Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Business

New Clearwater gym features boxing workouts and a lot more

CLEARWATER

Step inside the door of LA Boxing and the feel isn't what you might imagine. It's bright and airy, a cheerful-looking gym. All of the machines and padding are painted in reds, whites and blues.

The new place on U.S. 19 offers workouts based on boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts. It's the first Pinellas location for the chain, which also operates in Orlando and Miami.

"We've been open three weeks, and this is the first of many locations we're planning for the Tampa Bay area. We're not coming in with one and run," said Pete Guzman, partner and general manager. "LA Boxing is celebrating 20 years as a gym right now, and this is the 76th one to open."

Besides classes, the gym has cardio equipment, free weights, strength building machines and personal trainers. Of course there's a boxing ring and a bag cage with dozens of 150-pound punching bags.

"As society becomes more sedentary and people grow older, they have to seek out something to get into great shape," said Guzman, 41. "The LA Boxing Workout burns between 800 and 1,000 calories, and a trainer takes you through it every time. You get muscular development, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, you learn something new and have fun."

Proper punching and kicking techniques are taught along with basic fighting techniques, with an emphasis on mind, body and emotional well-being.

Guzman knows all three are important.

A New Yorker, he had been to Tarpon Springs several times visiting his wife's family in her hometown. Then he lost his business and the family lost their home.

"We went through what a lot of America has been going through," said Guzman. "About a year ago, our family down here took us in. We started from zero, but I'm ready to rock and roll. With the business model from LA Boxing and the discipline I've learned from martial arts, we won't fail."

Guzman believes LA Boxing will continue to grow. In New York, he says, he helped one martial arts business go from eight to 50 gyms.

After he was introduced to his business partner, Scott Wafer, who owns an LA Boxing gym in New York, Guzman became enamored with the business model and Wafer's business expertise.

"I watched that business for about a year and thought, 'This is it,' " said Guzman.

The gym has several different membership packages with costs ranging from $44 to $84 a month, the latter of which includes unlimited classes and full use of all of the gym's equipment.

A gym to get in shape

Guzman is dedicated to the techniques taught at LA Boxing. The workout includes three-minute rounds with a one-minute break and incorporates music, jumping rope, boxing gloves, the heavy bag and lots of positive reinforcement.

"There is nobody in better condition than a mixed martial artist," said Guzman. "People have the ability to do the workout of authentic boxers, kickboxers and mixed martial artists without the lumps and bruises. The sparring and contact is not necessarily a part of most people's workout, but for those who want to take it to that level, the facility is set up for it and we will offer that too."

Norine Troupe, the business' assistant general manager, starting working on fitness in gyms about 14 years ago, seven of those in martial arts. Now she teaches boxing and kickboxing as a personal trainer and instructor.

"Personally, there is no good excuse (for not getting fit)," said Troupe. "Everybody has a reason: I hurt my knee, my back, World War whatever, I can't get out of bed, I have no time, too much work, my husband this, my daughter that, I can't sleep. Everybody has to start somewhere."

Helping children feel self-confident will be the crux of a bullying prevention program that Guzman intends to have running within the next six weeks.

Phillip Jacobs, LA Boxing's director of franchise development, said successful franchise owners are people who have fitness-oriented lifestyles.

"They love the fitness environment, the sweating, the testosterone, people setting and achieving goals," he said. "It becomes a labor of love."

One other thing: This is the first year the Olympics will feature female boxing. Jacobs believes that women everywhere will have a light bulb go on and realize they can get in shape by taking these classes.

Guzman is in Clearwater to help make that happen.

"Even though LA Boxing is a huge franchise, we are a local gym," said Guzman. "We plan to have local charity events and want very much to be a part of this community."

Correspondent Theodora Aggeles can be reached at [email protected]

     
Comments
Shrinking supply of Tampa Bay condos and townhomes drives up prices

Shrinking supply of Tampa Bay condos and townhomes drives up prices

Sales of condos and townhomes in the Tampa Bay area jumped 9.5 percent in March, hitting a median of $156,000. The price gain was prompted in part by a supply shortage, with sales down 7.5 percent amid a dwindling inventory. Statewide, sales also lag...
Published: 04/25/18
Three artists picked to create art for St. Pete’s new pier

Three artists picked to create art for St. Pete’s new pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Pelicans will return to the pier in fanciful form.A California artist has been selected to create an enormous, red origami sculpture of a pelican that will serve as a metal perch for three more lifelike, but no less fanciful, imitati...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Q: I have become very disillusioned with my telecommuting job. I accepted this position about a year ago because I liked the idea of working from home. However, I now have so many assignments that I can barely keep up. I was recently given a huge pro...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

DUNEDIN — The Pinellas County Commission pulled the final trigger Tuesday on dedicating $41.7 million in bed taxes for upgrades to the Toronto Blue Jays’ stadium and spring training facilities, a pledge that amounts to covering more than half of the ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida small business owners say their top concern is a lack of skilled workers, according to a recent survey by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Workforce quality has been a recurring issue for small businesses, according to previous surveys. In th...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

TAMPA — The world’s biggest hotel company already has 29 properties in the Tampa Bay area, but its CEO says a plan to put more than 1,400 rooms in three Marriott-branded hotels within a few blocks of each other says something about how Tampa is evolv...
Published: 04/24/18
Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

If you’ve ever complained about other motorists on the road, you may have been justified. The Sunshine State ranked No. 8 on GasBuddy.com’s list of states with the most aggressive drivers."Our findings indicate that states with densely populated citi...
Published: 04/24/18
First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

Amazon is taking the growing curb-side delivery trend a step further — now shoppers don’t even have to be inside their cars to get their items.The online retailer announced Tuesday it has begun delivering packages to newer cars with OnStar service in...
Published: 04/24/18
Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

WASHINGTON — The company formerly known as Yahoo is paying a $35 million fine to resolve federal regulators’ charges that the online pioneer deceived investors by failing to disclose one of the biggest data breaches in internet history. The Securiti...
Published: 04/24/18
The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

"Stay thirsty, my friends," the most interesting man in the world is coming to Tampa to tend bar on Friday. Jonathan Goldsmith, the face that launched a thousand memes, will be slinging cocktails at Tampa’s trendy Hall on Franklin, the food hall anno...
Published: 04/24/18