Trident Offers Top-Notch Fitness and Sports Performance Options for Locals

By DAVID BIGGY | Feb 08, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy Trident Fitness and Performance co-owner Paul Hafner (right) works with high school athletes during a recent training session.

Becoming a great athlete takes strength, endurance and incredible skill, but in most instances becoming great also requires speed, agility and precise technical movements designed to maximize your efficiency. But even if you’re an average adult with no desire to become a great athlete, your level of fitness relies a lot on precise technical movements that help in conditioning the body properly without injury.

Paul Hafner knew this all too well back in 2012, when he still worked as a Long Beach Township police officer. And while several facilities to help teens and adults become more physically fit or give them an edge on the athletic surfaces of their choice existed in northern Ocean County and Monmouth County, Hafner saw a need building in Southern Ocean County.

“One day, Paul was talking to me on the phone and drove by some steel building and said, ‘Man, I would love to have an enormous steel building where athletes could come and train,’ and that’s where the vision started,” said Carolyn Card, who partnered with Hafner to open Trident Fitness and Performance. “We had a love for training people, and the idea just wouldn’t go away.”

After scouting the area for potential locations to construct a 5,000-square-foot building, Hafner and Card – who became friends after meeting in 2009 through their affiliations with separate martial arts schools in the northern part of the county – found a spot on Route 9 in Eagleswood Township, right across the street from Eagleswood Elementary School.

At the time, the property was nothing but trees, but Card and Hafner agreed it would be a perfect place for the future of their business. After some time operating out of a storefront in the McKinley Plaza shopping center in Manahawkin, Trident opened the doors to its new location on Dec. 1.

“I saw a big need around here,” said the 51-year-old Hafner, who after 25 years in service retired from the LBTPD several years ago. “There was no place for kids to work on sports performance. All the kids from around here were traveling a long way to get that kind of specialized training. So, we found a place centrally located to Southern Regional and Pinelands (Regional) and not far from Barnegat, and now here we are.”

Offering a variety of “functional fitness” training programs – meaning you’re not using elaborate machinery to provide resistance but rather utilizing simpler tools (kettlebells, medicine balls, heavy ropes, etc.) to help enhance the body’s natural movement patterns while conditioning and strengthening muscle groups and other connective tissue – Trident has 60- to 90-minute sessions throughout the day, starting at 5:15 a.m. and running until about 7:15 p.m.

Some of the standard programs at Trident include kettlebell core training and general team fitness training, designed for larger groups, as well as functional fitness training and adult performance training, designed for very small groups. And even better, each program can be tailored according to an individual’s movement ability, current fitness level and specific interests.

For athletes, they first receive a functional movement screening – similar to those football players take prior to the NFL Combine – and athletic assessments, so they can be properly placed in a group of no more than 10 in accordance to their abilities.

“We’re training athletes to improve their sports skills,” Hafner said. “If you’re a baseball player, we don’t teach you how to better swing a bat. We’re here to see how you move and improve your mechanics for better movement. We focus on conditioning athletes for speed, agility and precise movement, which in turn increases athletic performance.”

But while Hafner has a specific interest in assisting middle- and high-school athletes increase their potential for greatness in sports, Trident’s doors are open to all, even older adults and young parents with small children.

“We have something for everybody,” Card said. “If you’re a mom with three kids and have a tight schedule to keep, we have a fitness program for you, and you can show up for the 5 p.m. session and be out of here by 6:05 p.m., without waiting to use equipment. If you’re a senior or somebody who may be too afraid to walk into a typical gym, we have small-group programs in which you get more personalized training.”

With a crew of certified instructors and trainers, Trident has a unique niche in its ability to help more people become more functionally fit and strong. And with an in-house “Recovery Station” – basically, a post-workout smoothie bar where you can purchase a protein shake to immediately help put vital nutrients back into your body and help aid in the recovery process – it offers exactly what is needed for both athletes and the average individual within a simple, efficient and clean environment.

Furthermore, the pricing, while it depends on the exact depth of how you utilize Trident’s services, is reasonable. Sports performance athletes will pay between $70 and $175 per month, while adult fitness programs range from $99 to $250 per month.

“The level of coaching and training you’re getting here is top-notch stuff,” Hafner said. “We understand how the body moves, and we know how to be consistent in pushing an individual’s potential while keeping them accountable to what they’ve signed up for. If you’re going to be successful, you have to be consistent.”

Card said the average tenure among Trident clientele is about three years, and the Trident trainers’ goals include transforming a client’s mindset to making fitness and functional-strength training part of a lifestyle, not something done for “a quick fix.”

“We’re not just Paul and Carolyn who opened up another gym,” Card said. “We’re part of a reputable network in sports performance, and we’re doing things right here. We are clean and professional in our approach to what we do here, and we’re experts in our industry. And you can see the difference when you walk in the door.”

For more information about Trident and its programs, or to book your spot for a training session, call 609-857-3135 or visit

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