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Dragondoor Instructor Reviews

After a life of surfing, beach volleyball, karate, squash, and racquetball I ruined my back and spent three weeks on the couch on pain killers and six weeks gimping around feeling I was all washed up. I went to two different chiropractors (one a bone cruncher and the other a physical therapist style tissue/massage guy), also a massage tech, and a acupuncturist.All to no avail. I was told I might not play squash again. On my first visit to Max I went through range of motion testing and was rated only one step above a cripple. I was expecting a typical grunt and groan workout program. Much to my suprise I have spent the last five weeks doing what Max calls myo~facial release. All the exercises are taken home for corresponding homework exercises. I am back playing high level squash and racquetball and am better than before my back injury, Max says I have a ways to go before I really feel the benefits of opening up my hips, shoulders, etc. I feel I owe Max credit for extending my sports career and tell everyone I meet my story.

Leo Gurnoe – Encinitas, California


I have trained with NFL and NCAA Division 1 strength coaches in my younger days and never achieved the improvements I received from working out with Max. He helped me, through nutrition and strength training, to lose 70 pounds of fat while putting on 20-25 pounds of muscle. For the first time in my life, I had detail in my abs while never doing a sit-up or crunch. Max understands the human body, its movement and function. He knows how to motivate you, push you and achieve your best. After training with Max, I have been able to do feats of strength I could never do, even 20 years ago when in my athletic prime. More than his knowledge and motivation, Max is a great person. He’s humble and unassuming. You will not find a better trainer on the planet! Do yourself a favor and contact Max today for a better tomorrow. Max, you are the best!

Dwayne O’Connor – Indianapolis, formerly San Marcos, CA


I have been training with Mike Baltren for close to 5 years.  I follow him wherever he goes-he’s that good!  Mike looks for biomechanical weaknesses and works to strengthen those areas.  The strength and flexibility I have gained as a result of correctly using kettlebells, free weights, medicine balls etc. shows in the ease of doing everyday chores and in all of my outdoor activities and has kept my once week lower back pain free. Mike modifies any exercise to my fitness level, which allows me to progress without getting injured. He pays very close attention to correct technique. The main reason I think Mike is such a great trainer is that he makes my workout hard enough so that I continue to get physically stronger and challenging enough so I feel like I can’t do another rep…but the second I walk out the door I’m thinking “tomorrow I’m going to do one more!” It’s addicting!
If you want to set and reach your goals, gain strength and flexibility-without getting injured, call Mike or Max at Ambition Athletics.  Hope to see you there.

Karen Craven – Encinitas, CA


I started working with Max and Mike a couple of months ago when it became apparent that I needed help to overhaul my training regimen. The last couple of competitive seasons for me have been cut short by a series of nagging injuries, which cut into my training, which in turn left me out of shape and more injury prone.  The detail oriented training at Ambition Athletics broke this cycle, went right to the cause of many of my problems, and I felt the results almost on a weekly basis. Am an winning competitions again and getting ready for Nationals in Oregon in April – but more importantly, I am feeling strong and pain free while getting ready for it. Can definitely recommend this place.

Jens Stephen – San Marcos, CA, Encinitas Fencing Academy


Max has impressed me with his strength, athleticism, movement ability and coaching style. In the last 12 months Max and I have shared training methodologies and have had the opportunity to learn from each other. As a fitness professional for over 14 years I have met few coaches as gifted, as passionate and as capable as Max. He is light years ahead of the rest of the trainers out there. It is very RARE to find a young strength coach/trainer that is both incredbily strong and powerful and yet has the ability to help the rest of us non-mutants out there become like Max. Every time I train with Max I come away with knowledge that instantly makes me better, stronger and healthier. I highly recommend Max to anyone serious about their fitness, health, movement skills and goals. Thank you Max for being a Bad-Ass and for being humble!

Franz Snideman RKC Team Leader – La Jolla, CA


These guys are great! I had the good fortune to work with Max & Mike while visiting San Diego, and I cannot recommend them enough. Highly knowledgeable, great communication skills, extremely professional, and truly inspiring to say the least. If you live, work, or visit Encinitas, do yourself a favor and train with these guys!

Jason B. -
San Leandro, CA


Max has worked with me on weight loss, overall fitness, toning, strength, and rehab from shoulder surgery. Results? Amazing! In a remarkable period of time, I lost 60 pounds and did it in a healthy manner. I am strong and have boundless energy. With Max’s help, I have maintained my weight loss for over one year now, even while I was recovering from shoulder surgery. But in addition to Max helping me reach my fitness goals, I have a lot of fun with Max. He is a true professional, skillfully guiding my workouts and making it enjoyable.

Cheri – San Diego, CA


Max’s instruction and expertise is a perfect fit for just about any athletic level, training style, and personality. He has that unique ability of adapting his own style to meet his clients’ needs. His knowledge of body mechanics, form, and function combined with a true desire to serve his clients to the best of his ability makes him a top-notch trainer with a heart of gold. Thanks for the many years of encouragement, wisdom, education, and friendship, Max. You’re the best.

Julie – Del Mar, CA


Max has taken my strength and physical form to a new level. I am a mother of three and wanted to get my body back and my strength. He has helped me achieve my goals. He is very knowledgeable. I highly recommend him. Of all the trainers I have worked with I achieved my goals with Max and very quickly.

Wendy – Rancho Santa Fe, CA


I am 62 years old, I asked Max to design a program for me that would enable me to increase strength specifically for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I also asked him to teach me the program in only 10 weeks, one session a week. This was 4 months ago. I am in the gym with Max’s program 4 to 6 times a week and my strength has improved enormously. He gave me so much information and technique that I am able to vary my workout endlessly. Exactly what I was looking for. Excellent!

