Photos by Christine Craddock
Change. Commitment. Character. Champion. These are the words that define C4 Explosive Sports Training in Manassas as well as its owner and founder, Charlie Chandler. “I always felt that in sports and activities, you learn a lot of lessons. When you commit to changing and working hard, you not only develop great character,” he said, “but a champion mentality. Regardless of what the results are, you come out a champion.”
C4 is a family owned gym on a mission to create strong bodies and even stronger minds through education and movement in a non-judgmental and family-oriented environment. It is the result of more than two decades of experience and hard work put in by Chandler, a teacher and coach at Patriot High School, who’s dedicated himself to helping others reach their fullest potential. He currently teaches health, drivers education and weight training and has coached football for a combined 13 years, taking five off to stay home with his daughter. After years of training adults and kids in his personal gym or rented spaces, the opportunity to open C4 presented itself two years ago and, in Chandler’s words, “It’s been full steam ahead ever since.”
According to Chandler, C4 offers the “Heinz 57® blend” of athletic training. That includes everything from team training, adult one-on-one training and group classes, to athletic performance training for high school and college athletes. It’s the athletic performance training that has turned out to be the cornerstone difference of the gym.
In an area flush with a variety of fitness facilities, C4’s focus on building explosive power, muscular strength, muscular endurance, mobility, flexibility, body composition, good nutrition, and body weight management attracts athletes from surrounding counties as well as Culpeper, Madison, and Washington, DC, and others who come from out of state. It has quite the reputation and, when the pandemic shuttered gyms, Charlie made sure his members, who he says are like family, could continue to train.
For starters, he loaned equipment to those who requested it. Next, he launched an online training platform that is still in place and allows members to work out with their favorite trainer from the comfort and safety of their home. And finally, because family and community are paramount to Chandler, he opened C4 to the KUMA Foundation, a local nonprofit that brings science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) education to underserved kids who used it for four weeks as a staging facility while volunteers collected food for those in need. “The gym was full of food and boxes,” he said. “It was a great feeling knowing that through the tough times we could get together and support each other.”
While Chandler’s passion for giving back to the community was evident during the pandemic, it certainly didn’t start there. Almost since it opened, C4 has offered scholarships to students who otherwise cannot afford a membership but who are dedicated to furthering their athletic education. In addition, the gym supports several local sports organizations including Brigade Lacrosse, Grizzlies Football, Stonewall Jackson High School, Patriot High School, and the Victory Lakes swim team.
In the two years since it opened, C4 has grown tremendously. In December, the gym moved to a new, larger space where it can accommodate more athletes and offer even more classes and options to clients. It’s a place where members of all ages and stages receive expert training, space to clear their mind, and encouragement to work hard and achieve their goals. It is very much a community committed to creating strong bodies and strong, smart minds. Says Chandler, “It begins with the culture we’ve developed. We get to know each person on an individual basis and we develop a good personal relationship. It’s very much a family feel.”
Indeed, his own family, wife Tracy, sons Braden, Christian, and Trent, and daughter Carlie are often in the gym, working with the athletes and demonstrating their dedication to the C4 motto: Change. Commitment. Character. Champion. Of course should they ever decide to add a fifth C, we respectfully suggest community.
For more information on C4, visit their website at c4strong.com