Takedown Blog

Takedown Blogs

Takedown Blog – March 2022

Title: THE INTIMIDATION FACTOR: 5 Tips to Soothe your Fears about Joining a Gym

Everybody has their “first day” at a new gym. Whether they’re a high school athlete, an ex-professional baseball player, a teacher of twenty-four years, or a stay-at-home mother of four—everybody has their first day in the gym, and it can be intimidating. There are loud machines, people looking all jacked and in shape, and not to mention they look like they know what they’re doing. At Takedown Gym, we’re aware that everybody has their first day or return day, and we’re here to help you find your place. If the wall-to-wall mirrors and sets of free weights have you a little nervous, here are five things to help soothe your fears.

1. It’s Not Just in Your Head.

Gym intimidation is real. People are coming into a common space to push themselves, and what if they sweat and others see them? What if you use a machine that you actually don’t know how to use? What if you try to lift something and discover halfway through that you can’t lift it? Everybody feels this way and gets somewhat anxious about pushing themselves while others are in the same space, worried about how they will appear. Remind yourself that everybody feels this way.

2. Nobody is Watching You.

Think about it: if everyone is concerned that others are watching them, there’s a high probability that they’re all just thinking of themselves—not everybody else. This part is all in your head. If you walk up to a new machine to see how it works, the whole gym will not stop what they’re doing to pause and laugh at you. They’re worried about their own #gainz, so remember that—everybody else thinks about themselves, too.

3. Come with a Plan.

Plenty of pre-made workouts exists online. If you aren’t sure what to do in the gym, just research one online tailored to your goals and bring it with you. Or, if you want personal assistance, ask a personal trainer to do a practice session with you. Either way, you’ll feel much less anxiety while scanning from the free weights back to the lat-pulldown machine if you enter with a written-out plan.

4. Skip the Rush Hour.

There’s no doubt about it—the after-work rush hour between 4:30-7:00 p.m. is our busiest time. If the packed parking lot has you feeling extra anxious, maybe try less busy times such as early to mid-morning or after the rush hour in the evening.

5. Ask for Help.

Suppose you find yourself unsure how to use a machine, how to use the lockers (why isn’t it locking? I put the code in!), or lacking understanding of all the amenities available at the gym, just ask someone working at the front desk or running around the gym reppin’ our staff shirt. We are here for you, and we’re happy to help.

Those are our top five tips to help you step through the intimidation factor and toward a healthier, happier you. Our gym hours are as follows: Monday-Thursday 5:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Friday 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

As always, we’re here to build a culture around wellness, so let us know if it’s your first time to the gym or you’re returning after a little hiatus; we’re looking forward to meeting you.


Takedown Blog – October 2021

Title: Challenge Yourself & Your Body – Try a New Class at Takedown

Have you ever attended one of Michelle’s Chiseled or Inferno Strong classes? How about her Barre, Boot Camp, or Friday Funday classes? Michelle has a stacked weekly schedule, teaching two classes before the sun rises on a typical Tuesday. The style of each class is different; however, her philosophy is the same—to invite playfulness into the gym and create new friendships.

“All of the trainers at Takedown have their own personalities and differences that make them special,” Michelle said. “I bring playfulness. I think we could all use a little more fun in our lives.”

But that doesn’t mean her classes are easy. Michelle’s noon Friday Funday class is arguably one of the gym’s toughest. Michelle says there is nothing off-limits in Friday Funday, including cardio, heavy lifting, and circuits. Her main objective is to lead participants towards a mindset of positivity while pushing them to their limit (and then maybe just a little beyond that limit, you know, to see what’s possible).

“We work hard, but we have fun,” Michelle said. “We get to be such great friends, and as a trainer, you get to see people that you may not know outside of the gym what they do for a living or if they have kids, but by watching them work, you get to see their grit and perseverance level.”

