At 5 p.m. Friday, Beth Mauldin and her fellow instructors gather to enjoy happy hour.
But they aren’t knocking back beers or vodka martinis, they’re knocking down punching bags.
Mauldin, owner of Total Fitness Kickboxing in East Brainerd, is not only kicking down fitness barriers for her members but motivating a diverse community of like-minded individuals to feel connected and empowered.
“This is a remarkable opportunity to have a great and positive impact on local people’s lives and well-being,” Mauldin says. “My background has always centered around fitness and community building. This is a unique convergence of the two.”
You don’t have to be a professional kickboxer to work out at Mauldin’s Total Fitness Kickboxing facility, but you can learn to train like one.
“Compared to our competitors, we offer the same number of classes, utilize real punching bags, foster a family-oriented atmosphere, and all at an affordable price,” Mauldin says. “We strive to create a workout that is never boring and always fun, engaging, challenging and exciting.”
Classes are offered for all levels and fitness backgrounds, from the experienced marathon winner to the champion coach potato.
During the classes, members strap on authentic boxing gloves and execute conditioning drills and kickboxing routines, such as jabs and roundhouse kicks, at a fast pace to high energy music. By incorporating the cardio component of a fighter’s workout, kickboxing classes provide a great calorie burn and teach participants authentic kickboxing moves. Total Fitness Kickboxing focuses on accountability, where passionate instructors encourage and motivate clients to “go the extra round” to achieve stellar results based on their personal goals.
Chattanooga resident Kayli Kenton, who joined Total Fitness Kickboxing five weeks ago, says she’s “absolutely obsessed with the classes.”
Kenton, like many members prior to signing up for kickboxing, kept busy going through the motions of a cubicle office job and late-night Netflix binges. But she felt void of inspiration.
“I wanted to discover something new and thrilling. Breathe new life into my routine. I longed for a release,” she says. Then, she discovered the Total Fitness Kickboxing branch in Chattanooga.
“I said to myself, ‘Okay, I’m definitely going to be sore, but I’ll try it.’”
Although her intro class was difficult, and she enjoyed it, she says, “I couldn’t walk up stairs for a week!” But the vibe of the studio allowed her to transcend the soreness and return.
“I felt comfortable there. I signed up and started going to class two to three times a week. Then I started to fall more and more in love with the classes.”
“Sometimes I take two classes a day to relieve stress and feel the rush of serotonin. This place honestly feels like home, and the instructors treat me like family. They know my name. They greet me within seconds of walking in the door.”
With an atmosphere radiating camaraderie and positive feelings — it's difficult to leave Total Fitness Kickboxing feeling disappointed in your workout.
Open since January, Total Fitness Kickboxing is starkly different from a typical gym experience according to Mauldin, and like many of the company’s Chattanooga members, she was originally captivated by the concept’s emphasis on positive atmosphere, inspiring instructors, and, of course, the adrenaline pumping workout.
Founded in 2003 by martial arts enthusiasts and trainers David Ferguson and Eric McMahon, Total Fitness Kickboxing boasts 11 locations across several states, each centered around a well-curated mix of effective kickboxing routines, high-intensity interval training and individualized training attention.
Within the next four years, Total Fitness Kickboxing’s founders hope to expand and open more than 100 locations across the country.
“There is not a fitness level requirement. We are able to accommodate all types of members and fitness levels. It doesn’t matter if you’re an MMA fighter, 74 years old, in middle school, or never worked out a day in your life when you walk through these doors,” Mauldin says. “Everyone is welcoming and encouraging, with open arms.”
“It’s a great place for you to come in, not be judged and feel a part of a family. Everybody’s a beginner on your first day, and the first class is always free.”
As a three-year veteran and current instructor at Total Fitness Kickboxing, I can personally attest to its multitude of benefits, including improved balance, coordination, flexibility and sense of well-being. Although viciously attacking punching bags can an intense, difficult workout, it's also an exhilarating and cathartic experience.
Being a current intern at the Chamber, participating in and instructing classes at Total Fitness Kickboxing has given me a more invigorated, energetic and positive work attitude, allowing for clearer thinking and focus during the day.
Total Fitness Kickboxing is a sanctuary for people to feel good, release accumulated stress and transform themselves both mentally and physically.
To learn more about Total Fitness Kickboxing or to sign up for a free class, visit their website or Facebook page, or call 423.498.4500.
In addition to teaching kickboxing classes, Austin Anthony is a graduate student at UTC and the Chamber's summer Marketing & Communications Intern.