Greg Monaco, son of a welder for a Hingham Steel company has built a new on-the-go exercise machine.
Monaco drives exercise routines out of non-traditional equipment started in his childhood home on Elmlawn Road in Braintree, where as an athlete with an injury and unable to attend practice, he began to pump out pushups and situps and used the rafters for chin-ups.
Later, at Temple University studying Kinesiology – the examination of human movement – Monaco created similar workouts at the rowhouse he lived in off campus while competing on the school’s NCAA Division 1 gymnastics team.
That passion for developing workouts that suit people’s actual lifestyles and exercise requirements has led Monaco to found a business called Mobile Fitness Systems that offers customized training to individuals, groups, teams and organizations.
Monaco’s equipment – a patent-pending apparatus built into a pickup truck – is a break from the “stuffy, stinky gym,” he said in an interview. “It’s outside, breathing in the fresh air, soaking up the sun.”
There are three different categories to Mobile Fitness Systems, each designed around a different theme. Mobile Cross Training (MXT) uses bodyweight, free weights and cardio exercises for those looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle or increase their fitness level.
Gymnastics Cross Training (GXT) combines gymnastics strength and conditioning drills with cross training, incorporating a variety of exercises like P90x. And Power Cross Training (PXT) focuses on the kinds of exercises and tasks required of high-level athletes, law enforcement officers, firemen, military personnel and other professionals.
Each uses all or part of a truck-based exercise machine that Monaco created with the help of his father Paul, a welder for his father-in-law’s Hingham steel company. The construction progressed “organically,” Monaco said, as he figured out what exercises could be done using at first a 1998 Dodge Dakota and later a Ford F150.
The truck, Monaco said, is a tool that is adaptive to the “hustle and bustle” society we live in and helps overcome the obstacles many people face when trying to maintain regular gym attendance, such as getting there before or after work or during lunch breaks.
Manager and program director Dan Berlin and/or Monaco bring the truck to individuals and groups, sometimes at an office and often in someone’s driveway. Monaco has also staged workouts with Braintree athletes, including a group of 20 high school girls soccer players last summer.
Monaco, a coach at the Ellis School of Gymnastics, was a three-sport athlete, attended St. Francis, East Middle School and Braintree High School, and started focusing solely on gymnastics when he enrolled at Temple University. There he was the co-captain of the gymnastics team, learning to lead his teammates with energy and passion, something Monaco said serves him well as a trainer.
At Springfield College studying for his M.Ed. in Clinical Exercise Physiology, Monaco was a graduate assistant gymnastics coach and developed knowledge about how exercise can help people overcome their physical ailments. After graduating, he went on to become a personal trainer at the Weymouth Club and an exercise physiologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
Ultimately, Monaco said he would like to see Mobile Fitness Systems franchises around the country as he works up the ladder from his everything role – entrepreneur, technician, trainer, manager – to taking a more singular leadership position.
“It has been my attempt from the start to create the look and feel of a sleek modern training apparatus unlike any you would use or see in a gym,” Monaco writes on his blog. “Some call it the pain train, the jungle gym, mobile gym, or my favorite…the muscle truck.”