Our Team - Wareing's Gym

Meet the Team

John Wareing

John Wareing, took over the family business in 1960 when he opened the very first Wareing’s Gym on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach.The legendary John Wareing touched the lives of thousands of people during his life.He was a fitness guru, war hero, strongman, television personality, police officer, comedian and a driving force in the fitness industry in Virginia Beach. While tough, charismatic and gregarious, he was extremely devoted to his friends and family. Tales of his “crazy” personality are still shared by many of the gym’s long-tenured members. He had such an impact on this city, he was immortalized in bronze and stands watch over the oceanfront at 19th street.

Bob Wareing

December 1, 1950 – February 22, 2001

Robert J. “Bobby” Wareing, eldest son of fitness guru, pugilist and raconteur, John Wareing, entered the world of physical fitness at a young age. A gifted athlete, Bobby achieved success in football, wrestling, weight lifting and later in boxing, winning the Chicago Golden Gloves, before concentrating on expanding the family gym into becoming a national icon.

Wareing’s Gym’s prominence flourished under the leadership of Bobby Wareing, and was recently recognized by being named the “Oldest Gym in America” by Club Insider Magazine.

In the 1990’s, Bobby assumed yet another role, as the trainer and conditioning coach for a young boxing hopeful, Pernell “Sweetpea” Whitaker. Bobby introduced new training techniques, including strength training, plyometric and speed conditioning not heretofore used by the more traditional boxing gyms around the country, but which would later be utilized by boxing camps almost routinely. Under Bobby’s tutelage, Pernell Whitaker became a four-weight world champion, was recognized by Ring Magazine as the best “Pound-for-Pound” fighter over a span of 10 years and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Probably, more than Bobby’s athletic prowess was his ability to bring the best out of the people around him, to help each Gym member achieve their own level of fitness and make everyone feel a part of the Gym. Bobby was a friend to all and always put these friendships ahead of other priorities.

Tragically, in 2001 Bobby Wareing died at the young age of 50 years old, the result of an aortic aneurism.

An old family saying uttered by his father before him…“You can judge a person, not by the clothes they wear…, but by the friends they keep”. Over 2,000 friends showed up at Bobby’s funeral to pay homage to a great man and a great friend.

Mike Wareing

When it comes to carrying on the Wareing legacy, Mike Wareing always knew it was his destiny. Born (not really) and raised in the gym, Mike graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in physical education before going on to acquire 4 more decades’ worth of fitness knowledge. This commitment to perpetual learning has led him to the conclusion that we are victims of our environment and we need each other’s support and encouragement to overcome it. Thankfully, when you have a guy like Mike at a place like Wareing’s, you’ve got all you need to stay strong and healthy.

Tony Wareing

Don’t talk about it. Be about it. That’s Tony Wareing’s philosophy. According to Tony, master the fundamentals before you can build on them. That’s why he believes functional training is so important. Tony teaches our clients how to move well so they can learn to move stronger, faster, better, the right way. Tony tells us he feels like “a lucky son of a gun” for being able to help so many folks over the years. We’re sure our clients feel the same way… we’re ALL lucky to have Tony here with us at Wareing’s Gym.

Jake Wareing

Come for the gains, stay for the love. With a strong focus on what brings us together, Jake knows that the key to whole health is belonging to a gym family that nurtures real human connection. After obtaining his degree from Virginia Tech and serving Wareing’s Gym clients for nearly two decades, Jake knows what works. He says that when it comes to getting results, it’s all about “people helping people.” It’s this positive outlook that shows you can count on Jake (and the rest of the Wareing’s crew) to always be there for you, cheering you on.

Jackie Wareing

Living life to the fullest is what Jackie Wareing is all about. Whether it’s taking charge of Wareing’s “control center” from the front desk or spending time with family and loved ones, Jackie aims to make people’s days a little bit brighter than she found them. After over 4 decades in the fitness biz, Jackie knows all the ins and outs of Wareing’s …and she still shows up with a smile every day!

Maxwell Wareing

Max is a realist. He knows the best workout routine is the one you’ll stick with. Max works with our clients to set achievable fitness goals and make a plan to determine the best way to reach those goals. After becoming a certified Parisi Performance Coach in 2014, Max became the Parisi Performance program director a year later. He enjoys helping youth athletes achieve peak performance while staying safe and having fun. A big fan of deadlifts, he knows that it takes a strong coach to build stronger clients. He also knows that the only thing standing in the way of your goals is… YOU. Start training with Max today.

Janel McGowan

Thanks to her “Navy brat” upbringing, Janel has lived all over the place, from her hometown in upstate New York to growing up in sunny San Diego. However, nowhere could have prepared her for the humidity of outdoor running in Virginia Beach! So Janel decided that she prefers to remain indoors and work on strength or power exercises instead. (We don’t blame her.) After getting a degree in health & fitness from East Carolina University, Janel worked in corporate fitness for the better part of a decade. These days, Janel swears by a mantra of “quality not quantity” when it comes to executing successful fitness plans for our Wareing’s Gym clients.

Jesse Wareing

Jesse Wareing has a secret super power. He knows what it’s like to be a fitness beginner just starting out on their journey, unsure about what to do next. Believe it or not, Jesse didn’t always have all the answers. That’s why his hidden talent is helping clients find where their strengths lie and encouraging them to discover all the amazing things their body is capable of. His biggest belief? If you love it, you’ll stick with it. So Jesse makes sure our clients enjoy themselves while working up a sweat. Like he often says, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. Jesse is living proof!

