By Paul Lonardo
Jason Oldham has a background in exercise science, having received his Bachelor’s degree in Health/Physical Education/Fitness from Rhode Island College. He has worked as a fitness trainer at Bally’s Total Fitness and is a physical education teacher in the town of Bristol. This school district is where he started working with COZ (Community Opportunity Zone), a school and community alliance that provides services and support to children and families. It was at COZ that Jason began developing fitness programs for kids that would help them improve their overall health and fitness. It was something he really enjoyed, but when his wife was expecting their first child, Jason naturally wanted to be home more. The COZ program where he worked was at the school where he taught in Bristol, so he would get home most days around 7 p.m.
Jason began to consider how he might be able to continue to work with kids and be closer to home, so he decided to do some personal training out of his home. After cleaning out his two-car garage, he put some rubber flooring down, bought a squat rack and a set of weights, and Get Large Garage was born. The next step was to find some clients to make it work.
“I ended up picking up one of my first clients after going over to a Lincoln High School baseball game,” Jason said. “I was talking to one of the fathers who knew about what I was doing, and he told me he wanted me to be his son’s trainer.”
The high school ballplayer was Nick Zammarelli, who was a very good player when he accepted a baseball scholarship to Elon University, a Division 1 school in North Carolina.
“The reason why his father wanted him to work out,” Jason said, “was because, while he knew his son was a good hitter, he just didn’t have the size and power some of these other kids at Elon had, so he thought Nick could benefit by putting on some weight and getting stronger.”
Nick began working out with Jason in his garage, and over a relatively short amount of time, the teenage player gained considerable size and strength. Jason says Zammarelli went from being an extra base hitter to an extra base hitter with plus-homerun power, which is something that scouts look at closely when considering high end draft picks.
In 2016, Zammarelli was drafted in the 8th round by the Seattle Mariners and is currently in the Mariners’ minor league system.
“My training with Jay for the past five years has been instrumental to my success at the collegiate level and in professional ball.” Zammarelli says. “Once I committed to Elon University my junior year of high school, I knew I needed to get stronger to compete at the D1 level. What I have learned [there] continues to help me at the pro level also.”
Based a lot on the success seen with Zammarelli, Jason began to get interest from other young athletes who wanted to improve their strength and agility.
“I started to get new kids, and I slowly built up my clientele,” Jason says. “I brought in more equipment, and it got so busy that after about a year and half or two years, I got too big for my garage and had to find a larger, outside location.”
Jason went from working with about a dozen or so clients in his garage to 60 kids who he trains on a regular basis.
“I get a lot of kids who come back from college every year, and there are three who are in professional ball and work at the facility, and clients who go from there all the way down to middle school, starting at around eleven or twelve years old.”
While still called Get Large Garage, Jason’s facility is now located at 101 Higginson Avenue in Lincoln. It is 2,500 square feet, and is open to new clients. The hours are by appointment, afternoons and evenings as well as weekends. All the training he does is in group sessions, usually with no more than eight kids at a time.
Since expanding, Jason now employs an on-staff physical therapist, so when a kid makes an appointment, he or she will first meet with the PT for an assessment. Based on the result of the assessment, each client gets an individualized workout program based on their needs and considerations such as age and level, the particular sport and position played.
“Each person in the group has their own workout regimen they are following,” Jason says. “So a pitcher will have a different workout than a middle infielder. Then I have a guy who plays football at the University of Maryland, and he is doing something completely different as a 290-pound defensive end who is all muscle.”
Education about proper diet and nutrition, which is something that athletes of all levels need to be aware of, is also part of what Jason offers at his facility.
Another one of Jason’s first clients, Matt Kynch says, “For me, Jason has helped me develop the strength necessary to become a Division 1 pitcher at Bryant University. Gaining the strength you need to make it to that next step is essential to player development, and that is what the Get Large Garage provides. It’s truly a great place that is also very family-driven and oriented.”
Jason trains young athletes who play all sports, but he admits he sees more kids who play baseball.
For more information about training with Jason at Get Large Garage call 401-787-5563 or visit https://www.facebook.com/GetLargeGarage/