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Justin Tooley

Performance Trainer (Strength & Conditioning)

Personal Statement

"Out of all the things I do as a gym owner, strength coach, and athlete, partnering with VABA is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my work. I am thankful to have the opportunity to help mold young athletes, both for performance in athletics and for character in life. In athletics, a well planned strength and conditioning program can set an athlete apart, allowing them to see their greater potential while also preventing many common injuries. I am 100% on board with our mission, “to build character and shape lives through the game of basketball,” as the effects of strong character will long outlive the playing career of any athlete."


  • NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist
  • Westside Barbell Special Strength & Conditioning Certified
  • Professional Powerlifter
  • Kettlebell Concept Certified

  • Click this image to learn more about "The Gym," VABA's Fitness Facility!

    More on Justin Tooley

    In September of 2020, Justin Tooley rejoined the VABA team after a six year hiatus, during which time he further established his principle duties as founder and owner of "The Gym."  

    Coach Tooley was born in Charlottesville, VA and was raised, among other places, originally, in Fluvanna County and then, later Greene County.  After bouncing around the country as a Navy brat for a number of years (his stepfather served in the military), Justin's family eventually settled in Greene County where Justin attended William Monroe High School (Grad '97).  In high school, Justin took to football and it was as an aspiring college athlete that Justin was first introduced to the weight room.  While in high school, Justin suffered a shoulder injury that compelled him to adjust his football goals; and, it was during this time that he began participating in a very unique opportunity - a power-lifting team run by and sponsored by WMHS.  In high school, Justin began to understand the benefits of injury-prevention via proper preparation through weight training, flexibility and conditioning.  Justin was still in high school when he discovered his passion which was further fueled by participating in a business internship program his senior year, working at "Virginia Fitness." 

    After graduating high school, Justin, was eager to find any position that would get him near a weight-room where he could learn and grow as an athlete and a trainer.  He was hired at ACAC as a Fitness Floor Staff member where he met Chris Mason, owner of "@Large Nutrition" - and, it was Chris who then invited Justin to accompany him to Westside Barbell in Columbus, OH.  Monthly trips to Columbus, OH opened the door for Justin to meet Louie Simmons, the "Godfather of Power-lifting."   Justin began training with Westside Barbell consistently, eventually competing in professional power-lifting competitions.  Over time Louie Simmons, seeing Justin's talent and passion for the sport, invited Justin to help teach his seminar along with Laura Phelps, AJ Roberts, and Shane Sweatt, some of the foremost names in power-lifting.  At this time, Justin was teaching with the best-of-the-best in his field - the pinnacle of US Power-lifting, and it was this experience that gave Justin the experience he needed to become, on his own, a leader in the industry.

    Over the next 12 years, Tooley developed into one of the most popular trainers in Charlottesville, earning "C'ville's Best Trainer Award" on multiple occasions, all the while, serving as an instructor for Crossfit and competing in Bodybuilding, Powerlifting and Strongman events.  

    In 2011, Justin founded "The Gym," initially located on Avon Street.  In 2013, "The Gym" moved to its present location in downtown Charlottesville (1739 Suite B, Allied St.).  Justin was inspired to start "The Gym" with the mindset of providing the best strength training gym in the area, one in which youth and adults of all backgrounds and athletic experiences can overcome whatever obstacles they may face and achieve a sense of self, success and purpose.  "The Gym" has a family-feel with everyone, practically-speaking, working together and encouraging one another in the pursuit of their strength & fitness goals!  Coach Tooley's founding principles focus on treating every member the same - and, "The Gym" actively participates in ministries which include physically and mentally handicapped participants.  That stated, "The Gym" also attracts moms & dads, as well as professional and college-level athletes seeking to gain that edge from Coach Tooley's unique, yet simple and straightforward approach toward meeting one's personal desires.  Tooley's approach mirrors VABA's in that if focuses on using strength training as a microcosm for life - overcoming challenges, developing character, doing one's best, being "coachable" and open to improving and getting better each day.  Unique to "The Gym" is the emphasis on team-spirit - not only single-minded in individual goals, but also feeling a sense of family in helping others.  "The Gym" is truly a community of positive, energetic, humble and hard-working people who buy into Coach Tooley's philosophy.  

    Coach Tooley is a NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist, Westside Barbell Special Strength & Conditioning Certified, and Kettlebell Concept Certified.  

    Justin also enjoys outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping as well as good conversations and good food!

    If interested in meeting Coach Tooley, personally, please email him or stop by "The Gym" in downtown Charlottesville.  His team would love to talk with you and discuss your fitness goals!  As a VABA Partner, all VABA Student-Athletes, Parents & Coaches automatically receive a 50%-MEMBERSHIP DISCOUNT for the first six months!


    Iron man (August, 2007)
    Core Strength (May, 2009)

    Please email a VABA Team Member to receive your 50% OFF Membership "Discount Code"...

    and register to join "The Gym" for one (1) to six (6) months - no initiation fees, no long-term contracts!  Feel free to visit "The Gym" at 1739 B Allied Street Charlottesville, VA 22903 or call (434) 878-0369 to learn more!

    Get stronger!  Get in better shape!  Utilize Coaches Tooley and Jackson's personal training options to become a better athlete and/or (for younger athletes) more explosive and efficient basketball player!

    Email VABA at!  Thank you!