About – Raw Fitness NC

About Us



Our founder Coach Mike moved to North Carolina in 2009 with no clients, no gym, and a burning passion for fitness. This passion led him to being hired and training clients at a local gym from 8am to 8pm. His father told him, “love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life.” This couldn’t be more accurate.

A gym member approached Mike due to his success in training his son for his college football career, and asked him to check out his old barn in hopes of training local athletes using the space. This was the jump-start that Mike needed. Used weights, sandbags, kettlebells, and the legendary 360 lb tire got shoved in that barn. It was Rocky IV all over again. No heat, no a/c, no running water; just hungry high school athletes and a willingness to train hard.

If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat down a path to your door. Raw Fitness (aptly named) got results and interest grew. It was time to get a real space, so that old barn which many original members will surely miss would be no more. We packed up and moved and continued to add the most cutting edge functional training tools. Clients continued to pour in despite zero marketing effort whatsoever. By June 2013, the gym had quadrupled in size to 4,300 square feet!

New owner Coach Emily joined up at perhaps the most opportune time... the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic! While she wasn't here for the barn days, she still has the spirit of Raw Fitness in her heart. With a few years of experience under her belt, and under Coach Mike's guidance, she quickly developed a drive to grow the gym even more and bounce back after the world was shut down. 

We aren’t done yet, so feel free to join the movement. If you are serious about changing your health, body, or performance, then come with us on our journey to help 100% of the people 100% of the time. It might never be accomplished, but we are not going down without a fight!

MEET Our Owners

Michael Montefusco

Owner/ Comeback Commander/ Precision Nutrition L1 Coach

Michael is very familiar with not being a fit individual. He actually spent much of his life as the polar opposite. He ran with the wrong crowd in high school and became a stock broker in New York at 19 years of age. Lots of money and bad habits were not a good combination. He spent most of his early 20’s with a terrible drug addiction. He has been in several detoxes and rehabs and even experienced homelessness. The picture above is a recent shot of the tree he used to sleep behind in 2004. God’s grace was upon him and gave him a second chance. It has fueled his passion of showing others they can change, and achieve more than they thought was possible.

Mike prides himself on his goal of helping 100% of his clients 100% of the time. He strongly believes that with proper guidance, hard work, and determination, the average client can achieve above average results. His philosophy is simple: give the client what they want, give the client what they need, get it fast, and make it fun! Michael forged his training chops in the fierce and fit city of Los Angeles where he was aptly dubbed, “Trainer to the Stars.” He worked for several high profile clients such as: Brad Pitts’ agents’ nanny, and the woman who managed the Starbucks that once served Charlie Sheen.

On a more serious note, Michael is certified in the Functional Movement Screen, a system for analyzing and correcting faulty movement patterns which have been proven to predict injury. He has completed 4 courses at The Postural Restoration Institute and regularly uses their methodologies to help restore proper function for his clients . He is also a certified Youth Speed and Agility Specialist through the International Youth Conditioning Association. He is extremely passionate about molding today’s youth not only into better athletes, but better people through his emphasis on hard work and perseverance.

Michael is certified through the prestigious National Academy of Sports Medicine and is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach and reads and studies basically every piece of fitness related material he can get his hands on. He has 11 years of experience of not only training his clients but also working as Master Trainer for the Charlotte areas largest training company.

He is currently employed as the Fitness Coach for the Carolina Rapids US Soccer Developmental Academy Program. He oversees both strength and conditioning for them as well as injury prevention.

Whether you compete in sport or the game of life, Mike salivates at the opportunity to help you reach your fullest potential.


No question is a bad question. We want to answer any concerns you may have. Check out some of our frequently asked questions, or ask us a question below!


We are extremely competitive with our pricing. It depends upon your specific situation and needs, but typically our members pay $40 per hour of personal training and $12 per 50 minute class. Our gym access-only membership is $40 per month, and we have packs of personal training sessions available to buy. 


100% Unpretentious. We have people of all shapes and sizes and experience levels. The coaches are much more on the encouraging side versus the “Jillian Michaels” get in your face style. We still get great results for our members with the former.


Then you will be like the 99.5% of people who come to us. You will see some really fit people at the gym, but none of them came to us that way. We always have lots of newer people so you will be part of the majority.


Fun, engaging, energetic and motivating. They are smaller in size (Like 5-10 people) and we have lots of different toys like kettlebells, sandbags, ropes and sleds so you’ll have plenty of variety (though no one comes to us knowing how to use any of them, so newcomers are very welcome)


There’s no dreadmills, but we do have rowers, bikes, slideboards and a stair-climber. Because we specialize in fat loss, we do cardio in shorter bursts using really effective tools like medicine balls and heavy rope training. We never have our members off doing mindless repetitive cardio getting less than optimal results.


Never. We have 4300 square feet and even when a class is going on, there is still plenty of breathing room.


We have gone to great lengths to know exactly how to take anyone, regardless of their gym experience, from a total newbie into a “Raw-Fitness-ologist”. So they can crush their goals and maintain them forever!


Our trainers use fat burning exercises that are not just effective, but a whole lot of fun too! Some of the best exercises for fat loss are pretty non-traditional and come from the world of sports training. Your fat loss workout at RAW Fitness could include:

  • Flipping tires
  • Throwing medicine balls
  • Punching a heavy bag
  • Bungee sprints
  • Swinging a sledgehammer
  • Any of the above in almost any combination you can imagine!

You’ll be amazed to discover that the type of training we use for fat loss is not just super-effective but also great fun! Our trainers are experts at designing innovative and exciting fat burning workouts that will help you lose fat faster than you ever thought possible. Our fat loss workouts are for everyone – whether you need to lose your first 50 pounds, or your last five.


We have an InBody body fat scale that is one of the most accurate scales out there. By using this scale, we can tell you your resting metabolic rate (how many calories you need per day), body fat %, how much muscle you have on your body, hydration level, and more! It can get so specific that it can even tell us how much your left leg weighs in comparison to your right leg. This can be very valuable information to help us understand any dominances, strengths, and movement quality, which will then help us write very specific programs to address these oftentimes problematic discrepancies. The scale is also linked to your online cloud so you can keep track of your fat loss journey to see just how far you have come.


Each member of Raw Fitness receives a heart rate monitor belt with sensor, which is worn in each workout. On our large projection wall, we see in real time each client’s heart rate, calories burned, and effort put forth. This is helpful to ensure we are training each person individually, even in a class setting. This type of “monitoring” motivates a client to work to their maximum capacity during workouts, which will in turn create much adaptation from individual attention. Slacking is now not an option! On the flip side, we know that rest time within a workout is equally necessary for muscular, neurological, and cardiovascular system adaptations in order to accomplish fat loss and muscle gain. Heart rate based training makes it easy for us to train based off of accurate measurements, avoiding a guessing game of exertion and rest times.

Book a consultation today so you can start living life to it's fullest!