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Meet Jesse O’Brien of Central Athlete in Austin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jesse O’Brien.

In June 2008, Jesse committed himself to some lofty fitness goals and chose a training program that he believed would work. By January 2011, Jesse was in the best shape of his life. He was stronger, leaner and better-conditioned, and he had forged an indomitable mentality. The only problem was that Jesse had plateaued across all fitness metrics and yet was still hungry for the elusive, initial goal: consistency and congruence across the board. Any progression in a few areas here and there often came at the expense of another benchmark, which slipped back. His lifestyle didn’t always align with his mission.

He began to seek answers and quickly thereafter, found a mentor in James Fitzgerald of OPEX in Scottsdale, Arizona. After years of experimenting, applying, learning and then tweaking the OPEX principles, Jesse established his own fitness entity here in Austin: Central Athlete, which he founded with partner Jeremy Thiel, in 2015.

Central Athlete is the confluence of Jesse’s experiences (both positive and negative), proven strength and conditioning principles and an evolving set of holistic ideas that are centered around the client. Their company was founded with results at the forefront of their vision. They utilize the principles of Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral techniques in the service of their work with clients. Their goal is to walk with individuals as they create their own definition of fitness—one that fits them uniquely—and design a training program that will help them get there through consistent work, mindfulness, implementing sound nutritional practices and, equally important, aligning their lifestyle with their common goals.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The fitness industry does not have a set path for a progress-oriented individual. I have had to pave my own way.

In Austin, most fitness professionals work multiple jobs, spending a good amount of their time driving from appointment to appointment, trying to make ends meet. The average shellfire of a fitness professional is three to five years, because when the realism of life sets in – bills, kids, etc., they move on to another career.

It is my personal mission to change the landscape of fitness, but with this vision, there have been several struggles. For example, we are currently struggling with the Austin real estate market. It is at 98.5% occupancy and 140 new residents moving to the city each day. It has been very difficult to secure a new location in an area of town that works for our clientele, as well as being in line with our business model.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Central Athlete – what should we know?
Central Athlete Individual Design is fitness coaching evolved. As a client, your professional coach customizes every workout specifically for you. Taking careful consideration of your goals and skill level, your coach makes your training purposeful. They deliver and track your workout-results daily, but they also address your nutritional and lifestyle needs to ensure you achieve outstanding results forever. You’ll have fun working out with your friends while enjoying coaching support within a community environment. Individual design is not personal training; it’s not group fitness; It’s the best of both worlds and it’s the last fitness program you’ll ever need.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Consistency. This is one of Central Athlete’s core values, both from a staff perspective, but also a value we place onto our clients. The number one variable associated with long-term fitness progress is consistency, however, that goes a layer deeper and is a construct of an individual’s values. Understanding what client values, and creating a relationship with a coach who can draw the parallels between their deepest values and how fitness is the vehicle towards a more empowering life, is the recipe for success.


  • Remote Coaching – $299 per month

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