Michael Donato - Owner/Head Trainer/Mentor
I have multiple certifications related to sports performance, including: NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist. In my 10 years of coaching high school football in the Chicago Area, six of those years being head strength and conditioning coach for football, basketball, and track and field.
From an early age, I was constantly playing sports. Sometimes they were organized team sports, and sometimes they were games that my brother and I invented. No matter the sport, I have always enjoyed the personal and team challenges associated with athletics. My football career started at the age of seven as part of the Bill George Youth Football Program in Downer’s Grove. Continued dedication to the game (and work in the weight room and film room) helped me to set new passing records as the starting quarterback at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park. Eastern Illinois University was my next step as quarterback, and I was fortunate to earn a full scholarship and to be part of the team that won two consecutive Ohio Valley Conference Championships.
Following graduation in 2007, I continued to play the game in European and Arena Football leagues for several years. The European League had the added benefit of taking me to Italy, where I was able to experience “American Football” in a setting with ties to my family heritage. Arena League Football also moved me around, with stops in Texas, Iowa, and then back home to Chicago.
According to one of my coffee mugs, I am the World’s Greatest Dad. My toddler son challenges my claim to the title frequently, and my loving wife (who gave me the mug) sometimes drinks out of it herself – just to keep me on my toes. I truly understand that being part of a family is the most important team sport.
Part of what I coach is prioritization, organization, self-discipline, and personal accountability. Therefore, this program challenges young athletes not just mentally and physically, but the schedule and nutrition can sometimes challenge them socially. Without the support of family and friends I wouldn’t be in a position to help the next generation of athletes and will be forever grateful.
Working with the next generation is both an honor and a responsibility that I do not take lightly. It has been a calling to be involved in youth and high school sports training. I love it and look forward to influencing as many youth athletes through strength and conditioning as possible.