you think of guys who are in great condition and have the best of everything,” he says. “So why can’t we deliver that same quality to the youth and the average Joes?”
Quality is something Cavalea knows well. In his second season with the Yankees, in 2009—a year the team won the World Series—Cavalea received the Nolan Ryan Award, which recognizes the most outstanding strength and conditioning coach in professional baseball. ML Strength has six employees, all of whom hold degrees in exercise science and have experience working with top athletes. “It’s about bringing their talent to Westchester,” Cavalea says.
ML Strength currently has about 60 members, as well as a few local high school teams that come in to train. Membership ranges from $179 to $2,000 per month, depending on the type of membership. The actual training is done in groups. “We try to replicate what we do in the pros and college ranks, where people work out together, push each other, and just enjoy being a part of a team,” Cavalea says.
And while it may sound tough trying to balance your own upstart business with training pro athletes, for Cavalea, it’s not. “When you’re doing two things you love, it’s not hard balancing it at all.”