Sarah McLure Wareing

You already know you’re in great hands at Wareing’s Gym, so we’ll let Sarah Wareing herself let you in on the best advice she can give to anyone looking to get fit: “Surround yourself with positive people who believe in YOU! We will all have times we struggle to have the energy and drive to push ourselves to go find the strongest, healthiest, most courageous version of ourselves. Most times it just takes someone else saying, “You got this” to push yourself to success.” Well said, Sarah.

Teri Twine

If your workout needs some tough love, Teri is the trainer for you. A police dispatcher in a former life, her friendly demeanor and no-nonsense attitude get results. After over a decade at Wareing’s Gym, Teri has the proof to back it up. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Old Dominion University, Teri is a certified personal trainer who is also TRX certified, Spin certified, and CPR certified. (That’s a lot of certifications.) With a penchant for burpees — yes, really! — Teri knows just what it takes to achieve incredible results. No magic pill, just hard work. Show your body some love by getting tough with Teri!

Jimmy Mitchum

Helping people learn to train the right way comes naturally to certified strength and conditioning specialist, Jimmy Mitchum. Growing up playing sports, he’d help coach teammates, friends—even family! Jimmy loves trying lots of different fitness disciplines from CrossFit to yoga to performance training because he believes each one offers a variety of benefits to overall health and fitness. He’s a big believer that you get out what you put in and achieving results means prioritizing rest, recovery and nutrition. At the end of the day, it all comes down to accountability and that’s what Jimmy helps our clients achieve.

JC Warren

You don’t have to have a degree in sociology & counseling to work the front desk at Wareing’s…but it sure helps. JC was looking for a change after having her two boys and deciding she wanted to return to work. One day, she realized that Wareing’s Gym really is her “happy place” so she inquired whether we might have a job for her. Well, it was the perfect fit! JC has been a great addition to our team and she loooves meeting and greeting all of our wonderful members. We’re all stronger for having her here!

Blake Johns

For Blake Johns, it’s the membership community that sets Wareing’s apart from any other gym around, and he’s proud to be part of the team. Blake has been fascinated by human movement & performance since tearing his ACL in high school. A 6-month recovery sparked his interest in fitness, physical therapy and exercise research, along with a lifelong love of helping others reap the benefits. Blake and his wife, Kelsey, moved here in 2019 so she could attend law school at Regent University. That’s when Blake discovered Wareing’s. Once we discovered he had a doctorate in Physical Therapy, a bachelors in Kinesiology and more than 3 years experience as a physical therapist, we just had to bring him aboard. Today, Blake loves helping our members extend their comfortability with exercise, reach their fitness goals and make them “strong like a bull.” Blake was born in Kansas City, earned his bachelor’s at Kansas State and his doctorate in physical therapy from University of Kansas Hospital.

Karla Roth

What Karla loves most about Wareing’s is the people — who create a positive, health-centered atmosphere. Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Karla started greeting members at Wareing’s front desk in 2006. When she became a registered nurse in 2012, Karla shifted to working here mostly on weekends. After the birth of her son in early 2020, we offered Karla a full-time position and thank goodness she took it. It’s her welcoming face members see when they walk through the door. Karla says: “I have met some amazing people here, including my husband. Everyone is so happy to be here. The enthusiasm is contagious.”

Hilliary Kopp

Dedicated to fitness and training since high school as a multi-sport athlete, Hilary found her fitness leader passion in college, when she created goal-based workouts for friends that led to success. From trying several gyms and types of workouts as a traveling high school athlete to studying biomedical engineering at Clemson, she has experienced and learned about different aspects of health over the years — with Wareing’s Gym her first official coaching job in the field. Hilary says: “My favorite part about the fitness world is being surrounded by people who live to help others pursue a healthier lifestyle. Our bodies are with us forever so it’s crucial to take care of them so they can sustainably perform for us.”

Amber Jones

Amber Jones grew up in the gym life. Her dad was a lifelong personal trainer, and to Amber, the supportive family atmosphere at Wareing’s feels just like home. A Level II USA field hockey coach who has been running the Kempsville Field Hockey fitness program for the past eight years, Amber works with the Parisi Speed School at Wareing’s, making sure our youngest athletes develop character along with fitness and athletic skills. She says once young athletes know what they’re capable of, the sky’s the limit. To her, Dr. Suess said it best. “You are you. That’s truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”

Matt Dagostino

“A year from now, you will wish you had started today.” Matt Dagostino always relies on that Karen Lamb quote for inspiration. It reminds him of the power fitness training has to change lives. And helping people reach their goals is what continues to make his job so rewarding. Matt came to Wareing’s from Upstate New York with a Biology degree and certifications in Functional Strength Coaching and Parisi Training. As a baseball player from childhood through college, Matt understands the challenges young student athletes face, and the role fitness training has on their development, performance and character. A year from now, you’ll probably wish you started training with Matt today.

Mary Byrnes

With her enthusiasm for getting blood pumping and heart rates rising, Mary offers the perfect blend of inspiration and expertise in her fitness classes. A Richmond native, Mary has a BS in Health Studies from JMU and is NASM certified as a personal trainer with multiple group fitness certifications, including pilates and indoor cycling. So her expertise runs deep on many levels. But inspiration and encouragement is what she does best. “What brings me joy is helping people become their best and strongest self through movement and exercise.” Get in on one of her classes and you’ll see exactly what she means!

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