A fitness place for men

Former Charger fullback Lorenzo Neal recently brought his workout to La Jolla when he made a special appearance on June 24 at La Jolla’s AthleticNation gym.

The event, exclusively for men, showcased the recently opened facilities of San Diego’s only just-for-men fitness center located at 702 Pearl St., Suite F.

“It’s a men’s-only gym,” explained Jeriko Retana, who owns the business with his wife, Betsy. “It’s basically for professional males … whose life is in check but fitness has suffered. It’s getting them back into the game.”

AthleticNation opened three months ago and since then has developed a hardcore clientele intent on regaining fitness.

The program is highly individualized. Each client works one-on-one with a personal trainer to identify goals, develop a workout strategy and maintain accountability.

“The most important thin we do here is hold (men) accountable,” Retana said.

Retana described the facility as a re-creation of the locker room setting, a place where men do without the distractions of cute girls in spandex and focus exclusively on themselves for an hour or so.

“There’s no hype and there’s no B.S. about it,” Retana said.

AthleticNation founder Dennis Mulgannon, approaches fitness in a no-nonsense manner that he warns is not for the hypersensitive.

“My goal is simple,” he writes in his book, “Reality Fitness in 90 Days … FOR MEN.” “I must make people realize that their weight and fitness issues are not controlled -- nor can they be solved – by outside influences. The issues relating to weight and fitness are internalized and are solely the individual’s responsibility. Simply stated, each individual must find the inner drive to conquer their issues.”

At one time, Mulgannon walked exactly the same path as the clients he now serves. Approaching middle age, in the midst of a divorce, facing financial ruin, he found himself out-of-shape and overweight. In overcoming his own fitness challenges, Mulgannon realized men deal with fitness differently from women. Most approach it as a chore to accomplish, on their own.

Mulgannon established AthleticNation for men who are serious about regaining their health, who want to enjoy a superior quality of life and who want to manifest success in all areas of their lives. He researched how athletes train to develop an effective program, and working with Tommy Jones, the director of training for the franchise, now offers a 90-day program with proven results.

“We’ve seen our program work not just with professional athletes but also with older gentleman,” Retana said.

The company’s target market is professional men between the ages of 30 and 64. Men, Retana said, who work hard to take care of their businesses, families and communities; men who take care of themselves last.

Clients commit to twice-a-week intense workouts, plus a third day of activity, which they choose. Each one-hour session is by appointment and supervised by a trainer. The workout includes five to 10 minutes of stretching, 10 minutes of cardio and a 40-minute workout.

“When you’re here, it’s your gym,” Retana said. “We haven’t had a person in here who hasn’t enjoyed their workout, the challenge.”

Prospective clients are eligible for a free one-week trial.

“Not only does it provide insight into our program, but we get to see their strengths and weaknesses,” Retana said.

“There a lot of places for women,” Retana said. “Men don’t have a place to go. Now they do.”

For more information about AthleticNation, call (858) 454-4067 or visit