When you enter P.R.O. Fitness and Sports Academy (P.R.O.) you’ll discover a world where young people and adults are challenged to exceed their physical and mental capabilities. Once inside, your senses flare up and adrenaline rushes through your veins as you witness professional and non-professional athletes push to overcome their limitations through toil, sweat, and tears. And yet, as they strive to bring their body, soul and mind to physical and mental perfection, these athletes are not alone in their arduous journey. They are always accompanied, taught, and directly supervised by highly trained and experienced coaches.
Derrick Baker and James (Jim) Brinkley are the co-owners of P.R.O. located at 1862 S. Blue Island, in the Heart of Pilsen. Derrick notes, “P.R.O. is more than a gym, it is a place of learning. This is what sets us apart and makes our business unique.” At P.R.O., multiple activities happen simultaneously; personal training, adult fitness classes (FIT training, functional interval training), and sports performance training for athletes ages six to forty. “We have professional athletes who train for the NBA Draft and for U.S. college basketball teams. At P.R.O. you can even find elite athletes working side by side with community residents,” emphasized Derrick.
Derrick believes that personal training has a role in education as well as fitness. “Our ultimate goal is to teach and change the culture through sports – get our clients physically and mentally stronger.” He adds, “Whether you are a community resident who wants to turn your health and fitness around or an athlete who wants to get faster, bigger, and stronger, P.R.O. is the place for you.”
Derrick is convinced that his business can bring positive changes to the community. “It’s my own personal philosophy that through sports, I can change people’s lives for the better. If we can change a child’s life now, in the future that young man or lady can possibly turn around another child’s life, too.”
P.R.O., one of ESDC’s Resilience Fund recipients, was closed for a few months during the height of the pandemic. Derrick shares, “The funding from ESDC helped give scholarships to our young athletes who couldn’t afford to return. It kept the doors open when we came back from COVID-19 and allowed us to bring in some upgrades.”
Although they stretched every dollar, the publicity received from the award even brought in new money from a childhood friend who asked to sponsor two young athletes. Derrick concludes, “I am grateful for the assistance from ESDC. We need more programs that support small businesses in Pilsen.”
For more information on P.R.O. Fitness and Sports Academy or if you are interested in sponsoring a young athlete, please contact Derrick or Jim at 773-231-2776 or profitnessandsports.com.