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Get Fit at LA Boxing

Cardio and boxing classes, Jiu Jitsu, weight training and more.

There's a cool, new way to get in shape in the local area — boxing. And the place to do it is LA Boxing in Chantilly.

It'll open this month in the new, Shops at Avion shopping center, off Route 50 west, at 4090K Airline Parkway. Billed as "The knockout workout," it offers boxing and kickboxing for physical fitness in a bright, clean, brand-new, 3,700-square-foot building.

And get ready to sweat. "You burn 800-1,000 calories per class," said Tate Marshall, general manager of this location. "It wears the heck out of you."

Part of a franchise, this LA Boxing is the 16th one in the U.S. and the first in the Washington Metropolitan area. And, true to its name, it started in Los Angeles. In 1992, two fighters — Sean McCully and Greg Beilfus — were looking for a place where they could train other boxers.

The result was LA Boxing and, said Marshall, many notables in boxing have trained at the original L.A. location — including Mia St. John, who fought Layla Ali last year, and Kimo, who fights in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) on Spike TV.

BUT IT'S NOT just for the pros; it's also for everyday people — moms, dads, teens and kids. "For women, it can be a form of self-defense," said Marshall's wife Nancy, president of the Chantilly location. "It's also an excellent cardio workout. It's exciting — not like getting on a treadmill — and it builds confidence for men, women and children."

On a recent Friday, Tate and Nancy were putting the finishing touches on their place, with help from children Maddie, 11, and Hayden, 12. They live in Manassas and wanted to open a business near their home.

They chose this spot because, said Tate, "There are 165,000 people within a five-mile radius of this location. Some 50,000-60,000 cars a day go by."

Hours are Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Classes run from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Classes for children age 6 and up are at 4:30 p.m. Once they're 12, they may participate in any of the classes with adults. For class information, call 703-263-7BOX or see www.LABOXING.com.

Besides cardio and boxing classes, LA Boxing offers Jiu Jitsu instruction and Muay Thai kickboxing — a type of fighting like Karate, but with greater use of the shins plus more straight kicks. There's also cardio and weight-training equipment, free weights and a professional boxing ring.

"It's really unique; no one else has this set-up," said Tate. "We've got 30, 135-pound Muay Thai bags hanging down, suspended from a steel bag-cage. We hire professional fighters to teach the classes, and we have a regulation boxing ring where people can train one-on-one with fighters."

But, he stressed, it's still family-oriented. Added Nancy: "It gets kids doing something active." And traditionally, LA Boxing's gym has been equally divided between male and female participants.

"Eventually, professional fighters will train here," said Tate. "So people who are hard-core boxers will be able to mix with white-collar professionals. And we'll have fight nights where members can put on gloves and box each other — matched up by size, ability and age. It's sexy, it's fun and you constantly get better at it."

All boxers were protective headgear and gloves. And, said Tate, "Everybody's hands are wrapped with professional cotton 'bandages.' You're really hitting that bag, so your hands have to be protected."

He said the gym's offerings provide "a good way for kids to stay in shape during the off-season from their other sports. There's a lot of coordination involved." Besides that, said Nancy, "At other places, you can learn kickboxing, but you're kicking air. Here, we have bags to provide resistance."

CLASSES ARE an hour long and cost $39-$79/month, depending whether people sign up for one or two years. "We'll also offer family rates," said Nancy. "And there's an excellent and very extensive diet/nutrition component on our Web site."

T-shirts and caps saying "LA Boxing, Chantilly, Va." may be purchased on site, as well as boxing gloves and other equipment such as sweatbands and wraps. But the bags and rink are the main attractions in the gym.

"It's neat when people walk through the doors and see all the bags hanging," said Tate. "They're also surprised to see a gym this clean, with a carpeted floor and large windows."

Besides being competitive, he said, boxing is "challenging to yourself and you're getting in shape. And you don't have to be young to do this; I'm turning 41 and I took this up at 40."

"We really want people to consider this a second home," continued Tate. "And since we're a small club with only a few hundred members, it's more intimate and you get to know everybody. You're not a number; we're friendlier here than big gyms."