Rebuilding the Rider: Jay Marmont, Charles Dao, and Evolution Fitness

The last year hasn’t exactly been kind to Jay Marmont, but he’s working his way back.

“I was at Cahuilla just before the outdoors last year, when I busted my left knee and had to get ACL surgery,” explained Jay. “Then in October last year I’d gone back home to Australia to rehab properly. I had a bike out there and just started practicing and playing around. I’d been play riding for three or four weeks, and had been on the Supercross track for a couple weeks. That’s when it all happened.”

The “it” Jay mentioned was a broken right femur that he’s been working overtime to overcome. He continued with his tale, explaining very matter-of-factly, “It was a really big crash. I came off a section into a triple, and as I was going up the triple, it felt like my foot slipped off the peg completely. The bike went out from underneath me and I was just sailing through the air holding onto my handlebars. I held onto the bike as long as I could, threw it away, and landed on the down ramp of the triple and I took the whole hit on my right side. It was snapped right there and then. My brother ran over and was asking, ‘What happened?’ He was behind me when I was riding, and said, ‘When you hit the jump it looked like your right leg came completely off.’ He ran over to the bike and saw that the footpeg wasn’t on there.” The footpeg pin on Jay’s bike (a non-OEM part), was too small a diameter, and had worn enough to snap as he hit the jump. “I was out playing in the bush a few days before that, just play riding, and it could have happened out there, but it had to happen on the face of a triple.”

“I’ve broken a lot of bones, but it honestly feels like your whole leg’s missing. You can feel your hip, and that’s it. Everything else is just floating around. It’s not very nice.”

He wryly added, “Things happen for a reason, but I’m still looking for the reason.”

Sometimes the toughest part of an injury isn’t the physical damage, but the mental aspect. Jay explained, “The crash didn’t scare me, but I think what scared me most was the pain. When I hopped back on the bike after I came back from my knee, I think I was riding the quickest I’ve ever been in my whole career. But after coming back from the leg and after being in that much pain, I think that’s what I was scared about the most, I’ve never experienced pain like that in my whole life. It’s just something I never wanted to go through again.”

In his quest to come back stronger than ever, Jay teamed up with Charles Dao at Evolution Fitness in Murrieta, CA. Jay has no shortage of praise for his new trainer. “Charles has been awesome. We started here maybe four months out of surgery, and I started doing physio and whatever, and I said to him, ‘All right, how long before I can hop back on the bike?’ We did a strength test on it, and compared to my left leg which had just come off a busted knee, so it wasn’t strong anyway, my right leg was only 30% as strong as my left. So he was like, ‘You have to get it at least 80% before you can hop back on the bike. I think within three or four weeks, we got it up to 80%. From there we just had to get my head right. Right now it’s fairly strong. I can do proper squats, and whatever. Lift weights with it, it helps mentally when you know it’s strong, and can take a hit when you jam it out in a rut.”

Evolution originated as a training company in Orange County, but evolved into a more “upscale” club based in Murrieta, CA. Founded by a pair of orthopedic doctors, they’re trying to do things a bit differently than other gyms. Charles Dao, Evolution’s training director explained, “Instead of being like every other fitness facility where it’s got four corners and your cardio pieces and dumbbells and a couple machines, we wanted to tailor it specifically to athletes. That’s one of the things that makes us different from anybody else. Besides that, we are a sports medicine training company. All of our trainers have a minimum ur-year degree in sports medicine, ranging from physical therapy to chiropractic care, to athletic training. It’s a minimum of a four-year on top of continuing education units.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there’s a deep pool of MX athletes in the area. “This is the Mecca for the top riders in the world. Everybody comes out here to Elsinore, Murrieta, Temecula, and we’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to have riders like Jay. It’s a nice demographic. In Orange County we’re more used to the baseball, football, and basketball players. It’s kind of nice out here that we really get a focus on one sport. We want to be known as the best training company for motocross riders in this entire area.”

“My background’s actually physical therapy, and I used to coach tennis. I owned my own company, running a tennis camp out in Orange County. I was training my sister. She was my pride and joy and was the next one to be on the pro tour. Long story short, there was an unfortunate incident where she was hit by a drunk driver, and it ended her career. After that, she just never recovered. She was so young, psychologically she never got the chance to step up to the plate, and before you know it, just fell off the blocks.”

