A Way of Life at Full Circle Training
Getting in shape and working out is all about options, and today there are dozens of choices when it comes to exercise and fitness. Infomercials for P90X, INSANITY and Zumba flood your television, while Beachbody and the DailyBurn are instantly available online.
Traditional gyms with rows of treadmills and elliptical machines will always be classic, while new concepts like CrossFit and team fitness classes continue to pop up in cities and towns across the country. With all of these options, there’s really no excuse for not working out. It’s about finding what exercise concept will work best for you.
Here in the Lehigh Valley, there’s a gym that is like no other – Full Circle Training (FCT). Owned and operated by Allentown native Obatala “Obe” Roundtree, FCT is all about challenging you toward reaching and even exceeding your exercise goals through creative workout programs that never get boring.
Roundtree, a former University of Pittsburgh football player, is the real deal. With a “work hard” ethic he inherited from his mother and his own training regimen he learned through sports and later through college football, he has honed his talents into exercise training programs that are one-of-a-kind.
One of Roundtree’s most popular programs is the one-hour Power House Training class. It’s packed with classic weight lifting, cardiovascular bursts, speed and agility building as well as core-ripping, tire-flipping, sledgehammer-hitting, gas-can-carrying, rope-twisting, bag-hugging fun. When it’s done, the endorphins are working double time. The class runs every hour, from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Every day, Roundtree designs a new, challenging routine, so you never know what to expect when you walk through the door with a sign that reads “Welcome Home.”
Roundtree’s background could have led him down a different path. Raised by a single mom, he didn’t immediately realize that not having a father in his life had an emotional effect on him. His mother, who worked multiple jobs, encouraged Roundtree and his sister to try a variety of sports and activities.
“I played little league baseball, pee wee football, basketball, racing at The Velodrome, gymnastics, wrestling, swimming, track, even musical instruments,” Roundtree says. “You name it, my mom had me try it.”
Even though the negative feelings of not having a father in his life surfaced during his later teen years, the support he received from his mother and grandparents along with his fitness regimen helped Roundtree channel the negativity into a positive way of life.
Roundtree’s love for football took him to Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh, where he played as a running back. Many of his college coaches ended up coaching in the NFL.
“A lot of what I use in my training workouts comes from the hands-on knowledge I learned from these coaches,” he says. “It’s what works.”
Prior to becoming a personal trainer in 2008, Roundtree worked for 10 years as a counselor at KidsPeace, a job he loved because he could relate so well to the children and teens there. It was during that time that friends and family started to take an interest in Roundtree’s twice-a-day workout routines, and before long, he had clients flipping tires, running with tires and bungee cords and using ropes in a parking lot in Allentown. Even Roundtree’s grandmother, Naomi, worked out with him until she turned 93. (“Sweetheart,” as she was affectionately called, recently passed away at the age of 96.)
Roundtree’s dedication to kids is apparent with his leadership roles in area schools. He trains young athletes involved in a variety of sports at both Allen and Dieruff (his alma mater) high schools. He emphasizes team-building, and opening up about his own life can help those who are lacking a positive role model.
“I was shocked to learn how many kids in this area are actually homeless,” says Roundtree. “The stories that some of these kids share can be heartbreaking. It’s my hope that, through hard work and exercise, I can help bring positive change.”
If it means something as simple as making sandwiches and purchasing pizzas, he’ll do that, too.
Roundtree’s dedication to young athletes continues to pay off in a big way. He coached the Bethlehem Catholic High School wrestling team that went on to win four state championships in a row. When he trained the Catasauqua High School volleyball team, they had the best record in the history of the school. Many students come to FCT from Easton, Bethlehem, Emmaus, Phillipsburg, Parkland – you name it. They’ve all heard of Roundtree.
He’s also helped to train teams like Lehigh Valley Storm, Flatline Fighters, Young Medalists cycling team and many more. Last year, a Lehigh Valley local came in second in the World’s Toughest Mudder after training with Roundtree. Additionally, he and his FCT team continue to develop a scholarship program for college-bound athletes.
In addition to Power House Training classes, there’s an array of training programs from which to choose. “Cardio Combat” is a high-intensity, interval training combined with boxing, kickboxing and bag workout. “The Women Only Bootcamp” is an introductory class with special emphasis on areas of concern for women. “Athlete Hour” is an intense workout for those who want to dominate a sport. “SWOLE Brothers” is similar to Power House in that it changes daily, but it’s done at your own pace and weight. “Run the Stairs,” on Saturday mornings at J. Birney Crum stadium in Allentown, is a combination of on-the-field training and running both on the stairs and the track. Seasonal bootcamps, oftentimes held the day before a holiday, are always sold out. Of course, the gym itself is filled with work-out equipment for those who would rather do their own routines. And, if you are looking for a nutrition program, Angela Fenstermaker of Angie’s Way Nutrition Consultants can help you change your habits and develop a healthful eating plan.
Who works out at FCT? It’s more a question of who doesn’t.
Men and women of all ages and levels of fitness – students, politicians, police officers, firemen, doctors, nurses, attorneys, teachers, stay-at-home moms and even other fitness trainers – come to learn the Roundtree philosophy. There are regulars in their 60s, 70s and 80s who come in daily. These workouts are designed to make the ligaments and joints strong, too, not just muscle endurance.
When he’s not molding people of all ages, sizes and shapes into FCT beasts, Roundtree is at home with his wife, Carmen, his two young and energetic daughters, Layla and Jazzmine, and their family dog, Kenya.