Takedown Gym, we’ve heard, can be intimidating. It’s the top training facility in the Brainerd Lakes Area, with elite athletes consistently sharing the space with a wide range of community members seeking various health goals. The community, however, is one that was built on the concept of support. No matter if you’re an 18-year-old training two to four hours a day to reach athletic goals, or you’re a 50-year-old attending two classes a week to maintain fitness or lose weight, we’re here to build our entire community stronger.

Trying new classes can also be intimating. You may not know what to expect or if you’ll like it. You always have the option to scale your workouts back, and every trainer at Takedown knows what it’s like to be the new person. They were all new to their classes at one time too. Our trainers are there to help you. As for Michelle’s funky-named classes, she says just pop in during her sessions.

Each of her courses takes a little different format. Jacked Up, for example, is an interval, format-based class. Interval training is timed training. Each set lasts thirty seconds. The class begins slow and builds as it goes, moving from lower body exercises to upper body exercises, and ends with a metabolic finisher—burning calories at an accelerated rate and increasing your heart rate or VO2 max.

“The format for Jacked Up I got from working at a prestigious health gym in California called Equinox. The trainers there were really supportive and elite. I can now use some of those things I learned in my classes at Equinox and implement them here at Takedown.”

We encourage those a little nervous about our classes to ask a Takedown employee for more information about them, or, for Michelle’s classes, just take a little peek! She might welcome you to join right in, and you’ll be happy you tried something new. Remember, we were all the new person at one point. You’re in great company

Takedown Blog – September 2021

Educational Employees – Have a Month on Us

Hey! Teachers, administrators, janitors, substitute teachers, cooks, bus drivers… we’re offering ONE MONTH FREE to all educational employees. Show your I.D or other proof of your educational employment before Halloween, October 31, 2021, to receive ONE MONTH FREE access to our state-of-the-art wellness community. This includes access to our restorative and (challenging!) yoga classes, boxing classes, BeatBoss™ cycling classes… you name it. You have all of it, unlimited and free, for one month.

Why are we offering this right now? Because we get it. Starting back to school again, especially with masks and new COVID policies, can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. At Takedown Gym, we believe in taking a community-minded approach. Our passion is training, whether it’s for hockey players in the off-season or simply surviving the school year. We are warriors, all of us.

Even if you choose not to take advantage of our offering, we’re here to support you and your health. Here are four simple things you can do to have a healthier beginning to a new school year.

1. Put Yourself First – Right now is the time to set yourself as a priority. It’s a fresh school year. Accept it as a new opportunity to prioritize your health.

2. Schedule It – Sit down with your calendar for the next 3-6 months and write down the days you are committing to getting into the gym, going for a hike, or doing something else active. Is it every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 am? Or Monday and Wednesday at 6:00 pm? The time doesn’t matter. It just matters that you show up.

3. Hire a Personal Trainer- Look, we know it can be hard to stick to your own workout schedule. Hiring one of our certified personal trainers will help you reach your health goals faster and more efficiently. Learn more about Takedown’s personal trainers here. Ask for Bronson to find the right trainer just for you!

4. Breathe – When it gets to be too much, take 3 minutes to just sit there and breathe. Maybe it’s at your desk, in the hallway, or before taking a bite of your lunch, just take a moment to inhale, exhale, and repeat.

We hope these simple but essential wellness tips will help you begin the year feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the year. Call our front desk (218) 454-1770 or visit us off of Highway 371 to receive a free month on us, any time before October 31, 2021. Thank you for what you do!

Takedown June Blog #7

Bootcamp (and yoga) on the Beach at Madden’s

Imagine getting all of the benefits of our Takedown Bootcamp class while enjoying lakeside views. It’s possible, and it’s happening. The best part? You could be a part of it…for FREE!

Madden’s Resort owner Ben Thuringer and Takedown Gym manager Joe Ciardelli have teamed up to offer Takedown members and those staying at Madden’s resort the free Bootcamp classes. Every Saturday beginning Memorial Day, meet at Wilson Bay Beach at 8:30am to participate.

