Fitness routines and gym time aren't the first things most think of in association with freestyle motocross or BMX. But according to Johnny Louch, the owner of Rockwell Training Facility in Wildomar, Calif., action sports are some of the most physically demanding in the world.
The Johannesburg, South Africa, native was active in BMX and motocross in his youth and, as an adult, he competed in the firefighter Olympics. Using his knowledge of fitness from his firefighting days and working with motocross racers like Greg Albertyn, whom he grew up and raced with, and Grant Langston, Louch has developed a championship-caliber training program.
Now he's trying to emphasize the importance of physical fitness and training to today's BMX and freestyle motocross athletes. In between one of his training sessions, Louch took the time to speak with XGames.com about his growing business and his work training elite athletes.
I've always been into fitness my whole life, just from racing BMX. Even as a kid when I was 11, I was doing my own training. I've always been into training.
Then being in the fire department, a lot of the guys are into fitness. I got introduced into being a personal trainer because a lot of the firemen were personal trainers on their days off, so I became a trainer and I was training people while I was at the races.
[Legendary motocross team manager] Roger DeCoster was the one that actually got me involved with training in the motocross industry. He said, "Why don't you train the riders?" because Roger and I became really good friends through Greg [Albertyn].
I had a training facility in Encinitas, Calif. that I owned with Greg, and Travis Pastrana's mom showed up and asked if I would work with Travis. That was back in 2000, and I never looked back.
I teamed up with Grant Langston, he's my partner, to open a little over a year ago. We always talked about if we had our own training facility how we could train properly, instead of trying to do it at LA Fitness or somewhere like that.
The riders, I can be creative with them, and that's one of the things that put us ahead of everyone else. I'm always trying new product, getting new product. You know we have BMXers, skaters, wakeboarders, freestyle motocross guys, jet skiers, motocross, Supercross, tennis players and football players in here.
Everyone brings something different to the table so we can try different things. As you know training can get boring when you do the same thing over and over again. We can change it up and make it more exciting.
We do online training, we have full rehab now, we have a chiropractor, we do taping, VO2 testing and we even train young kids. One of the biggest things that I am stoked about is we have an awesome chiropractor here that is a therapist as well. You know as most athletes do, when you go to a normal therapist for injuries, they don't understand you need to be in and out of there, you need to be healed as quickly as possible.
I love working with the BMX athletes because the sport is so explosive and the stuff they do is done in a short period of time. We have them jumping onto plyometric boxes with weights and some other weight training techniquest to [simulate] the weight those guys put on their legs.
When it comes to the hard-core training the motocross, Supercross guys are on a different level. People don't realize how fit those guys are, and how hard you have to train. In Supercross your heart rate [can be] at 190-198 beats per minute through the whole race, so you've got to be in good shape.