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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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Aspiring to hit the gym every day for a solid one-hour workout is well-intentioned. The truth is, life can throw obstacles in your way, making it not always possible to get your workout in. Business trips, vacations, family time, and even weather can play a role in diverting you away from your scheduled workout. Once you are knocked out of your routine, it can be difficult to get back on course. That’s why having a back-up plan for your workouts is so important.

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Featherweight fighter Frankie Edgar knows what it’s like to get down and dirty. He used to be a plumber, but he’s been racking up MMA wins for more than a decade. At 5’6” and a fighting weight of about 145 pounds, he’s able to move fast, hit hard, and take down his opponents with moves he’s mastered as a wrestler, black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and countless hours of training he logs to stay in shape and get ready for a fight.

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Build Muscle With This Full-Body Workout Routine

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Fitness goals can encompass a wide range of aims, from the general declaration of “I want to get in shape” to the more specific “I want to lose 50 pounds this year.” Even though they might vary based on the individual, there are usually two main ways to get to those goals: hit the gym or tackle them solo.

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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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