In a repurposed airplane hangar three miles east of LAX in Los Angeles, club members, high school and middle school athletes are working out and practicing alongside some of today’s most famous star athletes.
When Jeff Herdman visualized owning a fitness club in Southern California, he imagined a club unlike any other. After locating an unused airplane hangar at Hawthorne Airport, a few miles east of LAX, Herdman launched his brainchild – an athletic club that focuses its attention on basketball and volleyball players of all ages, while also catering to traditional exercisers.
Herdman grew up in Southern California and played basketball for UC Irvine before continuing a short ball career in Europe. “As a former athlete and parent of two up and coming athletes, I recognized a need in this area,” Herdman says.
The possibilities became endless after Herdman opened HAX in January. He wasn’t just bringing in middle and high school athletes and their families, but professional athletes like Elton Brand, Paul Pierce and Russell Westbrook started coming in during the offseason. “We have developed the premier training center on the West Coast,” Herdman says. “We have professional athletes training in the offseason every day at HAX alongside high school and middle school athletes.”
You might suppose a training center like HAX would be for pro athletes, celebrities and their kids due to outrageous membership prices, but one of Herdman’s main goals was to make the membership affordable for families, couples, individuals and students. “The best part about HAX is that parents can work out or take a fitness class while their kids are training,” he says.
Along with great training programs for athletes, Herdman sought to create a club that would appeal to more traditional gym goers. To accomplish this, he installed cardio and weight areas and Pilates and Yoga studios overlooking the six 2008 NCAA regional tournament basketball courts.
In correlation with HAX’s outdoor sand volleyball pits and indoor volleyball courts, Herdman brought on SoCal volleyball legend Sinjin Smith to instruct in training academies. “It’s just what we do,” Herdman says. “We are all about making athletes better; our motto is ‘train like a pro.’”
HAX wasn’t developed as easily as it may sound, however. In the beginning, Herdman says he struggled by going over the original construction budget due to city requirements. “We had to pull money from our operating capital to get over some hurdles along the way,” he shares.
Since then, HAX has grown immensely by word of mouth and the club’s popularity has allowed Herdman to give back to the Southern California community through the HAX Foundation. “My big mission right now is to raise money through our foundation to build an educational center for kids that will assist with college prep and a mentorship program,” Herdman says. “We are here to help the kids in our community, as they are the leaders of tomorrow.”
Aside from helping kids in the classroom, HAX has teamed up with some of basketball’s biggest names, including Lisa Leslie and coaching legend John Wooden, to launch the first ever year-round basketball academies. While kids and pros go over drills and training, parents and members have the HAX Café as a comfortable refuge from which they can watch the hoopsters practice.
“It is a dream come true for me to see a facility like this in my hometown,” Herdman shares. “What really makes HAX so successful are the excellent people and unique programs that we have developed.” –CS
To learn more about The Hangar Athletic xchange, go to www.haxla.com or call 310-219-0600.