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See how NAKOA's coaching and programming have helped these athletes achieve their goals.

Athlete Testimonials & Success Stories

At NAKOA, we get stoked about the amazing accomplishments of our athletes! With guidance and support from our coaches and specialized programming – what can’t you achieve? From enhanced strength to improved performance levels, reduced injury risk… just check out these success stories for yourself. GET READY TO BE INSPIRED!

Susan Helman

Everyone encourages you to be your best and that flows over into my everyday life.  

Playing hard has always been my thing, I guess you can say I’m an adrenaline junkie. I was lucky enough to compete competitively from a young age in equestrian show jumping, snowboarding and motocross. However, I managed to put my body through a serious beating in the process.  

I came to Nakoa fresh off my last double knee surgery, having had ten total between the two knees. The physical therapy I received along with the coaching was exceptional.  The PT girls treated me with a superior level of expertise that I had never received before. I graduated from therapy and started training with Bianca.

To this date, I have to say, I never felt better in my life and it’s all thanks to my coach Bianca and the amazing Therapy Team at Nakoa. Bianca has designed program after program specifically around my body’s individual needs. She strengthened my knees so much so that I no longer have any pain, and has also strengthened my core and posture so much that I am able to ride without back pain either. 

Did I forget to mention that I have five herniated discs in my lower back? I ride show jumpers for a living again and my back pain has been a constant struggle, that is until now. With Bianca’s coaching, my physical as well as mental well being, has never been better. I honestly do not know where I would be without her!

Nakoa is a place like no other.  Once you walk in the door, you feel like you are welcomed into a family and a sense of community.  Everyone encourages you to be your best and that flows over into my everyday life.  

I am eternally grateful to Bianca and Nakoa for changing my life and encourage anyone who want to truly be their best to train at Nakoa.

Sean Hibbs - Nakoa fitness and physical therapy Testimonial

Sean Hibbs

Since joining this team I have made new friends, become more energetic, and have found a whole new community to be a part of. 

After winning an awesome package to NAKOA through a friends fundraiser, I immediately thought that only professional athletes would survive these workouts, and I was not one of those.   

What I have come to find 6 months later is I was wrong..  Regardless if training for a sport as a career or just to stay fit and healthy, both the clientele, coaches, and physical therapists create a challenging yet inclusive environment that helps push clients further than you expect you can go while providing support the entire way.  Since joining this team I have made new friends, become more energetic, and have found a whole new community to be a part of. 

With working out there is bound to be some injuries along the way, especially me being me.  I have been lucky enough at NAKOA to have the PT department tightly intertwined with the coaches.  This has helped to guide me in which exercises are helping and hurting me.  It has also made me more conscious of proper ways to do things knowing there are always eyes on me.  

Just because you may be done with the table doesn’t mean that you are in the clear.  The coaches and therapists will always continue to make sure you are doing everything the best you can to avoid further injuries.

I have recommended and will continue to recommend NAKOA to friends and colleagues.  It puts me in a good mood leaving there even after sweating it all on the turf.

Pat Weathers - Nakoa fitness and physical therapy Testimonial

Patrick Weathers

When I first started training at Nakoa, I couldn’t do a single pullup...Now, after putting in the hours and receiving training from the best coaches in the biz, I can bust out 10 pull-ups no problem…I never would have thought that was possible. Most importantly, I no longer understand the meaning of the phrase “I can’t.”

Nakoa has had a significant influence on both my physical and mental health. For a quick example, when I first started training at Nakoa, I couldn’t do a single pullup. Every time I looked at a pullup bar, I immediately said “I can’t.” Now, after putting in the hours and receiving training from the best coaches in the biz, I can bust out 10 pull-ups no problem…I never would have thought that was possible. Most importantly, I no longer understand the meaning of the phrase “I can’t.”

Obviously there has been a physical change in me from participating in Nakoa, but the program has also given me the confidence to take on challenges in the gym, the workplace, and life. I initially didn’t want to participate in Nakoa due to the time and financial commitment, but after seeing the results, it was a no-brainer to continue. The coaches do a fantastic job motivating the members to both challenge themselves and improve month after month.

I have also found a sense of community and friendship with the coaches and fellow members, allowing for accountability which I believe is paramount when committing to any workout program. We’ve all gone on “gym stints” where we go to the gym five days a week for a couple of weeks, then four days, then three days, then eventually a couple of times a week for 30 minutes at a time. 

With Nakoa, you make a commitment, but you’re not just keeping yourself accountable…you have a team of coaches and members taking the journey with you. That’s what allows people to make that next step to move forward and improve their lives for the better.

