by Kevin Owens

As I sat in the plane on my way down to Tampa, watching The Road Warriors wrestling DVD my friend Mike let me borrow, I began to realize what an incredible opportunity I had in front of me.  This was my first assignment as an actual “journalist”. I was flying down to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fl to be put through a test developed by both IMG and Under Armour, entitled Combine 360. I was one of only four journalists invited down who would be put through the Combine360 Basketball Workout. Now usually I handle pressure fairly well on the basketball court, however I was no longer there.  This was new, exciting and a little intimidating, especially when you consider the other journalists who were brought in: ESPN, AOL Fanhouse and Stack Magazine. I was just one of many contributing bloggers from SLAM Online. How did I get so lucky? I am guessing my basketball prowess and amazing basketball training skills had something to do with it.ua-logo

Once I arrived on campus, I had one thought: IMG Academy is amazing! If you have never been here before, it is a little hard to find words to describe it. How about: “Athletic Factory”. Driving through the campus I was immediately blown away by both the massive size and the technologies throughout.

Shortly after settling into my room I met up with both my fellow journalists and the public relations team and headed to the Combine 360 Welcoming Dinner. Now this week is set up to teach and certify trainers from around the country in the Combine 360. That is why it was not a surprise when I walked into a room filled with hundreds of personal trainers. I was anticipating all of them calling me “pencil neck” while I did push up after push up, but that was not the case.

While at dinner I was introduced to some amazing people and incredible technologies that Under Armour and IMG have teamed up on. I met Steve Hess, the strength and conditioning coach for the Denver Nuggets and Todd Durkin, the head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council. When I asked the two how difficult tomorrow would be, they both smiled and nodded. That’s a sure fire way to spot a great trainer.

At this dinner I was also introduced to Armour Bite, a performance enhancing mouth piece developed by Under Armour. The science behind this product is state of the art.  I will discuss Armour Bite in a future post, and I will be getting fit for one tomorrow. The fact that “The Rocket” Raghib Ishmael gave it his seal of approval also helped.

After dinner a fellow journalist and I took a walk around campus.  Even in the dark you were able to see how state of the art this place was. We only made it to the weight room, basketball arena and tennis facility due to the vast size; but what we saw was incredible.  Several different types of tennis courts, an enormous basketball facility and the most state of the art gym I have ever seen.  The athletes both young and old who train at this facility are fortunate.

So I am now off to bed, anxious to wake up and be put through a rigorous workout that may or may not end with me vomiting.  Join me tomorrow as I take you through Day 2 at the IMG/Under Armour Combine 360 Symposium.