Finding the motivation to work out is not always as easy as it seems. We have busy lives consisting of work, school, raising a family, sports and guitar lessons. It’s difficult to wake up earlier or stay out later to go to the gym.

As a retired athlete, I share the same struggles. I played collegiate softball one year at Coastal Carolina University and two years at Appalachian State University.

During those three years, I was on a workout schedule set by my coaches. I was provided with workouts and directed by a strength and conditioning coach who held me accountable for my weight, the amount of weight I was lifting and the form I was using to do so.

Having someone there to challenge and encourage me made it easier for me to get through my workouts. I was able to grow as an athlete and lift more than I had ever expected to. 

After graduating college, it became much harder for me to find motivation to workout.

Fortunately, there are gyms that provide you with coaches and a team of athletes to workout with. At those gyms, the workouts are already planned in order to challenge you, you’re encouraged and you’re held accountable. If you’re like me, this is the type of gym for you.

Iron Tribe Fitness, which is participating in the Huntersville Healthy-Me Challenge, opened in September. The gym focuses on functional fitness, which includes weight training, cardio and endurance training using various types of equipment, such as barbells, kettlebells, pull-up bars, rowers and rings.

The gym refers to its clients as a tribe of athletes, making each one a part of a bigger team. Each Iron Tribe only accepts 300 athletes so that the tribe is a close-knit fitness family. Athletes are required to go through 101 training before they begin the actual classes.

Jey Yokeley, a coach at Iron Tribe Fitness in Huntersville, played four years of football at Appalachian State University. During college, fitness became his passion. Now, he wants to share his love for fitness with others and help improve the lives of as many people as he can.

Yokeley recently took time to answer questions about how Iron Tribe could be the right fit for those who need motivation and direction.  


Q: What are the best parts about coaching at ITF?

A: Aside from coaching and being a trainer, the most gratifying part of being a coach at ITF is being able to help people. Being that person that can take someone from point A to point B and watch them change is an indescribable feeling. If I can make someone's life happier or more enjoyable, whether it be fitness related or not, then I have done my job.


Q: What are some advantages of going through 101 classes instead of beginning with regular workouts?

A: When an athlete is unfamiliar with specific movements or exercises, a detailed 101 program can be extremely beneficial in teaching how to properly perform each specific exercise and how to navigate your way around a gym are very important. 


Q: Why is it more beneficial to join a gym where coaches are involved in every workout than to join a gym where you are on your own?

A: Having a full-time coach lead and monitor your workout is a tremendous advantage and asset. It ensures that someone with the proper knowledge on form and technique is present at all times, which in return, means you will receive a more beneficial workout because you will be performing each exercise correctly and eliminating the risk of injury.


Q: What advice would you give to those searching for the “right” gym?

A: Finding the “right” gym can be a more difficult task than some may think. You want to feel comfortable, confident and at home when you are working out in your gym. Every gym has something different to offer an individual. It is important to find a coach/trainer that you can trust and feel comfortable with. Also the programming/style of training must be one that the athlete truly enjoys and looks forward to. The other members of the gym also will play a role in finding the "right" gym. Surrounding yourself with others who have a drive to better themselves will only help you reach your goals.


Q: Why should people join ITF? What can you assure they will get from it?

A: We get results. Whether it be weight-loss, muscle-building, strength-building or overall improvement of health, ITF can and will help you achieve it.


Q: How do you keep athletes accountable at ITF?

A: I always tell our athletes that I will give them 100 percent while they are inside the gym doors and under my coaching. I refuse to let someone give up or not reach their full potential. But I also ask them to do the same for themselves when they leave. I will always do my best to hold every athlete accountable whether it be a phone call, email or handwritten note. It is my full-time job to make sure each and every athlete knows I am here for them.

Want to go? Iron Tribe Fitness is located at 13015 Rosedale Hill Ave. To join the tribe walk-in, visit or call 704-654-9118.