“Coming from a rehab standpoint, I was like, ‘What kind of things can I do to get into performance enhancement, and create more strength and conditioning programs? I got the opportunity to work in Rancho Santa Margarita at a physical therapy clinic called Pro Sport Physical Therapy. I learned a lot from those PTs. It was almost like going back to school. I took what they did, and applied it to a lot of professional athletes that I was training, and just kind of got the best of both worlds.”

Charles has an interesting roster of sports that he specializes in training. “My three main ones are mixed martial arts like UFC cage fighting and Pride fighting, motocross riding, and tennis. It’s extremely diverse. But here’s the thing…they’re all independent sports. That’s the thing that I like most about them. It’s not you and your teammates, it’s just yourself out there, versus the whole world. That’s what it feels like a lot of times. Whether you’re on center court at the U.S. Open, in a cage in Las Vegas, or in a stadium full of guys rooting you on, with 20 other guys on the line. It’s a lot of pressure.”

Of course, training’s not just about physical conditioning, it also boosts the mental side of a rider’s program, and that’s something Charles is fully aware of. “Not only do we train the body, we train the mind and the spirit. Jay will tell you, we sit down and prioritize what’s important to him. What makes him happy as a human being…not just as a rider. There’s a psychological aspect to training as well.”

“When it comes to training, we do a lot of core training, we do a lot of mental focus, and speed/agility training. Jay is a special case, where he came in because he had a fractured femur. That was his main reason for coming in. I’m very fortunate to be working with someone like him. It’s an honor, really. He makes my work so much easier. He doesn’t question, he’s not stubborn, he’s not hardheaded, and he’s always coming in and giving 110%. It makes my life a whole lot easier. To be honest, I’ve worked with riders where we keep butting heads and they’re questioning, they’re lazy, and I’ve got to pull them out of bed. It just becomes a hassle. Someone like Jay, where he came by with a fractured femur for four months, tried to rehab, saw me for a couple months, more than anything else, we had to catch him up mentally. At this level of sport, at the intensity and level that Jay rides at, you can’t think about it. You can’t hesitate, and you’ve got to go, go, go. That’s a lot of what we do…a lot of mental preparation, and a lot of visualization. Like today, what we were doing is going there…3, 2, 1…go, go, go for the first half. After you get the first half in, then it’s just kind of smooth sailing, and just hold your position.”

The perpetually upbeat trainer loves what he’s doing. “I’m not in this for fame and fortune or anything like that. But being able to change an athlete’s life, like Jay’s, and to enable him to achieve his dreams, that validates my existence. That makes me sleep well at night. At the end of the day, when everything’s all said and done, I want to know that I laid everything out for Jay when he comes in, and knowing that when he’s done riding, he’s laid everything out on the track as well. Yeah, I love what I do.”

I also love constantly assessing. I’m a problem-solver. Some exercises that Jay’s body may respond to, somebody else might not. Somebody else might respond to something, Jay might not. You’re constantly assessing by the millisecond. That’s the joy of it. That’s the beauty of training. You can’t have a blueprint program and expect every rider to abide by that. It’s not going to work. You’ve got to understand his body, his genetics, you’ve got to individualize and tailor his workout program towards him…that’s the greatest part about training. I enjoy that the most. After you’ve designed a program that specifically works for Jay, and see him go from rehabbing to strengthening to placing fourth in his last race, it puts a huge smile on my face.”

Jay missed the first round of the East Lites Series in St. Louis, and made his debut in Atlanta. “I started off the night nervous, and rode totally different than what I’d ridden in practice and during the week. In the final, I got one a fairly decent start and started fading during the race. I never went back positions, but I started fading mentally and couldn’t focus on the track properly. I was running I think eighth for the majority of the race, and then with three laps to go I made a stupid mistake and dug my footpeg into the face of a jump, nosed into a jump and went over the handlebars and DNF’d the race completely. Right then and there I wondered if I might not have been ready, and maybe I shouldn’t be racing.”

Jay missed the main at Indy, but ran into a better string of results in Daytona (9th), Orlando (12th), Detroit (9th), and then turned in his best race of the season in the finale of the East season with a fourth place finish in Houston. “It was good to come back and finish off the season a little stronger than what I started it.”

