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About Nakoa

Get ready to meet your new favorite gym – NAKOA Fitness and Physical Therapy in Carlsbad!

Carlsbad physical therapy and Nakoa Fitness - Jason Waiton

How We Got Started

Our founder, Jason Waiton...

Had a vision of creating a collaborative team that could support and guide people through every step of their athletic journey. And boy, did he deliver! We’re not just about getting your heart rate up and building muscles – we’re here to bridge the gap between pain and performance, baby! We’ve got a team of Doctors of Physical Therapy and Strength and Conditioning Specialists (aka Personal Trainers) who work together to give you the most badass workout and recovery plan.

Get Ready To Discover Your New Favorite Gym!

Our Story

NAKOA was founded 15 years ago by Jason Waiton and a small dedicated team of friends inspired to change the athletic training and recovery journey. Jason’s vision was to take two separate fields, Athletic Training and Physical Therapy, and bring them together to create a collaborative team that would be able to expertly support and guide any person every step of the way from a serious debilitating surgery all the way to a high-level performance athlete. 

For many people, the idea of athleticism and fitness involves things like workouts, getting your heart rate up, building muscle, losing weight, getting faster, stronger, etc. All of which are valid goals. However, what happens when pain or injury steps into the picture as it so often does? Suddenly your routine is thrown completely off track and there is often not a clear path to recovery. Rest is often a common solution, but challenging to be limited and confusing to know what to rest and for how long, and often when people try to jump back to where they were re-injuries occur. Other injuries require surgery which leads to physical therapy initially, but after the typical 6-12 weeks of rehab, people are often nowhere near their initial athletic abilities or ready for their previous training routines. What is lacking is guidance between these points. Jay’s vision was to bridge the gap between pain and performance. 

In order to do this, he built a team that brought both Doctors of Physical Therapy and Strength and Conditioning Specialists (we call them Coaches, but commonly thought of as Personal Trainers).  Under the same roof and with the same overlying intentions,  they could collaborate, share knowledge, and ultimately expand perspectives and experience on both sides of the spectrum. He saw that if he educated his coaches in rehabilitative techniques, they could infuse more preventative exercises into their sports programming to help protect against injuries earlier on. On the flip side, if he educated his DPTs in athletic progressions and sports performance, his therapists could have a bigger vision and scope to rehab patients, getting them further faster and preparing for a more seamless handoff between rehab and training. In this way, someone could be supported every step of the way and not only return to their original level of performance but expand past with more protection than they even had initially. 

Over the years NAKOA has had the privilege of working with a vibrant array of clientele from professional athletes to people who never played a sport in their life. The common denominator is that our clients are looking for something more than just a workout or a basic therapy session; they are here to learn and be held accountable and challenged not just physically but mentally to strengthen their understanding and connection to their body.  The commitment is less to superficial goals and more to the longevity of athleticism and an active lifestyle in whatever makes them happy outside the gym. 

We’ve rehabilitated everything from people with chronic back pain that were told they’d never exercise or lift again to broken necks to near-death shark attacks.  Regardless of the level of athlete or non-athlete, we have noticed a glaring lack of conscious neural connection with people’s bodies and muscles which seems to be strongly correlated to many injuries. Our program has evolved and grown to really specialize in building a new conscious mind-body or mind-muscle connection (MMC) from the ground up.  This high level of body awareness allows us to create a solid foundation centered around spinal stability, inner core support, joint strength and mobility, and proper movement mechanics. From there, we can layer on more advanced athletic training programming knowing that we are backed by a solid base and recruiting more of the intended targeted muscle fibers for optimal performance results. 

Nowadays, Jason has retired to the board of directors and his spunky wife, Bianca, continues to grow and evolve the business with a team she describes as ‘The kindest, talented, supportive, fun-loving humans and friends [she] could ever dream of working with!’. You can still see Jason in the facility, working out, getting therapy, and making people smile and laugh with his authentic charm. We invite you to join us inside of the gym building the best bodies we can to live our fullest lives doing what we love outside of the gym.

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Learn about the approach and qualifications of our elite team of professionals

Leading the Way in Athletics and Fitness: The NAKOA Staff

At NAKOA, we know that success in fitness and sports is all about having the right coaching. That’s why our dream team of incredible professionals will help you reach your peak performance! With certified strength coaches, passionate trainers, and more – these experts are ready to support athletes as well as everyday gym-goers on their journey for a healthier lifestyle. Get ready to unlock new heights with NAKOA!

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