Our commitment to Takedown Gym is to welcome community members and offer an exceptional wellness experience that’s challenging and fun. We believe that working out can (and should) be fun. That’s why we’ve partnered with Madden’s Resort.

If you choose to attend, be ready for sand, sweat, sun and getting wet. This event is kid-friendly, and we provide all of the equipment and trainers. Which trainer will be attending? Depending on which Saturday you show up, you will find Michelle McMahon, Jess Longhurst, Ellen Fussy or Joe Ciardelli.

The second portion of this partnership that we’ve added this year is beachside yoga. Imagine sun salutations synchronized with the rising lakeside sun. You won’t be asked to run stairs, do push-ups in the grass or anything wild like Bootcamp class. Madden’s Resort has its own yoga instructors, and we are mixing a few into the summer schedule of our own Takedown Gym staff including Emilee Struss and Ellen Fussy. Please bring your own mat.

Yoga will be offered at different times throughout the summer, so make sure to check out our schedule for the next one available. Save your spot on the Takedown Gym App or online at takedowngym.com

We will be there-on the beach-rain or shine. Be prepared to work hard, have fun and enjoy the beautiful views that only Gull Lake can provide.

Takedown Blog : Rock Steady Boxing

Fighting Parkinson’s One Punch at a Time


If you happen to be at Takedown Gym on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, you might notice a trail of people entering with walkers, canes, and thick, red boxing gloves. This was the sight of Jerry Bergstrom, a Rock Steady Boxer for over three years.


Jerry says his father wanted him to be a Golden Gloves boxer where he grew up in Wahpeton, Minnesota. “I told him I didn’t want to fight because that looks like it hurts!” Today he gets to fight against an opponent he never thought he’d have to face—Parkinson’s Disease.


Takedown Gym hosts one of over 870 Rock Steady Boxing affiliate programs around the world. Rock Steady Boxing is designed specifically to work on mobility, building strength, mental sharpness, and creating a supportive community. The class has spread fast to help the growing number of individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease each year.


Lynda and Michael Erickson have been trainers at Takedown for four years. Lynda was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease over nine years ago. “It has been proven that exercise is the most important thing for recovery,” Lynda said during class Tuesday night, holding up her boxing gloves and waiting for the next round of instruction.


These aren’t simple instructions. Mike, the trainer, yells out, “Elbow, backpedal, six…” All of the participants, a room of about 12 individuals, follow along as best they can. Some are seated in chairs, and others are standing. There is no right or wrong way to do it—the only thing one needs to do is show up and participate.


Lynda makes the class engaging with a beginning ice-breaker question to get to know the group better, a warm-up, and a cool-down. There can be as many as four trainers working with one Rock Steady Boxing class, which is slim for the necessary support.


“I don’t usually attend classes,” Takedown Gym Manager Joe Ciardelli said, “But I always attend this one to help out with activities and just be there for support. It’s a different sort of class that’s really inspiring to be a part of.”


Rock Steady Boxing is hosted every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:45-3:45 pm. If you’re looking for ways to help, Takedown is looking for extra volunteers to assist the boxers during the class. For more information about Rock Steady Boxing, visit rocksteadboxing.org.


To register for a Rock Steady Boxing class at Takedown, call 218-454-1770 or check out our schedule online at takedowngym.com.

Takedown Blog : Summer Athlete Training Program

Are you interested in bringing your athletic performance to a new level in the “off season”? Summer time is where champions are made, and at Takedown Gym, we’re prepared to build the best champions in the area.

Regardless of what sport you are in, Takedown’s Summer Athlete Performance Training program will help athletes improve on 90% of what they can do. The other 10% is sport-specific, things like improving a curveball throw in baseball. At Takedown, we improve overall athleticism, including strength, speed, first-step quickness and explosiveness.