I have recommended Nakoa to just about anyone I know that is looking for a great gym experience and lives in the San Diego area. If you are looking to get whipped into shape, improve your health and gain valuable friendships, Nakoa is the place to be!

Michelle Penney - Nakoa fitness and physical therapy Testimonial

Michelle Penney

I am grateful for ...The friends that I have made. The attitude there is infectious...They are all truly wonderful people ... I have accomplished fitness goals that I never thought possible.

There are two things that originally kept me from pursuing a membership: a) time and b) intimidation.  I have two boys that I have to drop off and pick up from daycare every weekday so morning and afternoon classes would not work.  

I didn’t think that, given this schedule, I would be able to commit to a fitness program because I had a membership at another gym that I never used already. And honestly, I was a little intimidated at the prospect of beginning a fitness program after having seen the type of athletes that not only coach but train there. I couldn’t even do 1 push-up! I felt way out of my league. 

Once I finally  pulled the trigger though and decided to give it a chance, I became addicted.  I am a stubborn person in general and found that the classes were challenging but that was what kept me coming back.  I thought “Hey – I almost pulled that workout off! I bet next time I could do better!” and was reaffirmed and encouraged consistently by the coaches. Classes are still challenging but the reward I get when I accomplish a goal keeps me coming back for more.


My favorite thing about NAKOA are the coaches.  By far.  They are absolutely wonderful.  I have taken classes with every single one of them and each has their own style and flair but all are funny, encouraging and tough as nails. 

Besides that, there are so many other things that I am grateful for as well from my time at NAKOA. The friends that I have made. The attitude there is infectious, both in the coaches and clients. 

They are all truly wonderful people to be around. Over time, I have accomplished fitness goals that I never thought possible. The attention that gets paid to doing things correctly and in a healthy way.  I joined at the end of a recovery for a stress fracture in my leg.  The coaches worked with me during the final stages of recovery and modified movements for me knowing my specific restrictions.  

The same can be said during my second pregnancy.  I did classes until I was 38 weeks pregnant. The coaches were amazingly supportive and even put together a workout plan for when I was out on maternity leave.


Would I recommend NAKOA? Oh goodness, yes! And I do! I can’t say enough good things about my experience there. I was scared to sign up because after hearing about how challenging the classes are, I felt like I might not fit in very well.  

From the very first class with Bianca, though, I was welcomed with open arms. She kicked my butt but did it with a huge smile on her face (and continues to do so!). I really feel like I have found a sort of fitness family and I look forward to each and every class.

Milo Maresala

I really feel like NAKOA has created a one of a kind family atmosphere which will make you love the place in a heartbeat.

I have been a NAKOA member for about 4 years now and I can’t say enough remarkable things about the staff and the new facility. 

It has been NAKOA’s mission to deliver what I believe to be the best workout program ever. It all starts with their amazing staff,  from the highly skilled personal trainers and physical therapists to the incredibly friendly and welcoming front desk personnel.  

You feel at home the moment you arrive. The personal trainers are top notch,  aside from making the workouts fun and energetic, they also focus on proper form and are always teaching you the specifics of how what you are doing actually influences your body.  

I also have had a few nagging injuries in the past that had kept me from being active and the therapists helped me fix that right up.  They really take the time to educate you about your injury and place you on strengthening program to get you back on your feet. 

I really feel like NAKOA has created a one of a kind family atmosphere which will make you love the place in a heartbeat. 

I can guarantee that once you start working out at NAKOA, it will change your life forever.  It’s changed mine and I couldn’t be more happy.

Jesse Schuveiller - Nakoa fitness and physical therapy Testimonial

Jesse Schuveiller

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to train and be part of your group. It is something I will never take for granted,

Nakoa is such a special place, I knew that before we left, but now, having had to move and being in a different state and seeing what else is (and isn’t) out there, your place is truly one of a kind. 

What I mean by that is at the end of the day, anywhere you go to train….the workouts, the skills, the fundamentals, are all kind of the same with some nuances….BUT the tangible difference with Nakoa is really with the coaches and the people;  the people that grind you, inspire you, push you, love you, and make you feel (sore) the best you can be. 


I don’t know what the future holds for us….but I do know that I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to train and be part of your group. It is something I will never take for granted, something that I miss daily. 

I guess what I am saying is that I truly appreciate EVERYTHING you guys do for us, all of the Nakoaites…..and I just wanted to make sure you and J  (and all of the staff) know how much you are appreciated for the difference you make in people’s lives.

