Be Well: At this Local Clinic, You No Longer Have to Be an Athlete to Train Like One

Formerly exclusive to professional sports teams like the Minnesota Freeze and Minnesota Vixen, the Human Performance Center at Northwestern Health Sciences University has officially opened its doors to the general public.

By Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

Local pro athletes want to let you in on a not-so-little secret that helps them go for the gold. It has nothing to do with Olympian-like mindsets or idiosyncratic pre-game rituals or diet plans—and everything to do with a faceless facility, tucked away within the property of Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) in suburban Bloomington. A premier destination for the pros, it’s an interdisciplinary sports medicine clinic called the Human Performance Center (HPC). And as of this month, the clinic has officially opened its doors to the general public, extending its sports authority to individuals of all athletic abilities. For the first time since the HPC launched in 2014, you don’t have to be an athlete to train like one.

“The HPC was originally designed for not only student use, but also for athletes from amateur and pro sports teams,” says Andy Klein, Director of HPC. Klein said the calibre of these teams don’t generally hit the radar of major sports buffs, but instead are revered within their own right—like the Minnesota Freeze (a United States Australian Football League team), the Minnesota Ultimate (one of the largest and most respected ultimate frisbee programs in the United States), and the Minnesota Vixen (the longest continuously operating women’s tackle football team in the nation).

Thanks to a saturated landscape, it’s getting harder for fitness clubs and training facilities to have a tightly-defined niche or value proposition. Klein says the HPC has always been in a league of its own, thanks to the university’s built-in substratum of experts. “I think a lot of centers are multi-disciplinary these days, which means they will be staffed with medical doctors, chiropractors, and etcetera, but they may not be communicating with each other to the full scope of the client’s situation and her needs,” he says. “At HPC, clinicians from different disciplines communicate with each other regularly for the client’s benefit.” Think of it like a physician rounds at a hospital, where a group of docs, nurses, residents, and other team members come together regularly to coordinate care for a patient and determine the best course of action. That kind of individual attention is what clients can come to expect in their visits.

Shayan Sheybani, director of clinical services, underscores just how essential this method is to helping clients reach their potential for strength and endurance. “The HPC differentiates itself from regional fitness clubs by providing one-to-one and small group supervision, ensuring quality individualized attention for its client,” she says. Another key advantage? The academic difference lent by NWHSU. “The trainers are teaching experts providing the latest training methods to help ensure the best outcomes for HPC clients.”

HPC is an evidence-based clinic, meaning it evolves its programming as research in the field evolves. “Research is coming out about how important exercise is for our mental abilities, where it seems to have an effect on slowing down or diminishing dementia,” Klein adds. “We’re learning that being physical can physically change the brain.” Something the roster of experts could eventually incorporate into their individualized plans for clients.

If the prospect of getting physical among the occasional sports champ makes you want to run (as in, the opposite direction), rest assured that the clientele at HPC is a melting pot—no matter your ability, you’ll be in good company. “When we talk fitness with a client, they all have different goals,” says Klein. “Sure, it can include athletic performance. But it can also be reducing your vulnerability to injury, due to aging. Maybe you’re an adult that no longer has the strength to pick up your own grocery bags … it’s all of this, and it could also just be weight management.”

Per NWHSU’s website, the small group strength and conditioning program is an 8-week program designed to improve your performance and meet individualized goals. This includes, but is not limited to: Professional instruction from a certified strength and conditioning coach; well-rounded training that includes mobility, agility, general cardiovascular, plyometric, power, and additional strengthening exercises; and tailored programming.

Its one-one-one rehabilitation and treatment program includes six rehabilitation sessions designed to address nagging injuries or problems that impact your training and performance, replete with a full examination from a Doctor of Chiropractic, chiropractic treatments, and guided rehab exercises.

As for Klein’s most compelling HPC testimony to date? It’s not helping a sports team chase a medal or their next big win … it’s in the incremental, everyday progress points, he says. “It’s the follow-up from a patient who says ‘I was able to golf four rounds and didn’t have any low back pain!’ It’s just the simpler things in life.”

The small group training program consists of eight 60-minute sessions and is offered to the public at an affordable $15 per session rate ($120 for 8 sessions). One-on-one rehabilitation consists of six 45-minute sessions and is offered to the public at an affordable $75 per session rate ($450 for 6 sessions). Contact for more information, or call 952-214-1176.