Trainers Joe Ciardelli and Mike Holtan offer high performance training accessible to athletes entering 7th grade through college. The classes are free to Takedown members and only $120 for non-Takedown gym members for the entire summer starting June 1st and ending August 27th, 2021.

Students have four times to choose from: Monday-Friday (6:45am-7:45am, 12:00pm-1:00pm, 1:00pm-2:00pm), and Monday-Thursday (4:00pm-5:00pm). Once signed up, athletes can take as many classes as they want in a single day. Some athletes attend all of them.

Joe Ciardelli has worked with hundreds of professional athletes in the NHL, NFL and NBA. His expertise in working with high performance athletes is next to none offered in the Brainerd Lakes Area. If you catch Joe walking around Takedown, he can share many success stories-such as Josh Archibald from Brainerd High School. Joe started working with Josh when he was a sophomore in high school, and he is now a professional hockey player.

Josh Archibald played for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the Stanley Cup in 2017, and during his time with the trophy, he brought it to Takedown Gym.

“That success story is uncommon”, Joe said “But that’s just it, to make it to that level, you have to know how work really, really hard.”

Josh was willing to work hard before he met Joe and their performance training took his already hard working mindset to the next level.

“Josh is a great example because other people told him that he wasn’t good enough”, Joe said. “He wasn’t big enough, strong enough…and that he should play a different sport.”

Today, there is a framed photo of Josh holding the Stanley Cup in Joe’s office at Takedown. Josh is a wonderful success story. However, the main goal of the Summer Athlete Performance Training program is to build hard working people.

“There’s a reason why professional athletes transition well into other careers”, Joe said. “They’re already hard workers”.

Hard work pays off, and it’s accessible to every type of athlete in the Brainerd Lakes Area looking to take their training to the next level. Will you “take the summer off” or show up and get #takedowntraining?

Register at takedowngym.com or call 218-454-1770.

#takedowntrained is our official hashtag of the summer. Make sure to tag us in your athletic journey on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Blog : Jocai Bowls & Nutrition Bar

While Takedown Gym is the premier gym in the Brainerd Lakes Area for fitness, it also offers organic smoothies and acai bowls called ” Jocai Bowls”. Available for Takedown members and non-members, and anyone else who decides to stop by Takedown Gym.

Jocai bowls are a little personalized spin on the ever popular buzzword that is “acai”. Jocai bowls started as the project of owners Sean and Kelly Kramer’s daughter, Josie Kramer. They blended her name “Josie” with “acai” and created “Jocai”. Takedown has three bowls available:

The Gratitude Bowl Our most popular bowl by a landslide-The Gratitude Bowl has acai, strawberry and banana blended together topped with granola, fresh strawberries, bananas, blueberries, chia seeds, coconut and almond butter drizzle.

The Cloud 9 Bowl Created with blue majik, mango, banana and pineapple blended and topped with granola, fresh blueberries, bananas, goji berries, cacao nibs and almond butter drizzle.

The Powerhouse Bowl Chia seeds, vanilla, blue majik and coconut milk topped with granola, fresh strawberries and slivered almonds.

All our bowls can be customized with multiple fillings and customized toppings with our “build your own” option.

Acai: The healthiest berry on the planet. Acai berries are high in antioxidants, calcium, fiber and vitamin A. They help reduce inflammation and improve digestive, cellular and immune health.

Blue Majik: Also known as “spirulina”, blue majik is a truly magical freshwater algae or seaweed that’s high in antioxidants and has a complete amino acid profile. Is rich in protein, vitamins A & B, iron and copper.

Cacao Nibs: A highly nutritious chocolate product made from crushed cocoa beans. Cacao nibs are high in antioxidants and help to reduce inflammation, heart disease and diabetes risk.

Chia Seeds:  Native to central and southern Mexico, these all-stars are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica, a plant in the mint family. They contain large amounts of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and essential minerals and antioxidants. Chia seeds improve digestive health and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Goji Berries: A stand out in Chinese medicine, Goji berries are high in vitamins A & C, antioxidants and have anti-aging benefits.

