Susan Duncan worried because her 8-year-old son, Jayden Albanes, was so overweight he had to wear men’s clothing. But now that Jayden is practicing martial arts, Duncan is less afraid.
“He used to wear men’s size 36 shorts, but now they are falling off,” she said.
Community members participated in martial arts demonstrations, including muay thai, jiu jitsu and boxing, and met fitness vendors. The new gym is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Prior to Saturday’s opening, classes were being held in another office in the same shopping center.
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“I am happy to see this gym in the community,” said Duncan, whose son has lost 15 pounds. “Thanks to the training, he has even changed the way he eats. Jayden now is picky about his nutrition and wants salads and chicken. He has also improved in school.”
Jayden says he joined for one goal: “I want to fight for the UFC one day,” he said.
Unlike the typical gym that features only weight lifting and cardio machines, the 30,000-square-foot facility offers has more than 40 cardio machines, agility ladders, bag room, Brazilian jiu-jitsu studio and other equipment for dynamic workouts. The gym, the company’s first in Miami-Dade County, also has a café and sauna. There are martial arts classes for kids as young as 3.
Adult classes are offered throughout the week, the latest beginning at 9 p.m. Memberships start at $49 a month.
Former UFC champion and Hall of Famer B.J. Penn attended the ribbon cutting.
“This gym is for everyone,” he said. “If you want to fight this is the place. I would love to train here if I was getting ready for a fight. They have all of the equipment you need. It’s a one stop shop.”
UFC GYM President Adam Sedlack said the gym is not only about lifting weights or defining your abs.
“Fitness is changing,” he said. “So many of the gyms are traditional. You do 20 minutes of weights and 20 minutes of cardio and then you leave. There is no emotional connection. You don’t learn anything. UFC GYM is about finding your personal best. This is a community helping each other to make each other better.”
Strength and conditioning coach Kendra Geronimo plans to motivate her clients despite her personal challenges. She recently lost her husband and soon after was in a serious motorcycle accident.
“My pain is what helps me relate to my clients,” she said. “Because if they know what you have been through they trust you more in walking them through their journey.”
Edgar Tercero practiced his striking technique. He said he plans to become a different person now that he signed up to the gym.
“Joining here will build my discipline and a lot of confidence,” he said.
For more information, visit https://ufcgym.com/kendall