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How Boxing Changed Me


My name is Ann ‘Annimal’ Najjar. I am currently the boxing coach at the UFC GYM Mission Valley. In 2007 I was 216 pounds, unmotivated and never worked out before. My older brother was in shape, an up and coming Pro MMA fighter and furthering his higher education. I never realized how nerve racking, intense, and exciting the sport was until I went to his first fight. After attending the fight, I had never been so inspired. It was at that moment that I realized I needed to learn and understand the sport.

The next week after his fight, he asked me to join him at his training gym. I didn’t go in nervous, I went in wanting to learn. I took my first boxing class with a coach named Berlin Kerney. He was very patient and willing to help. As he was helping me, I could not help but feel like the ‘sucky’ one, but the competitor in me made me want to work harder and become one of the top dogs. Coach Berlin gave me some advice that I will never forget it: “consistency is key” and I sure took that advice.

Months went by and I was still taking boxing class 5 days a week. As a result, pounds were falling off of me and I had fallen in love with the sport. I never went into this wanting to lose weight but it was happening. To sweeten the experience even more, not only was I doing what I loved, but I got to train with my brother.

In 2015, I was still boxing consistently, 40 pounds lighter, and now managing my brother in his pro fighting career. People were noticing my weight loss and asking me how I did it, and all I told them was boxing. Being by my brother in this thriving and thrilling sport was all I wanted. A year later our gym unfortunately closed down, my brother decided to throw in the towel when it came to fighting but I didn’t want to stop. I was hoping from gym to gym, trying to find a new home for boxing, but it just wasn’t the same.

I then had an old-time friend tell me about a hiring opportunity at the UFC GYM in Mission Valley where I applied and got the job as the boxing coach. I was so passionate about the sport, that the members could feel my high energy. This support and energy kept me wanting to do more. Any hour I had free I was training, from hitting the bag to running 5 miles regularly. Members could see how zealous I was, and how much faster, better and stronger I was getting each and every day. I went from 5 people showing up to my class to over 30 people regularly. Members were asking me for help and how to get better, making me realize that I was doing what I loved and I was in the right place at the UFC GYM.

Boxing has not only transformed me physically but also mentally. When I'm having a bad day, the one thing that makes me feel better is boxing. When in the ring, all I can think about is the fight and nothing else. It is one of the best stress relievers you can ask for. It teaches you to be patient, to focus and to not focus on anything else.

Today, I am 71 pounds lighter, one of the ‘top dogs’ and couldn’t be happier with my results. My brother was my inspiration and boxing is what I love. I still am training with my coach Berlin and just like he told me, I tell my classes “consistency is key”.  

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What to Expect in a UFC GYM Boxing Class


It’s a new year and you’re ready to transform your body for the better. Finding the motivation to workout can be difficult, but it’s a lot easier to get yourself to the gym when you LOVE what you are doing. At UFC GYM, we understand this, so we’ve developed fitness classes that are not only going to deliver results, but make the process fun! One of the most popular exercise classes at UFC GYM is Boxing Class, and it’s easy to see why it is a member favorite.

UFC GYM Boxing Coaches take basic boxing moves and combine them into sets of killer rounds that teach you new techniques, challenge your endurance and leave you dripping in sweat. The best part - you actually get to HAVE FUN!

In our Boxing classes, you’ll spend most of your time with a 150-lb boxing bag in a matted room—from warm-up, cardio rounds, combos, core, to cool down! Here are a few other things you can ALWAYS expect to see in a UFC GYM Boxing class:

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Why HIIT Cardio Workouts Help You Lose Weight

By now, we know that to get the most out of a workout, it is important to combine weight training with cardiovascular training. But standard, steady-state cardio is not as efficient at burning calories as what is known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). The reason is that there is very little excess post-exercise oxygen consumption with steady-state cardio. This means that you are only burning calories during the exercise itself, not afterward.

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4 Great Exercise Classes If You Are New to the Gym

If you are just starting out your workout journey, chances are that some of the classes your gym has to offer are appealing to you. But how do you know which one to choose? Well, it is easy enough to sample all of them, but four of the very best exercise classes to choose when you are new to the gym are the following:

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How to Train Like a Fighter: Boxing Cardio and Agility Conditioning

Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Joe Louis. Some of the greatest boxers who have set foot in the ring have transcended the sport to become cultural icons. Even boxing’s silver-screen characters become larger than life and part of our regular lexicon (“Adrian!”).

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Are MMA Classes Right for You?

Are you on the fence when it comes to joining a mixed martial arts (MMA) class? Perhaps you’re unsure or unfamiliar with the sport. Or maybe you feel the classes might be too extreme for you. They’re all legitimate concerns, but keep in mind that an MMA gym class, at its core, is a full-body workout that is meant to put you in shape. And like every workout you perform, you should go at a comfortable pace to stay with the class. Here are four reasons why we think you should consider an MMA class as your next workout:

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Thinking Inside the Lunchbox

We’ve done our homework and the answer is clear: 
Good food = good students. 

We also know that keeping kids active is not only good for their body, but also their mind.

Getting kids to eat a healthy meal at home is hard enough. Making sure they get a proper lunch at school, with the siren call of recess and the pandemonium of the cafeteria all around them, can seem almost impossible. Sun Basket’s Registered Dietitian Kaley Todd shares some of her findings and offers real-life lunchtime solutions. 

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Can Exercising in a Group Help You Get Fit Faster?

Whether you’re just starting on your journey toward new fitness goals or you’re looking to speed up your progress, it may be worth considering some group activity to get the results you want.

Group exercise can take several forms, from doing a group training session to joining group fitness classes. Here are some reasons why ditching the solo workouts—or at least mixing them up with some group time—may get you fit faster:

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4 Ways That Boxing Training Affects Your Everyday Life

Beyond its athletic benefits, boxing can create positive results in your everyday life. From a better posture to a clearer, more thoughtful mind, the reaches of boxing’s positive effects stretch well beyond the punching bag. Here are four new attributes you can expect from wrapping up a pair of 14-ounce gloves:

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Is Functional Fitness Training Right for You?

You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about functional fitness in your gym, by your trainer, or even around the water fountain. But functional fitness is more than just a fancy gimmick name or the newest exercise fad. Functional fitness is a method of training that uses exercises that work the muscles that help you do everyday activities safely and more efficiently to maintain or improve your quality of life. If you are still asking yourself, “Is functional fitness for me?”, here is some more information to help you decide.

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