The shake part of our nutrition bar at Takedown has popular flavors, including Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana, Mixed Berry, PB&J, and Blueberry Cheesecake. All drinks have an option to add protein: Takedown’s brand of whey protein or Organifi Progein as a vegan friendly option. The only smoothie available is the all-star “Green Machine” drink with avocado, spinach, romaine, lemon and fresh mint. The purest of all the drinks at Takedown.

Takedown’s nutrition bar is growing in popularity as community members discover that it’s available to more than just our members. Anyone can call Takedown Gym to order a bowl, shake or smoothie to pick up or enjoy fireside next to our nutrition bar.

Blog : Personal Training

Personal training is only for high performance athletes, right? Wrong! Takedown’s three personal trainers on staff include Bronson Shepherd, Jessica Longhurst and Jordan Maucieri. They are available to lead clients through personalized programs to help anyone interested in reaching higher fitness goals.

Bronson is the Director of Personal Training at Takedown Gym and explains his methodology as simple as this: safely taking muscles to the point of complete exhaustion. “I think everyone needs a personal trainer because you can go work out at the gym, but you won’t push yourself as hard as if someone is challenging you, ” Bronson said. All of the personal trainers at Takedown are motivated to help you reach your goals, but their number one priority is safety; to challenge the body and mind safely.

Most clients begin their personal training journey with a body composition test using a Tanita scale. This can be a little intimidating, so think of it less as a judgment tool and more of exactly what it is-a measurement tool for you to watch your own progress.

After working with hundreds of people of different ages and body types, Bronson says there are a few things that are helpful for everyone stepping foot into a gym to understand.

  1. Cardio isn’t the best way to lose weight. Many people come to Takedown and go right to the treadmill or stair stepper, and while cardio is great for your heart and increasing your C02 max-you actually stop burning calories. When you work your muscles, you keep burning calories long after you leave the gym.
  2. You don’t need to be in the gym for hours. Instead of carving out two hours in your day to work out, you can train the muscles twice as hard in half the amount of time if you do more faster routines by pushing muscles really hard in one set vs four or five sets.
  3. Personal training is for every body (type). Every single body type and individual that comes to the gym, no matter where you’re starting from, is a great candidate for personal training.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others. This seems obvious, but it deserves an extra mention. It can be tempting to look around at others in the gym and decide that you aren’t good enough or worthy of having a personal trainer. This is false and will always be false! Don’t compare yourself to others and YOU ARE WORTH IT!
  5. It shouldn’t be easy. In order to change the body, you need to challenge the body. This ain’t no daisy walk in the park. Our personal trainers know exactly how to max out your muscle groups to break down muscle fibers so you can come back stronger.

One of Bronson’s favorite clients is a 77-year old man who came to him with back pain in August of 2019. They are still working together today, and his back pain has disappeared; he continues to work on new fitness goals. If you’re interested in learning more about personal training at Takedown, call us at 218-454-1770 and ask for Bronson, Jess or Jordan at the gym. Your first consultation and personal training workout is always FREE!

Blog : Let’s talk Himalayan Salt Rooms

If you thought the pinkish tone of the wall in the sauna was simply one of the owner’s favorite color choices, think again! Takedown’s new saunas (just opened in February 2021) are Pink Himalayan salt saunas. Wondering the health benefits of adding Pink Himalayan salt are? It’s called “Halotherapy” and there are just a few.

Pink Himalayan Salt is known for being the purest salt on earth and extremely rich in minerals. It’s a natural detoxifier of the body and the surrounding air. It creates a warm, inviting glow that aids in relaxation. Saunas originated in Finland are are used all over the world as a therapeutic process to relieve stress and tension. Our sand-timers max out at fifteen minutes, but you might find it hard to remain in the sauna past five minutes. So, what are the actual benefits of regularly visiting the salt rooms?

