Small gym keeps members engaged

By Etheria Modacure

There are no television screens for entertainment while working out, no one listens through headphones and everyone is greeted at the door by their first name. This place has the earmarks of a local fitness center struggling to keep members away from bigger and more prominent gyms in Chicago, but it isn’t.

LA Boxing, which has four locations in the Chicagoland area, is a gym that features boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts training. Inside, the place resembles a classic boxing gym with a ring, weight bags and training area.

Unlike other gyms based on membership fees and marketing with flyers, advertisements and promotions, LA Boxing relies on search engines to get recognition.

David Sutor, manager of the 8 E. 9th St. location, said he doesn’t have a problem with advertising because his gym is one of the first listings seen on a Google or Yelp search, because it increases exposure.

Sutor said while the popularity of MMA helped attract members in the early years, it’s the boxing and kickboxing that have given the company more opportunities to open other locations nationwide. He said MMA accounts for 10 to 15 percent of LA Boxing’s profits.

Additionally, he said most members come to  the gym to release

aggression or relieve stress.

Ryan Carli, a personal trainer at the gym, said members usually become addicted to the intense regimen of boxing, kickboxing and MMA.

“Very rarely do you see a person just

take it once and then quit,” Carli said.

“Once they’ve tried it, they’re hooked on it. It’s completely different than any other workout people have previously done.” Carli said a lot of women come into the gym and the demographic of LA Boxing’s clientele is between the ages of 22 and 40.

One of the members, Brooklyn Collins, said she hated other workouts, but then found LA Boxing to her liking.

“The reason why I [continue to] come here is because I hate cardio,” Collins said.

Collins said she likes boxing because it feels better than kickboxing and MMA. She said she has been knocked down, but it didn’t stop her from working out.

Massi Negrillo, a boxing trainer at the gym, said he encourages every member to remain focused when boxing and use all of their muscles systematically.

Negrillo said he reminds them no one is perfect and  mentioned the familiarity the gym has with its members is huge because no one feels left out.

“That’s one of the coolest things about us you’re not just a number here, you do get to know people,” Sudor said.

The fun part for LA Boxing is when it will begin to reach out to communities to promote better fitness, according to Sudor.

Sutor prefers to have a member come in who isn’t physically fit or in the best shape because they are the easiest to work with. He said people who come in with the mentality they are world-class athletes are the ones who don’t last long.

Sutor doesn’t believe LA Boxing has much competition in the city because there isn’t another gym similar to this one.

He said it’s a better gym becuase it gives members an idea of what they want to do instead of walking around, lifting weights, running on a treadmill, and then

going home.

With Chicago having a variety of gyms throughout the city, Sutor feels LA Boxing targets the right people to make the gym standout from the rest. Currently there are four LA Boxing gyms in the

Chicagoland area.

“There are some other martial arts gyms in Chicago that are amazing, but they don’t target what we’re after,” Sudor said. “We’re going after people who want to get into shape, want to look and feel good but don’t want to get on the treadmill.”