Each of our personal trainers must have previous experience in the field, specific education and particular certifications. An extensive apprenticeship program takes place that was designed by founder, Justin Thacker. His soaring expectations and scrutiny maintain one of the highest success rates in the area.


Justin Thacker applied everything he was taught, trained and experienced over the last 30+ years. Being a National Champion Olympic Weightlifter, a Coach on MANY platforms, Registered Dietitian, specialist on various levels and certifications, he created programming with endless possibilities. His methods have been applied to not only athletes but major weight loss clients, children, people with physical disabilities, individuals in the geriatric crowd, someone suffering from an injury or a plethora of illnesses. All of this combined developed The L.A.B.’s training system, which has been the catalyst for countless success stories.  


Whether you workout with a group, on your own or 1-on-1 with a trainer you will be surrounded by people with similar struggles, accomplishments, and goals. The atmosphere is filled with energy to keep you motivated and determined. On any given day you would witness a 74 year old hit a new PR on deadlifts, a junior in high school learning how to properly use dumbbells, or converse with someone during cardio who recovered from a massive heart attack. Each member has a story and we encourage them to share to empower others. 


In the Beginning

In 2007, The Lab: Human Performance and Preventative Health opened their doors on Laclede Street. However, Justin Thacker shared his passion and perks of weightlifting years before the gym was a thought.

The motivation began in his uncle’s garage when Justin was 10. Uncle Scott was involved with bodybuilding and powerlifting and helped fuel the passion throughout the gym today. Justin’s older brother Chris, who is now the general manager of the gym, was built bigger and picked on his little brother. This also motivated Justin to gain strength and endurance, so he could take him on and defend himself.

All throughout high school if you needed to find Justin all you had to do was stop by that garage as he trained for hours every day. He applied his new found skill set and started competing in strength sports at age 16. His momentum built from there. Justin’s determination and continuous motivation led him to compete in over a hundred Olympic weightlifting, strongman and power-lifting competitions from as early as the mid-1990s. Ultimately winning over thirty national and international medals in Olympic weightlifting.  He was a silver medalist at the 2010 National Olympic Weightlifting Championships in the 94kg class, a Junior National and Junior Olympic National champion, and was an Olympic Trials qualifier in 2004, along with a fourth place at the North American Strongman National Championships.

Justing Thacker the founder of The L.A.B. Gym lifting a boulder onto a platform in a strongman competition

Accomplishing these feats, among countless competitions, he invested academically to complete his formula for success, adding to the best part of any client’s day. After graduating from Althoff High School, he proceeded to Saint Louis University where he was inticed by the nutrition side of things; incorperating it to enhance performance even more.  He garnered a double major with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Ultimately culminating a Masters in Nutrition and Physical Performance, ALL while accomplishing the above competitions.  

Justin passed away in 2019. His celebration of life was scheduled to be two hours long. Six hours into all the stories shared the long line that still remained had to be shut down at 1:30am to prepare for the burial. There aren’t words that emphasize the impact of losing him on a personal level or even globally speaking.  The L.A.B. Gym is thriving today because of the foundation he groomed and the community he brought together because it was the best part of his day. Every. Single. Day.

A legend in his own time, leaving a legacy that has reached thousands.

There is no better time to learn how to be a lab rat than right now. Contact us to learn how the legacy will benefit you.

DEFINE your legacy!

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