The Midwest Strength and Performance Story

Mike Sell, TJ Lawson, JT Baginski, Zane Roebuck, Jimmy Walker & Ashley Sell owners of Midwest Strength and Performance Wheaton
Our founders

Mike Sell, TJ Lawson, JT Baginski, Zane Roebuck, Jimmy Walker & Ashley Sell

MSP GYM was founded in 2017 with the specific goal of becoming the most client-centric and results-driven gym in the Greater Wheaton Area. Corporate gyms are known for penalizing clients financially for the silliest things, offering impersonal workouts, and putting profit over people. We are different. Our boutique fitness facility combines client-centricity and intelligent programming. We fervently believe that everyone can reach their unique fitness goals, and all of our fitness offerings are organized so that each and every movement can be customized and modified based on fitness history, age, goals, abilities, etc. We use evidence-based programming principles to help our clients succeed, and we meet with all of our members individually at least every quarter to ensure they’re making progress. At MSP, you are not only joining a gym, but a united community that is here to have fun and support you each and every step of the way. Get ready to join the most goal-driven gym family in the Midwest!

Our coaches

JT Baginski coach at Midwest Strength and Performance Wheaton

JT Baginski


Specializations: Powerlifting & Bodybuilding Adult Semi-Private Fitness Athlete Semi-Private Fitness.

JT was born and raised in DuPage County. He is a certified personal trainer and strength coach (CSCS), and has been working in the fitness industry since 2013. JT is a former athlete in football and wrestling, as well as a former youth wrestling coach at Hadley Jr. High and has been active in sports and fitness since an early age. In his spare time, JT competes in USA Powerlifting (USAPL) as a drug free powerlifter and has also competed in The National Physique Committee (NPC) in the classic physique division. JT founded the MSP Lisle location, which is a 1,400 square foot private fitness facility equipped for any and all fitness goals. Through fitness, JT seeks to motivate and educate our clients, challenging them with an ever-evolving repertoire of fitness techniques and cutting-edge fitness equipment. As part of the MSP Family and Methodology, MSP Lisle clients include all ages and experience levels, however, share the common ground that every client receives equal thoughtful fitness and guidance. Whether your goals are functional, aesthetic, or sports-performance related, JT takes pride in actively working with MSP clients to help them achieve their maximum physical potential.

TJ Lawson coach at Midwest Strength and Performance Wheaton

TJ Lawson


Specializations: Weight Management Sports Conditioning Strength Fitness Steel Mace Fitness TJ Lawson is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and graduated with a B.S. in Exercise Science from Carroll University.

He played 4 years of Varsity Football in college and interned as a Strength Coach with the UCLA Athletic Performance Department and the Swift Olympic Speed Skating Team . He has worked with some of the best college athletes in the nation in a wide range of sports including Football, Lacrosse, Gymnastics, Softball, Women’s Swimming and Diving, Women’s Water Polo, and Golf. TJ uses his expert experience as well as out-of-the-box methodologies to construct unique and result-driven programs. Whether you’re an athlete or an everyday individual, TJ will put your goals first and work with you every step of the way to ensure success.

Valentina Fuss


Specializations: Female Strength & Fitness Bodybuilding Strongman Crossfit.

Hi, Coach V here! I was born and raised in Russia. Growing up, I was more of a nerd than an athlete, and it wasn’t until 2007 when I moved to the US that I became a fitness junkie. I tried all kinds of different activities like running, spinning, yoga, and bodybuilding, you name it. I found CrossFit in 2012, and in 2015, I started my coaching career as a CrossFit Kids/Teens coach. Not too long after that I started coaching CrossFit adult classes as well. Over time I became more interested in Strongman style fitness. For the last few years I’ve been fitness and competing as a Strongman athlete. It didn’t take me long to see a need for a specialized fitness group for women only – a judgment free, noncompetitive arena where they could lift weights, build their skills and enjoy the company of other awesome women. With the goal of creating a fun and empowering class for women with the sole purpose of building confidence through strength, I started several women’s only strength classes in 2018 and have been offering them in addition to my co-ed classes and personal fitness.

Ashley Sell


Ashley is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She was a four year starter on the Women’s Volleyball Team at Wheaton College (IL), and she was voted MVP her senior year for her role as an influential and impactful leader. She also has experience competing in drug-free powerlifting competitions and she set the Illinois State deadlift record in the AAPF in 2017.

In High School, Ashley was voted the Orange County (CA) Athletic Director’s Association Athlete of the Year for her achievements as a CIF State Champion & Captain on the Varsity Volleyball team & CIF State Swimmer.

Ashley also had a professional career before becoming an Owner at MSP, which included working at a large Chicago law firm, as a consultant for a legal technology company, and interning at the White House.

At MSP, Ashley is focused on business operations, growth, and optimizing the community experience. She can answer any questions you might have about membership, classes, training options, and connecting with the right Coach!

Andy Siar


Andy has been a certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer (CSCS and CPT) since 2009 and has also been involved in corporate fitness roles such as high level national management. He has coached a wide range of skillsets from children as young as 7yrs old all the way to professional athletes of various sports – and everyone in between! He joined MSP because of the environment that it presents, the people that run the business and his true enjoyment for assisting people of all levels of fitness to get to their fitness desires.
He is married to his lovely wife, Shannon, with whom he has two children, Ryker (5) and Wyatt (3). They enjoy working out together, being outside, and doing anything active with their children. At the same time they enjoy sitting around and watching a nice movie. He also loves eating new foods!

Abby Rutledge


Abby is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She specializes in kettlebell training, youth athletics, and adult group fitness. She is also passionate about strength for women and is dedicated to motivating her clients to reach their goals. Abby loves being part of the MSP
team because each team member is committed to excellence and is truly invested in their clients
lives and fitness journey!

She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish at Wheaton College. Additionally, Coach Abby was a competitive swimmer at Wheaton College, finishing with All-Conference Honors throughout her college career. Outside of the gym, Abby loves to try new restaurants, bake, and spend time with friends.

At MSP, Abby is a Personal Trainer and Community Success Manager. In these roles she can curate custom programs for her clients and also dive deep into optimizing our community experience!


Kael is a certified trainer who specializes in Personal Training, Adult Semi-Private Fitness, Athlete Semi-Private Fitness, and Kettlebell Training.

Kael was born and raised in Delaware, Ohio. He is driven to help each client reach their goals but also wants clients to enjoy the training process. He utilizes the Scientific Principles of Strength Training to ensure every client reaches their potential.

Kael is currently a student athlete at Wheaton College. He is finishing his Bachelor’s degree in History and Secondary Education. He is on the Varsity Men’s Swim Team and developed the Strength and Conditioning program for his team. He focuses on sprint butterfly and freestyle events, is an All-Conference performer, and winner of the CCIW Respect Award. Additionally, Kael works as a swim coach and instructor on the side.

In high school, Kael was a swim captain and MVP, a football and track athlete, Scholar Athlete award winner, and an Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award winner. Outside of the gym, he enjoys playing the violin, watching movies, playing any competitive games, and cheering on both the Ohio State Buckeyes and Chicago Bears.

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