Athlete-level fitness

New fitness center trains athletes and nonathletes alike.
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Kobe Bufkin is a Grand Rapids Christian basketball player committed to playing at the University of Michigan, who trains at Alpha Human Performance. Courtesy Alpha Human Performance

Former University of Miami footballer Daimond Dixon and his wife Regina Dixon opened a new workout facility that brings together athletes and nonathletes alike.

Alpha Human Performance, 3233 Eastern Ave., focuses on training athletes from middle school age to professional sports players as well as offering training to former athletes and adults who want to train like an athlete.

“We like to call it human performance. We deal with athletes, mainstream populations, youth to adults,” Dixon said. “Our premise is working with our four pillars: mindset, training, recovery and performance.”

The facility doesn’t resemble the typical sports club with lines of treadmills and ellipticals everywhere. Instead, it’s an open, 6,500-square-foot industrial space divided into two sections — the performance floor and the strength floor. Dixon said on the performance side, clients perform agility drills and use tools like sleds, while the strength training side consists of dumbbells and weight racks.

“We don’t have a bunch of fitness machines,” he said. “We have more things that are functional.”

Less stationary equipment makes it easy for the space to be reconfigured as needed. That’s particularly important, because Alpha Human Performance is a class-based gym. “It’s less of a drop-in workout health club and more of a facility where it’s all classes and set up for training.”

During classes, which are capped at 15 people, the instructor works with the participants individually, rather than using a headset to call out moves.

Dixon said Alpha Performance Fitness is a reflection of the trend he began to notice a few years ago where traditional gym workouts began to shift and resemble more of the athlete training-type workouts.

Daimond Dixon Courtesy Alpha Human Performance

Get to know Daimond Dixon

  • Daimond Dixon was a walk-on member of the University of Miami 1991 National Championship football program.
  • After college, he went on to play over a decade of minor league football for several Midwest football teams.
  • He has trained athletes in the art of sports performance for the past 10 years with a focus on football, soccer, hockey, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, rugby, softball, swimming, golf and mixed martial arts.
  • He currently works as director of sports performance for Grand Rapids Christian Schools and owns an online sports performance and fitness publication.

“Since the early ’90s, I’ve been training athletes … with today’s tech and exercise science, the gap between athletes and the mainstream population started to blur,” he said. “They are kind of doing the same thing, so my wife and I, we were talking about in a perfect world, how could we create something to work with all three populations (athletes, former athletes and nonathletes) all in-house.”

The couple and their four sons vacation every year at Anna Marie Island in Florida and became familiar with IMG Academy, a boarding school for student-athletes, and thought “if we could create that kind of facility or brand in Michigan, that would be great.”

Dixon added, “It doesn’t have to be on a huge scale, but something that can facilitate the need that is out there here in West Michigan.”

The Dixons also used their own family as inspiration, thinking “what would be the best facility for our family?”

Dixon’s four sons — 8-year-old twins, a freshman and a junior in high school — play a range of sports including football, lacrosse and soccer, and his wife is a former high school soccer player.

Alpha Performance Fitness allows the whole family to receive the training they each require all under one roof.

The facility also offers a recovery program, which is housed on the mezzanine level and includes a partnership with NovaCare, a physical therapy provider that provides free injury assessments to members.

And, for members who can’t make it to the facility, there’s an Alpha Human Performance app available that offers online workouts.

Dixon said he hopes the facility becomes a hub for athletes and nonathletes alike, where they can come and discover their “inner alpha” and get the training that makes them feel like the athlete they once were or always wanted to be.

This story can be found in the February 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here

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