Trends play a large role in the fitness industry, and Mizner Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla., is tapping into the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) by offering a group-fitness training program for members.
Director of Fitness Marty Miller brought the idea to the club after being notified by Everlast, the boxing and fitness equipment company, that he had been selected for one of 15 spots as a master instructor for a new training program, Everlast F.I.T. (functional integrated training). Mizner is now the first country club to offer the course.
“Striking, boxing, and MMA have become a huge part of the fitness industry,” says Miller. “We constantly [strive] to offer our membership challenging and fun ways to get fit and stay healthy. The Everlast program at Mizner attracts both men and women, and it’s one that can be done by beginners or serious fitness buffs.”
Miller has participated in MMA since 2007 and is on track to earn his third-degree black belt this November. “I just have a passion for it,” Miller says. “I enjoy sparring, but that’s not necessarily what the membership would want. They want to learn to strike—to punch and kick properly. It’s a cardiovascular challenge.
“When you watch people fight, you don’t always realize that there’s more detail and technique needed,” Miller continues. “You have to work on proper footwork and know where your hands need to be. It’s choreographed like a dance.”
The course focuses on strike-based training, allowing participants to practice the techniques in a progressive, supervised and safe environment. The course includes pre- and post-program tests, application-based scenarios, a fitness assessment and technique instruction.
Offered on Friday mornings, the 45-minute class currently has a 50/50 mix of male and female participants, Miller says. The class requires the use of heavy bags, focus mitts and gloves. “Attendees are mostly in their 40s and 50s, but I have some clients who incorporate striking into their workouts into their 70s,” Miller says.
MMA elements have also been incorporated into Miller’s private training sessions, and he continues to offer MMA classes one-on-one for clients who either can’t make it to the class or would like to mix the training in with a more customized workout.
“You have to have great balance, good footwork, agility and cardiovascular abilities,” Miller says. “It’s a good workout.”
Right now, the classes are held in Mizner’s multipurpose fitness studio. In January 2018, construction will begin on a new facility that will nearly triple the size of the fitness center, and when it is complete in early 2019, Miller suspects the MMA class will expand to more than just one room.
“The members love it—they get here at 6:15 a.m. for it,” Miller says. “If my schedule had the ability, they’d want to do it more.”