Here’s an article that was published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazatte right before our Grand Opening in February 2010.
Blue Jackets’ Umberger opens fitness center in Robinson
It seems like a season of contradictions.
His team is languishing near the bottom of the Western Conference after breaking through to make the playoffs a year ago. He has seen a coaching change. And he got passed over for the United States Olympic squad.
Yet Columbus winger R.J. Umberger is having one of his best NHL seasons.
“It’s hard to have personal success when your team’s not doing well,” Umberger, a Plum native, said this week.
Umberger, 27, has 19 goals, 42 points in 63 games and is on pace to top his career high of 50 points he had two seasons ago while with Philadelphia. He described this as the most consistent season of his career, and a big reason for that is also the reason he is back in town today.
Umberger and his cousin, Scott Umberger, have opened Umberger Performance, a fitness facility near the juncture of the Parkway West and I-79 that will focus on training high-caliber athletes. Scott has been R.J.’s personal trainer since R.J. was 12. Their fathers ran a construction company in Fox Chapel before retiring, and the two younger generation Umbergers have wanted to work together.
“After my second year in Philadelphia, we had a bad year as a team, and, personally, it was my worst year,” Umberger said. “I built a gym in my house. I asked Scott to train me all day. I had good results my third year.”
Scott Umberger has studied training manuals and techniques from all over the world and, while in graduate school at Robert Morris University, wrote his thesis on opening a facility such as Umberger Performance.
Children as young as 10 or 11 can begin training that is non-sport specific, but Umberger also hopes to attract older athletes, including pros from various sports. In the mornings, there will be fitness boot camps for the general public. In addition to traditional weight-lifting equipment, the center has a FieldTurf surface and strongman training equipment such as sandbags and large tires. The facility is at 4573 Campbells Run Road. .
As much as Umberger looked forward to opening the facility, he would rather be in Vancouver heading into the gold-medal game at the Olympics. After spending years in the United States developmental program before he attended Ohio State and then playing in the world championships at the junior and age-group levels, Umberger was not invited to the American orientation camp last summer.
That leaves Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone, a former Penguin player from Upper St. Clair, as the only Western Pennsylvanian on the American team in Vancouver.
Umberger will run his share of the facility mostly from Columbus — unless he becomes the winger the Penguins successfully target before the NHL trade deadline Wednesday.
“I’ve heard the rumors, but my job is to not pay attention to them,” Umberger said. “I’m fully committed to turning things around with Columbus. We’re trying to piece together our season and figure out what went wrong.”