In 1990, Christina Rondeau fell in love. With martial arts, that is. After earning her black belt and competing in amateur karate and martial arts tournaments all over the United States and Europe, Rondeau decided to go pro. She travelled the globe as a member and coach on the USA WAKO kickboxing team, and went on to win the women's lightweight title. Rondeau continued to feed her athletic hunger with a switch to pro boxing and appeared in numerous print media and television shows, including The Maury Povich Show.
Having achieved fame and glory, Rondeau took on a new fight: she wanted to help women and children defend themselves while gaining indomitable confidence. She has authored books, created instructional DVDs, and opened Rondeau?s Kickboxing. The 24/7 gym garnered Rhode Island Monthly?s readers? pick for Best Fitness Center in 2010, due in no small part to its empowering blend of fitness and martial-arts-based classes. Rondeau also promotes safety in her community by participating in events geared towards ending violence toward women and girls and teaching local schoolchildren how to defend themselves or pass a math quiz without using weapons. She also coordinated a box-a-thon to help line the shelves of a Rhode Island food bank.
Equipment: Treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, circuits, boxing, and MMA equipment
Number of Staff: 5?10 people
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
We are not the "cookie-cutter" gym. We have strength training equipment from Cybex, Life Fitness, Free Motion and Hammer Strength for traditional bodybuilding. We also have treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and rowing machines from True Fitness, Star Trac, and Life Fitness. There is a separate area dedicated to those that enjoy "functional training" which is designed to prepare members for obstacle course endurance races or their specific sport. We also have an area designed for combat sports such as Muay Thai Kickboxing, Boxing, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. Our combat athletes range from beginners to professional fighters and have competed in Strikeforce, Bellator and the UFC. We truly have everything under one roof with an ego free environment that is open to everyone.
What's the most radical physical transformation you've seen a client make?
We were featured on the MTV reality show "I Used To Be Fat" where the contestant lost 75 pounds in four months with our Muay Thai kickboxing and strength and conditioning program. We've had numerous clients completely transform their bodies because we provide a team like atmosphere where everyone learns and helps each other reach their goals.
Has your business won any awards?
Our competition team has competed in numerous body building shows, obstacle course endurance races, kickboxing events, and mixed martial arts competitions at the amateur and professional level.
Boxing is renowned for its full-body fitness benefits and its high-intensity workouts. It's also considered by many to be a male-dominated sport. Dena Paolino is changing that. In 2009 she established Striking Beauties, the only female-centric boxing gym in New England, as a way to introduce women to the sport. At the gym, instructors lead beginners and experienced boxers through sessions full of jabs, strikes, and uppercuts, all of which help build muscle tone, boost endurance and agility, and develop hand-eye coordination.
At USA Karate, which formed in 1990, a team of black-belt instructors leads more than 25 martial-arts classes every week, teaching students proper karate techniques as well as self-discipline. The schedule includes both adult karate classes and kids' classes for students as young as 4.
Under the guidance of chief instructor and seasoned mixed-martial-artist Stephen Whittier, students at Nexus practice engaging routines to improve both physical condition and self-defense. The women's fitness boot camp carves fit bodies during 60-minute sessions jam-packed with circuit training, trick roping, and noncontact kickboxing against incorporeal assailants. Students complete one workout per week on their own and attend two weekly sessions, scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, or Saturday morning. Instructors keep classes interesting by varying workouts, and a blend of muscular toning and cardio conditioning help keep legs from outpacing lungs or weary esophagi. After the first six weeks, students can discover noticeable changes in body composition, gaining motivation and losing weight and the tendency to flinch at incoming medicine balls.