There’s no doubt that seeing the result of hard training paying off is also a motivator. Coming into his first outdoor season in two years, Jay’s upbeat. “I’ve had a few different trainers, but we’ve never done the kinds of things I’m doing now. I think it’s helped a lot, especially coming into the outdoor season. It’s been a lot better for me. Where you used to get 20 or 30 minutes into a moto and thinking, ‘I just want to give up, I’m over this and I don’t want to be out here.’ You’ve got that mental edge where you can keep going. Or you can’t wait to beat your lap time, or catch the guy in front of you. That’s been a big thing.”

“I went to Larry (Brooks) probably four weeks ago and said, ‘Listen, Larry, I haven’t done outdoors for two years. What sort of program should I be working on?’ He gave me a program, and it looked fairly intense. But now I’m up to doing two ten-minute warm-ups, and two 30-minute plus two lap motos, probably three or four days a week. I’m feeling comfortable doing that. My times are good, and I’ve been going to all the practice tracks. My times are matching the guys out there, I know my fitness is good, and I know I’ve got a great bike, so at the end of the day, I’ve just got to put all that together on race day and make it work.”

Contact:

Evolution Fitness
39400 Murrieta Hot Springs Road
Murrieta, CA, 92563
(951) 304-0466
www.evolutionsportsclubs.com

kind of smooth sailing, and just hold your position.”

The perpetually upbeat trainer loves what he’s doing. “I’m not in this for fame and fortune or anything like that. But being able to change an athlete’s life, like Jay’s, and to enable him to achieve his dreams, that validates my existence. That makes me sleep well at night. At the end of the day, when everything’s all said and done, I want to know that I laid everything out for Jay when he comes in, and knowing that when he’s done riding, he’s laid everything out on the track as well. Yeah, I love what I do.”

I also love constantly assessing. I’m a problem-solver. Some exercises that Jay’s body may respond to, somebody else might not. Somebody else might respond to something, Jay might not. You’re constantly assessing by the millisecond. That’s the joy of it. That’s the beauty of training. You can’t have a blueprint program and expect every rider to abide by that. It’s not going to work. You’ve got to understand his body, his genetics, you’ve got to individualize and tailor his workout program towards him…that’s the greatest part about training. I enjoy that the most. After you’ve designed a program that specifically works for Jay, and see him go from rehabbing to strengthening to placing fourth in his last race, it puts a huge smile on my face.”

Jay missed the first round of the East Lites Series in St. Louis, and made his debut in Atlanta. “I started off the night nervous, and rode totally different than what I’d ridden in practice and during the week. In the final, I got one a fairly decent start and started fading during the race. I never went back positions, but I started fading mentally and couldn’t focus on the track properly. I was running I think eighth for the majority of the race, and then with three laps to go I made a stupid mistake and dug my footpeg into the face of a jump, nosed into a jump and went over the handlebars and DNF’d the race completely. Right then and there I wondered if I might not have been ready, and maybe I shouldn’t be racing.”

Jay missed the main at Indy, but ran into a better string of results in Daytona (9th), Orlando (12th), Detroit (9th), and then turned in his best race of the season in the finale of the East season with a fourth place finish in Houston. “It was good to come back and finish off the season a little stronger than what I started it.”

There’s no doubt that seeing the result of hard training paying off is also a motivator. Coming into his first outdoor season in two years, Jay’s upbeat. “I’ve had a few different trainers, but we’ve never done the kinds of things I’m doing now. I think it’s helped a lot, especially coming into the outdoor season. It’s been a lot better for me. Where you used to get 20 or 30 minutes into a moto and thinking, ‘I just want to give up, I’m over this and I don’t want to be out here.’ You’ve got that mental edge where you can keep going. Or you can’t wait to beat your lap time, or catch the guy in front of you. That’s been a big thing.”

“I went to Larry (Brooks) probably four weeks ago and said, ‘Listen, Larry, I haven’t done outdoors for two years. What sort of program should I be working on?’ He gave me a program, and it looked fairly intense. But now I’m up to doing two ten-minute warm-ups, and two 30-minute plus two lap motos, probably three or four days a week. I’m feeling comfortable doing that. My times are good, and I’ve been going to all the practice tracks. My times are matching the guys out there, I know my fitness is good, and I know I’ve got a great bike, so at the end of the day, I’ve just got to put all that together on race day and make it work.”

Contact:

Evolution Fitness
39400 Murrieta Hot Springs Road
Murrieta, CA, 92563
(951) 304-0466
www.evolutionsportsclubs.com