Curtis Hesselgrave – Encinitas, CA


I have trained with Max for a few years now. Even when I grouse about the morning’s choice of exercises, Max patiently insists that I perform my best. He ensures that my form is correct and always makes me push to my limit despite my many excuses and complaints. Max is very conscientious and works around my physical limitations. I am probably as combat-ready as any nearly-54-year-old woman can be, thanks to Max.

Jeri – Encinitas, CA


Mike Baltren is a very knowledgeable trainer.  He listens to you and your needs.  Be honest and tell him what you’re looking for in your workout sessions.  He will put you though a workout that will help you achieve your goals.  There is nothing more satisfying than reaching your workout goals and loving the confidence that comes with the new body you are seeking.   Thank you Mike for working with me to help shed pounds and put my body in great athletic shape.

Judy Wessels – Pro Skater, San Marcos


After working with Max for approximately 1.5 months, I was surprised at the level of flexibility and strength that I had developed. What was even more compelling was that I noticed a difference within my posture and core strength as well. Max has a unique approach to his training in that he focuses on areas that are pertinent to the individual. As a student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it becomes very apparent that flexibility and stamina are key components in developing a more well rounded game. That being the case, Max was able to greatly impact these areas for me and not only did he do it in a short period of time, but rather made it fun at the same time. The only problem that I know face is that his classes are addictive and I have found that missing a class lends itself to disappointment. If you are looking to increase your strength, flexibility and overall well being, please give Max a call. I can assure you, you will not be let down.

Thanks, Max.
Bob Lloyd – Encinitas, CA


Ten years of sprains, dislocations and broken bones had left my body in a pretty haggard state. I’d been to numerous doctors and sports medicine clinics in hopes of finding a way to lessen my day to day pain. None of them were able to do what Max helped me to do, train the pain away.
I was referred to Max after a long and particularly unsuccessful year of physical therapy for shoulder and knee injuries due to trauma from skateboarding.
Right away Max was able to identify the weaknesses in my movements (using the Functional Movement Screen) that were contributing to my chronic pain and stiffness. In two sessions he had me confidently pressing a weight over my head (more than I had lifted in a year) and squatting deep without pain in my knee.He puts a lot of emphasis on teaching perfect form which helped greatly. Max keeps training simple, efficient and above all effective. He has an eye for what will be beneficial nothing superficial.
I really liked how approachable he was as a trainer. He understood that I was skater desperately trying to get back to pursuing my passion and he tailored a program to get me thrashing again.

Ben – Madison, Wisconsin


I was a scrawny kid my whole life, and with Ambition Athletics guidance, was able to replace the only 5% of body fat I had for 20 lbs of quality muscle. Improved speed, explosiveness, flexibility, and fixed shoulder/back problems from competitive tennis. Go get a fancy gym membership to flirt with trainers, sample every supplement, and make excuses to try out new workout clothes while your fitness idles.  Join Ambition Athletics for real results. Whether you’re just starting out, or already a competitive athlete, they will help you improve towards your goals.

Marcus – Del Mar, CA


Ambition Athletics is “The Place” for smart and efficient training. Learning from Max is always refreshing and rejuvenating. I recommend this program to everyone who wants great fitness results.

Alex V. – Chula Vista, CA


I have been training with Mike Baltren (I call him Troy) for as long as I can remember. He has helped me lose inches, build strength & improve my “core”. I have a lot of physical issues & he is always accommodating.
Mike is a really nice guy on top of being a great trainer. He really knows his stuff!
He also ran a “Junior Boot Camp” at my son’s school last year & the kids loved it!

Muffy Walker – Rancho Santa Fe, CA


I started training with Max at Ambition Athletics a couple of months ago.  I have had 2 children in the last 3 years and I am also an athlete.  In the last 2 months my strength has increased by leaps and bounds. I am doing things now that I didn’t think were possible, and my body is moving so much better.  I highly recommend training at Ambition Athletics.

Elise B. – Solana Beach, CA


In 1982 I was awarded high personal fitness score in my battallion(320 marines) in Parris Island at Marine Corps boot camp.  25 years of construction and partying had broken me down pretty hard.  All my attempts to get back into shape were derailed by shoulder injuries.  After the past 15 years of having debilitating shoulder injuries and constant pain, I gave up.
6 weeks with max and I’m stronger than I would have believed possible!  I have ZERO shoulder hiderances to my workouts, and my overall attitude towards coming each week is great!  I recommend Max for any athlete who wants to get strong and move well.

Mike Grande – Vista, CA


I started training with Max to increase my conditioning for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  After 2 months, 2 hours per week, I’ve noticed a big difference in my overall strength and conditioning.  I find the kettlebell work very effective in strengthening the joints, especially the shoulders.  I’ve also noticed increased strength in my grip,  glutes, hamstrings, and hips, which transfers over perfectly for Jiu Jistsu.  Very knowledgeable trainer, can spot your weaknesses and push you to develop them.

Miles K. – Encinitas, CA


Such a great place to really get into shape!! I love going in and getting one on one training from the staff. I train with Max and he not only keeps me motivated but makes the workouts fun, I mean as much fun as you can have while getting your ass kicked haha! Since I’ve been training with ambition athletics, my strength, endurance, and mobility have all improved significantly. This place is a must for anyone who really wants to get into shape! Also when i had hurt my shoulder Max gave me some exercises to do regularly and it completely took my pain away! These guys rock and really know their stuff!

Stephanie M. – Carlsbad, CA