Athletics: A driving force Exercise science grad uses expertise to build his own athlete conditioning business

Chuck Hofbauer used his experience as a Calvin hockey player to create a business that allows him to teach others the fitness skills that he gained from his time as a college athlete.


MAJOR: exercise science

HOMETOWN: Plymouth, Mich.

At age 10, Chuck saw a commercial for Bowflex, kindling his interest in fitness. His dad remembers this infomercial as the most expensive 30 seconds of television in the Hofbauer household. "[Dad] finally gave in," Chuck said, "and when that box came to the house, I spent all afternoon setting it up in my garage."

Chuck’s passion for fitness grew alongside his interest in hockey. He started playing ice hockey at age 13 after years of trying to convince his parents that he wouldn’t be injured.

Fast-forward three years and that’s when Chuck was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Rather than quit playing hockey, he used this as fuel. “When I heard the diagnosis, my only question was, ‘Can I still play hockey?’ My answer was ‘yes.’ I was going to still play hockey, live an active lifestyle. I was determined to manage my diabetes properly.” I wanted to prove that I could be successful in hockey, and the diabetes became a big driving force."

Chuck’s drive and determination led him to play two years of junior hockey in Tulsa, Okla. He played “everywhere from El Paso, Texas, to Louisiana, from Los Angeles to Toronto.” After his second year of junior hockey, a friend persuaded him to play for Calvin.

“I remember the very first game I played at Calvin, the student support I felt playing hockey was unbelievable. To skate out onto the ice and see 800 students standing and cheering still brings chills to me.” He eventually captained the Knights and was selected to play on the USA National Division III American Collegiate Hockey Association team. During this time, he played in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. “Hockey has taken me to places I’m sure I would have never been able to experience otherwise.”

While at Calvin, Chuck gained experience in the classroom, which helped him to pass the personal trainer test with relative ease. “The student-athlete experience was probably the biggest positive at Calvin. It was comforting to know that there were 20 other guys trying to juggle the tough class/homework demands while being highly committed to a team. We supported and encouraged each other.”

Shortly after graduating, he launched his own business, Hofbauer Performance. He specializes in training hockey players and other highly motivated athletes. Chuck’s expectations for his clients are the same he holds for himself.

“My goal is to develop the hockey teams I coach into the top teams in their league. As for the gym, I would like to see it become the number one training center in Grand Rapids for aspiring hockey players... [and] all highly motivated athletes."

VERGE: winter 2012

First-Year Experience