Sand Dunes Strength & Conditioning is Where People Go to Get Results
The first part of my life revolved almost completely around sports. It was ingrained in my families culture and we never missed watching a Green Bay Packers game. Naturally, that love for athletics was passed on to me and I played baseball, basketball and football throughout my youth and high school years. From there, I went on to play some college baseball and up to that point had always been in pretty good shape.
Fast forward 15 years, 2 kids, work and I’ve found it harder and harder to stay in shape and feel good physically. That’s why my recent visit to Sand Dunes Strength & Conditioning in Blue Mountain Beach was so encouraging. I met with the owner, Evan Chelini and was able to film a Saturday morning group training class that you’ll see in our video at the top and bottom of this page.
Having come from a background where I’ve worked with many different coaches and trainers, I can honestly say I was blown away by how professional Evan’s coaching and facility truly is as well as how friendly all the people at the gym were to me, the new guy.
Conversation with Evan Chelini ower of Sand Dunes Strength and Conditioning in Blue Mountain Beach
30A Prime: Please tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today as owner of Sand Dunes Strength & Conditioning here in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
Evan: When I was younger, 15 or 16 years old, I was very overweight and I came from a family that didn’t really prioritize health and fitness. My mother was a nurse so she knew what the health side was but when it came to fitness we weren’t really on the level yet.
So… I got into basic bodybuilding stuff. As I got older I got into martial arts and I fought MMA up in Georgia for a couple years. After that, I moved down to the beach and decided that I wanted to open a business.
At the time I was really affiliated with CrossFit. I opened up the business out of the back of my car. As time has gone on I’ve gained more clients, gained a larger facility and just kind of grown from there. I’ve really found a home in what is known as Human Movement, helping people get out of pain and helping athletes perform better on the field.
30A Prime: Tell us about the open gym schedule and class times here at Sand Dunes Strength and Conditioning.
Evan: We have 3 major class times which are… 6 am, 9 am and 5:30 pm
Around all of those class times, we also have open gym. What this allows is that if you’re looking for more of the group atmosphere… You come in and see the same 10 people every day and you all work together and laugh together and make progress together, then our group atmosphere is the best for you.
If you’re specialized, if you’re interested in chasing the heavier weights, the more technical lifting or you have a specific goal like some of my military guys or some of my younger kids that are trying to make it on varsity… They have the opportunity to come in during our open gym and work on those particular goals outside of the class setting. We have people that come in only for group. We have people that come in and get private programming from me or my coaches and then we have a mix of the two.
So it really depends on your specific needs and goals. Based on that information, we structure a program so that we can be the most effective facility for you.
30A Prime: Many people suffer from chronic back pain, myself included. Please tell us how Sand Dunes Strength & Conditioning can help us eliminate all types of chronic pain.
Evan: Actually, back pain is the number one reason people stay home from work. It’s very complex because there are so many things that fill into that area. When you think about where the back is, if we have some pain there we have to look at… Is it a dysfunction of the top of the leg? Is it a dysfunction of the back of the leg? Is the back pain caused by sitting too much and your hips are tight?
So, to say that one thing will cause all of the back pain would be short selling the whole idea. When I have people with back pain the first thing I check for is… Are they moving well?
If they’re not moving well we get them to move better. If they are moving better and they still have that little bit of tight back, then we start to progress the training to strengthen up anything that might be weak. As we start to strengthen those things, we start to see an improvement in back pain. A couple of my powerlifters had back pain before they started training with me. We got them out of pain and moving better and they are stronger than they’ve ever been.
Another example of how we help people eliminate chronic pain is my fiancee… She had a double rotator cuff tear. She moved down here from Pittsburgh and started working out with me. We addressed her shoulders and pointed out areas where she was weak and she hasn’t had shoulder pain since.
A big part of what our principles operate off of is… Can you do the basic things? Can you squat? Can you push? Can you pull? Do you know where your shoulders are in space? Do you know where your hips are at in space?
As we teach people these fundamental movements, we start to see allot of the issues like back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, all of those things start to vanish as long as the body is moving correctly.
30A Prime: How would someone interested in training at Sand Dunes Strength and Conditioning get started?
Evan: All of our processes start with a relationship. It’s some kind of contact. I have people that contact me through Facebook, a call, shoot me a text. They typically start by coming in for a Free Saturday group class and that starts the relationship building.
The goals that we have are as individual as the people that come through the door. I have people that are very out of shape and they’re just trying to get back to some kind of semblance of health. I have other people that were athletes in high school and college and they want to regain some of that team comradery and athleticism they remember they once had. I have other people that come in, my MLB my NFL players that come in while here for a tune-up and I provide a fresh set of eyes to see things. Additionally, we have members here that are competitive weightlifters and powerlifters and they are really just trying to be as strong as they can for competitive sake.
So to say that we specialize in just one thing would not be accurate. We do specialize in better human movement but not at the expense of giving up your goals to just have that one thing.
30A Prime: Please talk about the role that proper nutrition plays in overall health and fitness.
Evan: We talk about a 3 pillar system. The first pillar is exercise or training. We refer to exercise here as training because exercise is going out and getting sweaty. Training is having a goal. Our second pillar is nutrition and our third pillar is recovery.
If you have just one of those pillars and you’re forgetting about the other two, then you’re ultimately going to be limited and you’re not going to be as effective as you otherwise would. Talking about nutrition, it’s a lot like driving a car. If you try to drive your car and you don’t put the right fuel in it, it’s not going to run well. If you try to drive your car a distance and you don’t put enough fuel in it, you’re going to suffer there as well.
So when we talk about nutrition, we actually have coaches here that handle all the nutrition for many of our performing athletes as well as people that are looking for specific body composition goals. Changing fat loss, toning up, building muscle there’s a lot of different words used but if you don’t have that pillar of nutrition you’re ultimately hamstringing your progress in the long-run.
30A Prime: What makes Sand Dunes Strength & Conditioning unique from other 30A gyms?
Evan: When I first moved into the area I was known as the CrossFit guy. I came from a CrossFit gym, I worked as a CrossFit coach and we were called a CrossFit gym for a while. I wanted to challenge that expectation…
I wanted to let people know that what we are doing here at Sand Dunes Strength and Conditioning is different, that what we’re doing is very special and custom. You used the word ‘custom’ and it’s a really good fit for us just because we treat every single person as an individual. We treat every single person with their own background. Whether they were a baseball player or a swimmer or a professional violinist or they played volleyball or maybe they’ve done nothing at all…
Every single person, treated as an individual along with their specific goals, get different treatment as they come in. There’s no reason for me to train a 40-year-old mother of 3 the same way I’d be worried about training an MLB player. The demands are different. I honestly believe that we offer the most effective, the most custom solution for fitness goals and sports performance in this area.
I encourage you, wherever you’re at with your fitness, wherever you’re at with your goals, contact us and see how we can help you. Even if we don’t bring you in for training we have plenty of people in the area that can meet your specific goals and we can make sure that you get the help, guidance, coaching and the support that you need.
Sand Dunes Strenght & Conditioning is located just off of Hwy 98 in Blue Mountain Beach next to South Walton Athletics and Training Center.