BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Canfield native Angelo Babbaro is well known for his days as a standout running back for the Cardinals football team.
Now, over a decade later, he’s competing in a different arena, and his local fitness center is taking off across the Valley.
Community and consistency are the two things pillars of the Train Station Fitness Center in Boardman. It’s a 15,000-square-foot facility, located right off the train tracks on Southern Boulevard.
“Being on the train tracks and being a training facility, you know the train station kind of came to fruition,” said Babbaro, founder and CEO of the gym.
He opened the Train Station in 2015 and they’ve grown 25 percent every year. But local football fans remember Babbaro for his role in the Cardinals run to the State Championship game in 2005.
“About my junior year at Canfield, I realized that I had a shot to play at the next level,” he said. “Call it a little bit of self motivation and obviously a lot of motivation from my family. “
Babbaro earned a full-ride scholarship to play football at Villanova, where he went on to win a National Championship with the Wildcats. After college, he returned home but still had that competitive drive, especially when it came to fitness.
“Opening here we really wanted to bring something different to Youngstown… a state-of-the-art facility that had top-notch programming, great coaching and something for the entire family,” said Babbaro. “So predominantly we’re a CrossFit facility, but we also do a youth sports program starting at age five.”
“One of the things I’ve noticed with youth sports is they get a lot of technical training. They play a lot of basketball, get to play a lot of baseball, but sometimes speed and agility is overlooked, and so having the opportunity to work with five years old all the way up through 10 or 12 year olds on, speed and agility stuff is great, and they love it.”
“The Train Station” has over 250 members across two locations — the other in Niles — and it’s expected to add even more programs this fall.
“Our youngest athlete is age five and our oldest athlete is 76. So I hear a lot of the time, ‘I’m too old to do CrossFit,’ or, ‘That stuff’s too intense for me,'” said Babbaro. “But everything we do is scalable and can be modified. If we have some 75-year-olds that can do it, you can do it, too.”