Loren Kurz

Nakoa is like family, from the front desk staff to the therapists and the trainers. They are there to provide the care and support you need.

Our relationship with Nakoa is a family affair. It began with our son who tore his labrum and biceps tendon as a high school pitcher. He was told his pitching career was over due to the extent of the damage. Allison worked with him through his rehab and recovery training, encouraging him not to give in. Against all odds he went on to play college baseball and in turn was drafted into the Atlanta Braves organization.

Our daughter, who competed for the USA National Gymnastics team, struggled with some residual shoulder and back pain due to the rigorous training. The team at Nakoa was able to alleviate her pain through manual therapy and stretching techniques along with corrective exercises that she uses to this day.

My husband has struggled with knee and ankle pain, from old sports injuries, that has affected his quality of life. The therapists at Nakoa are extremely knowledgeable and detail oriented.

Through manual therapy techniques and educating him on proper form of rehab exercises they have been able to reduce his pain and reestablish functionality. 

I am no stranger to rehab having recovered from three ACL replacements and a torn labrum in my shoulder. Before finding Nakoa I worked with a few other physical therapy groups and the care I received was nowhere near the level that I have received at Nakoa. I have worked extensively with John and Allison whose professionalism is second to none. It is important to me to maintain a high level of fitness. With their personalized level of care and training I have been able to return to my challenging workouts in record time.

If you need to rehab, Nakoa is the place to be. Whether you’re a professional athlete or just need to return to daily functionality, you’ll receive the best personalized one-on-one care.

Dan Crouch

Nakoa Physical Therapy in Carlsbad has made a major impact for my family for years.

For starters, my son is a pro snowboarder and has been working out and using physical therapy at Nakoa for 9 years. He has had multiple broken bones, sprains, broken back, along with other fitness issues. 

They have helped him recover with therapy and trained him to be the best athlete he can be with results in competitions to show for it. That alone has set the bar very high to me for the best recovery and fitness.

I myself had shoulder surgery last August and started physical therapy with Nakoa. The atmosphere inside is very positive. The team all work together to get you to the levels you need to recover. The communication from one to another is awesome. They know what your injury is and what you need to work on each visit. 

Recovery is not only healing the injury, it is also mental which they help in that area as well. When the Therapy team had me to a point to be able to start training again, I was able to work with the Fitness team to gain strength. If at any time I would have questions the Therapy team would give suggestions on a movement to make sure I was doing the move properly to prevent myself from further injury.

I am now 100% and my shoulder is stronger than ever. I am working 100% in the fitness side and am in the best shape I have ever been.

Thank you Team Nakoa. 

Kane Cullum

At heart, I still believe I’m an immovable mountain. A 20-year-old 320lb offensive lineman who still plays football.

When in reality I’m a 45-year-old man who’s suffered 5 major shoulder surgeries and countless concussions, with significant joint and muscle damage. Luckily, I still have a passionate addiction for physical conditioning and fitness, even after 32-years of consistent training, early morning workouts, and countless reps in a gym. Thank God it’s now at Nakoa.

I found Nakoa through a mutual associate almost 6 years ago. Since then, Nakoa has become my “Cheers”. It’s somewhere I enjoy going to almost daily. I’m welcomed with love and kindness… which means an elevated form of locker room banter, a little bit of trash talking and a lot of laughter. It basically feels like my second home.

Nakoa has become a huge part of the success of my current physical and mental stability and betterment. Their practices center around improved mobility, strength training, and recovery. As a former athlete, I expect to be pushed, challenged, and coddled. Nakoa’s staff does just that (minus the coddling). Their teams know how to balance being a trainer, mentor, and friend. Their knowledge of best practices, training awareness and client management are unmatched to what I’ve experienced to date.

My Nakoa trainers over the years have been Zac Sellers and Erik Johnson. Together they have put years into correcting, managing, monitoring, and improving my physical health.

Workouts are specialized, challenging, and ever-changing. Eric and Zac are attentive and passionate about bettering the people they help, and it shows. I am extremely grateful to have them in my life as trainers and friends.

Lastly, the culture of Nakoa is amazing. The quality of people that Bianca and Jason have brought into their teams continue to amaze. They instill a belief of personal betterment through consistent hard work, a positive workout environment, and their deep desire to help others. Their passion and style reverberate through their team members and their clients. Nakoa to me is more than a gym, it’s a lifestyle.

If you guys continue to have me, I’m going to stick around for a while. Much love to the entire Nakoa team.

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