Famous fitness guru partners with hospital

Has worked with superstar athletes, written 7 books

A nationally renowned sports trainer and fitness expert has opened a wellness center in St. Charles Parish Hospital.

Mackie Shilstone, 63, the author of seven health and fitness books, has worked with some of the greatest athletes of the past half century including Hall of Fame baseball player Ozzie Smith, former Saints running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, boxing champion Bernard Hopkins and 16-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, with whom he travels the globe.

“I have worked with every pro athlete you can think of,” Shilstone said. “I have been doing this for 40 years.”

Despite his lengthy client list, Shilstone has always stayed close to his roots in the New Orleans area where his career first began to take shape. Shilstone was born and raised in New Orleans and was a walk-on wide receiver for Tulane University.

Now Shilstone is getting even more entrenched in the area by partnering with St. Charles Parish Hospital. The partnership will bring high-profile clients such as professional athletes, Major League Baseball umpires and corporate executives to St. Charles Parish. However, Shilstone is hoping to influence the lives of local residents by helping them get in shape to prevent injury and prolong their lives.

Shilstone offers what he likes to call lifestyle training. The end goal of Shilstone’s program is to bring optimal health to those who participate.

“We can do strategic nutrition. We are going to do things at this hospital you are not going to find anywhere else, such as a DEXA scan to measure fat to muscle and bone content,” he said. “My dietician will not only know how much fat you have, but also where it is located.”

Patients who visit Shilstone’s clinic go through an array of assessments with the end result being a diet and exercise program they can follow to increase their health and wellness.

“We can take a woman who wants to lose weight and we can do a test that will take probably an hour and give her a strategic plan,” he said.

For local high school, middle school and even younger athletes, Shilstone said his program is set up to assess athletic technique and make individual adjustments to a player’s style that may prevent injury.

“What we are trying to do is a preemptive strike and identify injury before it happens,” he said. “We are going to be offering a functional motion screen that can show injuries before they are occurring and it takes 15 minutes per person. It is a series of seven tests and a perfect score is 21. Anyone scoring less than 14 has a potential for injury. “

The partnership between St. Charles Parish Hospital and Shilstone is linked to a personal relationship the trainer has with hospital CEO Federico Martinez. Martinez and Shilstone attended the Master’s of Business Administration program together at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.

“When (Martinez) saw the opportunity for me to do a partnership he was quick to say, ‘What can you do for us?’” Shilstone said.

While Shilstone is currently offering his services at St. Charles Parish Hospital, plans are in place to allow his program office space in the hospital’s East Bank facility that is currently under construction along River Road in Destrehan.

The site, when completed next year, will serve as a base for the continuation of the MLB Lifestyle Management Program for major league umpires, which allows for injured umpires to receive rehab and training. This area will also serve local law enforcement and fire personnel as a private training center.

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