  1. Releases Toxins Using a sauna specifically with Pink Himalayan salt releases toxins in the body stored in fat tissues and can prevent weight loss. These toxins include heavy metals and  fat soluble chemicals like PCBs, PBBs and HCBs.
  2. Increases Circulation Heat causes your blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow and improves elasticity. The added heat also makes your heart work harder, which pulsates more blood throughout your body. The long-term benefits of this include improved heart rate variability and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Boosts Mood The main reason you feel good after sweating is that it releases endorphins. Endorphins are “feel good” chemicals in the brain, which help your body relax and release tension.
  4. Go For The Glow Regular visits to the sauna can improve skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne. It stimulates blood circulation in your skin, which may help boost your skin’s ability to produce collagen and sweats out toxins from makeup, pollutants, heavy metals and alcohol.
  5. Assists in weight Loss Yes, just sitting there will actually help you lose weight. Saunas are proven to increase your metabolism. Spending 15 minutes in the sauna will allow you to burn 1.5 times the calories you would sitting anywhere else, which can be up to 500 calories in one session.

While there are many benefits to halotherapy and enjoying time in the sauna, there are some health risks. It’s ill advised that you spend more than twenty minutes in the sauna at one time. Make sure to drink plenty of water and give your body proper resting time after using the sauna.

The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you’re feeling overheated at ten minutes, honor how you are feeling and come back to enjoy the sauna another day. All of our efforts at Takedown Gym are to improve your well-being, and halotherapy is one more thing we can offer to help you reach your wellness goals.


Blog : Let’s talk BeatBossTM

Takedown is getting all new Keiser bikes in our state-of-the-art studio, where we have seven certified BeatBoss TM instructors trained in a science-based “ride to the rhythm” indoor cycling certification.

Have you attended one of our BeatBoss TM indoor cycling classes? Approved through ACE, AFAA, and NASM, BeatBoss TM  bridges the gap between “road style” and “party on the bike” styles of indoor cycling classes. All of our cycling trainers are certified in BeatBoss TM methodology that uses music as the foundation of the class.

Co-owner Kelly Kramer was the first BeatBoss TM cycle instructor at Takedown. She was nervous to start teaching at first, but once she got her BeatBoss TM certification, it gave her a foundation to build her classes around. There are now seven certified BeatBoss TM trainers at Takedown: Kelly Kramer, Laureen Boran, Cassandra Brodin, Danielle Shaw, Kelsi MacLaughlin, Molly Kurtzman, and Michelle Rodahl. Each instructor has their own style-so we recommend trying a few different classes to see which one fits you best. Learn more about our trainers on our staff page!

At Takedown Gym, we believe in providing the highest quality facility, training, and service to our members. Before Takedown had a cycle studio, the owners traveled to other studios across the United States to study what works best. They took the parts that worked and left behind the parts that weren’t working. Our cycle studio room is one of the first rooms you see upon walking into Takedown. The four-tier design makes viewing the instructor easy for all riders. It is equipped with an Airus Air & Surface Purification system that kills over 90% of airborne bacteria and viruses, along with reducing odor by 90%, and is continually providing fresh air to our riders. We have a Protexus sprayer system that reaches up to 3X more surfaces in the same amount of time it would take with buckets, rags and wipes.

When you walk into the cycle studio, you’ll notice some foam blocks on the walls. Those are for absorbing sound, so there is no echo. From our top-of-the-line sound system to the brand of bikes we choose, it’s our job to provide the highest quality of experience for you. In the upcoming weeks, we will have an entirely new set of Keiser indoor cycling bikes.

Our story began with a narrow vision and has grown to include many other fitness styles. We have come along way starting with just wrestling, which we still have an amazing program! More on that later! Did you know your first class is on us? Try it out and see what you think! Schedule a class on our app or give us call!

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