CRYSTAL LAKE — Sweaty and red-faced, 40-year-old Aimee Cassell smiled broadly after stepping away from the heavy bags at Title Boxing Club’s new Crystal Lake location.
“I absolutely loved it,” she said of her first-ever workout at the club at 435 Angela Lane. “It was so awesome.”
Cassell is not new to the sport of boxing. Actually, she boxed 13 years ago in Atlanta, Ga., and only recently sold her boxing gloves at a garage sale.
“And then I saw this place when it was under construction and said to myself, ‘That’s it, I want to do it again,’” said Cassell, a mother of three living in Crystal Lake. “There’s something about boxing that makes you feel empowered.”
That is a chief draw, said Heather Morris, general manager at Title Boxing Club of Crystal Lake, where she is one of about 15 employees, and where there are plans to add at least two more trainers.
The new club – part of a franchise with facilities in 35 states – opened just a few weeks ago, Morris said.
“The concept originated in Kansas,” Morris said. “It was a collaboration between a former boxer, a businessman and Title, a leading retailer of boxing and mixed martial arts equipment.”
The club is strictly about fitness; it’s not a boxer training facility, Morris noted.
“We use boxing techniques and martial arts techniques in a cardiovascular workout format that we call the power hour,” she said, adding that participants typically burn between 800 and 1,000 calories per one-hour session.
In the boxing classes, attendees warm up for 15 minutes, spend 30 minutes hitting the heavy bags during eight rounds with active rest in between, and spend the last 15 minutes concentrating on abs and core work.
“Our demographic is about 70 percent women,” Morris said. “I don’t know if it’s because traditionally, women don’t have the opportunity in everyday life to channel their inner bad chick or their inner tough chick … everyone has their own motivation.”
There is no sparring, no need to take a punch. And there is no emphasis on self-defense, although many do walk out with the aforementioned sense of empowerment, Morris said.
Classes are open to those as young as 8 when accompanied by an adult. There is no upper age limit and people of any fitness level can benefit, Morris said.
“We have loaner gloves, “ said Morris, of McHenry. “You can come with nothing and we’ll get you fully equipped with wraps and mitts.”
Memberships typically range between $60 and $70 a month, Morris said.
The Crystal Lake facility is owned by Marvin Somlo of Long Grove.
According to a June 2012 article at Kiplinger.com, a fee of $35,000 and net worth of $200,000 are required to buy in, and royalties are 7 percent of memberships sold. Owners also can profit from in-house boxing and martial arts equipment sales.
Kiplinger included Title Boxing Club among eight growing health and fitness franchises, listing the total number of U.S. franchises at 200, and growth in franchises over the preceding 12 months at 2,757 percent.
Title Boxing Club:Location: 435 Angela Lane, Crystal LakeHours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays; 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fridays; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.Offering: Kickboxing and boxing fitness classesInformation: www.titleboxingclub.com; 815-459-2582