Transformations and the rebirth of industry have been happening all across western Pennsylvania over the past decade. We’ve seen healthcare, education, and the oil and gas industry lead the way, giving new opportunities to thousands of people who may have lost hope. 

One local business is undergoing a transformation that many will look back on as a watershed moment in health and fitness. Daman’s Strength Training humbly began in a garage in downtown Monaca. After they outgrew that space after a number of years, they moved their operation to a much bigger facility in Beaver. And now, Daman’s Strength Training is transforming the way they operate, using new techniques and best practices that cannot be found anywhere else in Pennsylvania, and hardly anywhere else in the United States. 

That’s because Daman’s Strength Training is now operating under the name of the International Institute of Sport and Movement – Pittsburgh. Owner Rick Daman and coach Shawn Moody have become certified in a new and groundbreaking technique called musculosystematic engineering, or MsE. Moody has left his job as a teacher at the Pittsburgh Technical College to coach full-time at IISM, marrying his teaching background with MsE to deliver some of the best instruction to athletes from Beaver County and beyond. In addition to Daman and Moody, all of the current coaches will go through the educational process to become certified in MsE, a process that can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. “Every coach in our facility has an opportunity to do something special,” said Daman.

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What does this mean for the current athletes who train at Daman’s gym? You can still expect some of the same programs, like the Fit Moms or Ripped Dads program. But the techniques will change. The ability to engineer each athlete will change. And the athletes and clients will noticed a difference…a big difference. Why? Because the only place in the United States where this can be found is in Boston and Florida. Call it the MsE approach.  I took part in a one hour session with Shawn Moody to get a feel for the fundamentals of MsE. I can tell you that it requires a ton of concentration, focus, and discipline. The exercises are harder than they look, but this is a good thing. Your core is totally engaged throughout every movement, your feet are dorsal flexed in a position they aren’t normally in, your hamstrings and quadriceps are firing on all cylinders. And that’s just the warm-up. MsE is literally hard-wiring your brain and muscles to act differently. 

“It’s awesome because when we first started out, I just thought I’d own a garage gym and coach kids,” Daman told me. “But then we grew and grew. We attracted some quality coaches, and eventually moved into a bigger space in Beaver. Most people will just see this as a name change, but it’s not just that. It’s an opportunity to become international which will enable us to help our athletes using those techniques and best practices. We can educate people on MsE. Other than the Boston group, Shawn and I are the only two people outside of that to be certified in MsE. Pittsburgh (our gym) is the first place to become a second institution. We are changing opportunities for people around us.”

The big question many will ask is why? Why would Daman change a successful business model to something that’s relatively unknown? Daman said, “In the realm of sport performance, it has the ability to engineer ANY person, athlete, in ANY condition, and in doing so, develop optimal physical health and elite performance on the field/court/ice. Add to that the fact that the integration of Foot Doctor Technology allows I2SM facilities to replicate sport and position-specific skill needs across the board, enhancing our ability to develop elite skill acquisition that is both sport and position specific.”

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In addition to the aforementioned benefits members will notice, being the International Institute of Sport and Movement (I2SM) will also allow offer MsE-based small group training, 1-on-1 training, and micro evaluations. I2SM will be a trade school for apprentices across the country who want to become educated about MsE. And I2SM Pittsburgh will be able to help other gyms put together health festivals similar to the one held earlier this year in Beaver. 

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Shawn Moody told me, “We’re doing this for two reasons. One, to benefit the current members. To have something brand new and offer additional, stronger training concepts to the people of this county and the Pittsburgh area. And two, to better ourselves as coaches. We’ve increased our education, and made ourselves better people to express that into our population.”

Finally, Daman added, “This is a revolution, a global shift in health, sport, the body, and we want Beaver County to be a part of it.”

Marc is a lifelong resident of Beaver County. A 2001 graduate of Center High School and 2005 graduate of Point Park University, Marc is employed by the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and officiates high school and college football. Follow Marc on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram @marcgrando