Dieuseul “Tiger” Berto was at the height of his Pride fighter career when an automobile accident left him in a coma. When he awoke, the accident had taken his ability to walk, talk, and feed himself, but with the help of his family and the fighter's spirit he'd honed over years of practice, Berto overcame his injuries and rebuilt himself. Now, he shares the wisdom, tenacity, and beliefs that transformed him—as well as a few fighting techniques—at Tiger's World of Martial Arts.
Joined by his two family members Edson and Andre—one a professional UFC fighter and the other a two-time national Golden Gloves winner—Berto trains students of all ages from all walks of life. Their signature Tigervascular class challenges patrons with cardio-heavy workouts founded in boxing and kickboxing techniques, and the MMA Fight Class prepares them for the ring with techniques from diverse arts such as muay thai, jujitsu, and tae kwon do. The kids' MMA classes focus more on arming youngsters with the mental fortitude to succeed in all areas of life, including school, dealing with bullies, and running for president at age 10. For adults seeking a long-term transformation, the 12-week challenge combines elements of exercise and diet into three months of intense training fueled by staff support and attention. Both male and female personal trainers offer private sessions.
Strive Athletic Club offers plenty of equipment for solo workouts: stair steppers, treadmills, and elliptical machines, as well as strength -training equipment from Hammer Strength, Iron Grip, and Rogue Fitness. The trainers, however, also lead diverse exercise classes, such as Zumba and Les Mills BodyPump classes, to help members mix up and bolster their personal workouts. They also helm martial arts sessions inside a full mixed-martial-arts space equipped with zebra mats, cages, and rings. Personal trainers can help clients hone in on their fitness goals or summon the courage to challenge The Beast: Strive Athletic Club’s custom-constructed training structure that combines pull-up bars, monkey bars, heavy bags, TRX suspension trainers, and fire-breathing dragons into a single, sweat-inducing conglomeration.
After workouts, members can relax in the sauna or pick up their young ones from the kids club.
At Calta's 24/7 Fitness Clubs, members can work out at any time of day, seven days a week. Instructors at the 24/7 gym also lead group cardio-fitness classes, and personal trainers help clients observe correct form while lifting weights or using machines.
Freestyle Muay Thai’s two-hour classes involve jogging, skipping rope, and conditioning exercises, and that’s just the warm-up. Trainers design the program to follow a true fighter’s regimen, which means classes also include heavy bag work, core work, conditioning drills, and muay thai kickboxing techniques. They hold classes for adults and kids, and also specialize in other programs such as cross-training, cardiovascular building, strength training, agility exercises, and plyometrics. Students in advanced levels can even try their hands at full sparring and competition kickboxing.
In addition to his combat experience, Shifu Mario Salazar has coached numerous students to victory in the kickboxing ring. Inside his training space, he customizes Chinese-style kickboxing classes that incorporate elaborate throws and takedowns versus more traditional knee and elbow techniques. Comprehensive classes push participants to lose weight, gain lean muscles, and achieve fitness or fighting goals through varied routines.
When a terrible car accident left him confined to a wheelchair, in constant pain, and battling weight gain, Dieuseul Berto vowed to rehabilitate himself from the inside out. He adapted a fighter's training regimen to his own limitations, and soon developed the Tiger Vascular program.
Today, at Tigers World Tampa, Dieuseul leads groups through high-energy classes that incorporate techniques of boxing, mixed martial arts, and self-defense. A carefully selected team of trainers joins Dieuseul, and each member of the faculty comes from a distinct fitness background. Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that Dieuseul and his team also possess firsthand knowledge of what it takes to undergo dramatic physical transformation. They use that familiarity to connect with and inspire clients on a personal level to push them ever closer toward the peak of physical fitness, where the air smells faintly of sweat and all the birds are super-ripped eagles.