Gunstorm Muscle Health business booming – Mankato Free Press

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Clear skies. Low 54F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: September 9, 2021 @ 8:56 pm
Serving South-Central Minnesota
Gunnar Boettcher’s ordeal with back pain led him to use the Muscle Activation Technique in his personal training business.
Gunnar Boettcher works on all manners of pain for clients young and old.
Gunnar Boettcher opened his business in the former Build ‘N Tone location at 261 Bunting Lane in Mankato.

Gunnar Boettcher’s ordeal with back pain led him to use the Muscle Activation Technique in his personal training business.
MANKATO — Gunnar Boettcher’s life was at a crossroads.
Months earlier, the Mankato West High School and Gustavus Adolphus College grad had sustained a back injury. And now, the young man who had been lifting weights since fourth grade, and was once a titan on the Todnem Field gridiron, was a walking picture of pain.
“There was a point where just putting my work clothes on in the morning was the worst part of my day,” he says.
At his wit’s end after trying traditional ways to ease his pain, he sought the help of a Muscle Activation Technique specialist.
“I told him, ‘You’re about to change my life,’” Boettcher recalls telling the specialist. “You’re either going to give me the answers I need, or it’s going to totally change my career path. Because I need to know. I need this corrected. I am at a crossroads in my career and my health.”
Muscle Activation Technique did, indeed, help heal his back. But it also put Boettcher on a path to enhance an already successful personal training business he’d launched even before graduating from college.
Today, after becoming a certified Muscle Activation Technique practitioner himself, Boettcher’s Gunstorm Muscle Health — located in the former Build ‘N Tone location at 261 Bunting Lane in Mankato — is booming. While he lost 70 percent of his business when the pandemic hit, today he’s on a path to a bright future.
Boettcher grew up in Mankato’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, and ever since he can remember he’s had a fascination with athletics and, specifically, muscle anatomy.
When it was time to start football, his father introduced him to the family weight set in the basement, figuring it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to bulk Gunnar up a bit. Dad may not have known it at the time, but that nudge to the weight room set his son on a career path.
In high school Boettcher, as weight-room dudes may say, got ripped. He’d taken weight training so seriously that he became one of the strongest boys at West. But he didn’t just get ripped; he also got knowledgeable about the muscles he was training, reading up on anatomy and weight-training techniques.
After high school he attended Gustavus Adolphus College. And before he graduated he’d launched his personal trainer business in St. Peter. He also kept pumping iron. In fact, it was a workout session where he sustained that injury mentioned earlier; a lower back injury that caused him excruciating pain.
Gunnar Boettcher works on all manners of pain for clients young and old.
After getting relief from a Muscle Activation Technique specialist, he wanted to help others do the same. So he enrolled in a training program and became certified to practice the patented techniques with clients. But it wasn’t easy passing the two-day, 16-hour certification test.
“It was the hardest test I’ve ever taken in my life,” he says. “But I passed.”
Muscle Activation Technique, according to technique creator Greg Roskopf, is “a biomedically based process designed to identify and correct muscular imbalances that contribute to chronic pain and injury and altered performance levels.”
It’s a complex concept. But it’s also one that, Boettcher says, can transform the way athletes and non-athletes train.
In layman’s terms: The body is full of muscles, more than 650, actually. But for most people, not every muscle works at peak efficiency. When this happens, other muscles pick up the slack. But in some cases, such as with major muscle groups, this kind of “compensation,” as it’s called, can lead to a muscular function imbalance so severe it can lead to injury.
Just ask Boettcher. He suspects his back injury occurred because of a compensation issue; some of his muscles weren’t functioning efficiently, and other muscles had to pick up the slack. When the slack becomes too much, and the stress levels too high, muscles break down. MAT practitioners isolate and activate those shy muscles and get them to the party. When all muscles are working together, movement becomes stronger, faster, better and more efficient.
Boettcher likens it to people hauling a couch out of a basement. If just two people are moving it, it can be a slow process full of grunts, dropped furniture and wall scrapes. But if six people chip in, suddenly that couch isn’t so heavy, and the task gets done quickly and sans wall scrapes.
At this point, Boettcher says about two-thirds of his business is clients coming to him for MAT. He’s also still a personal trainer. And the Gunstorm Muscle Health facility can be used simply as a workout space. But his priority at this point is MAT and her personal training clients.
He’s had a few famous ones, too, particularly National Hockey League players, including. James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers, Brock Nelson of the New York Islanders, and Teddy Blueger — of Minnesota State University Mavericks fame — of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The bulk of his clientele, however, remains local, and it’s growing.
“I’ve worked with every single age range, I’ve worked with almost every single body pain, I’ve worked with hip replacements, knee replacements, spinal fusions, stroke victims,” he says. “I’ve worked with almost every single disease state. And I can now even say I’ve worked at every single level all the way up to pro athletes.”
Kristen the Client
Gunnar Boettcher opened his business in the former Build ‘N Tone location at 261 Bunting Lane in Mankato.
Kristen Holland started working with Boettcher as a personal training client when Gunstorm Muscle Health was in St. Peter. When Boettcher moved to Mankato, Holland followed him over.
Holland says she started working with Boettcher because she wanted to get more active. She progressed well and was impressed with the weight-training regimen, but was just as impressed with the MAT work Boettcher did with her. She says she’d notice differences in her ability to lift weight, or changes in range of motion. After doing some MAT work, she says Boettcher was able to alleviate many of those issues.
“My range of motion would dramatically improve, I had better muscle strength, better endurance,” she says.
Holland says that using Gunstorm Muscle Health’s full range of services — MAT, personal training, on-site full workout facility — has changed her life.
“I have more energy than I did before. I don’t feel like I have to live on caffeine to try to get the day going. And I don’t have some of the aches and pains,” she says. “Last year or the beginning of this year I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I haven’t had that back pain for quite some time.’ Or I’d be sleeping better and ask, ‘What made the difference? Well, what have I been doing? I’ve been getting MAT. So it’s changed everything. And I feel better. I feel like I’m able to do things that I want to do. I want to age gracefully and healthfully. And I don’t want to be using a walker.”

This article first appeared in the August edition of Minnesota Valley Business magazine. To order your subscription contact [email protected]
Gunstorm Muscle Health
261 Bunting Lane, Mankato
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