ELITE FT HISTORY
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However, the idea began in October of 2000. At this time, the Founder and Owner, Justin McMillian had just recovered from his 2nd ACL surgery to his right knee. McMillian spent many, many hours training on his own and was fortunate enough to have childhood friend, Jared ‘Iggy’ Embick (Akron University Head Coach) personally train him.
Iggy said, “Having set times, like teams do, forced us to get out and train. I simply personalized the workouts to his needs. He got rewarded for it in the end.” Iggy was right, as McMillian played his final college season in 2001 at SIUE and fulfilled his childhood dreams of becoming an All-American, leading his team to the Final Four and eventually playing professionally.
While training for the pros, McMillian began coaching club soccer and individually training athletes, offering the same service Iggy was giving him. As word spread, McMillian soon became overwhelmed and hired more trainers and named it Elite Futbol Training. Soon, more teams and clubs began approaching Elite FT and it was no longer an individual training company, but also a team training organization and offering camps.
While training for professional soccer, McMillian found a new personal trainer, Tate Merten (his former Granite City High School Athletic Trainer), who was a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. This began a new relationship, as Tate began writing fitness programs for Elite FT for soccer training programs. McMillian and Tate then wanted to offer Elite FT to all athletes. With Tate’s experience, the focus switched from just soccer training to adding speed programs and the program is now named Elite FT, Elite Fitness Training, which offers training to athletes of sports such as basketball, baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, swimming, field hockey and more.
In 2010, McMillian became the General Manager of the indoor facility in Glen Carbon, The Sports Academy. After 3 years of managing the facility, he opened CrossFit 618 inside The Sports Academy with two friends, Jesse (former Steamers teammate) and Casey (former Elite FT athlete) Elmore. After 2 years, CrossFit 618 closed and McMillian opened the Elite FT Training Center & Gym, on November 1st, 2014. After 5 years The Elite FT Training Center and Gym became The Annex powered by Elite FT. The Annex programs include functional fitness classes, boot camp classes, members only hours, personal training, pregnancy & postpartum fitness education, nutrition coaching, and sport-specific training programs for individuals, teams and clubs.
In 2020, the world experienced the Coronavirus Pandemic. The world closed its doors for quite some time. This gave Elite FT the opportunity to examine the company and find ways to improve the programs it offered to the soccer and fitness community. This lead McMillian to create a new company, combining the Speed and Strength (in The Annex) programs, called Youth Fitness powered by Elite FT. This gives athletes the best of both worlds: Strength AND Speed in ONE hour!