Sting Like A Bee

The high-energy, no-nonsense TITLE Boxing Club has Overland Park residents packing punches, losing weight and toning up. General Manager Jim Brown says it’s not a coffee and Oprah kind of gym, but one where you come in with your gloves, tape and tennis shoes ready to move.

“We have a dynamic and exciting atmosphere with music going and instructors with high-wired personalities who get people out there and motivated if they’re having a hard day,” says Brown. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m, upon entering the 119th and Metcalf club, one of TITLE’s four locations, you can hear the “pow-pow” of JeRon Love’s Youth and Adult Boxing Class.

“The Wolf Pack,” Love, a boxing trainer and personal fitness instructor, yells to his class, and 10 gloved 8- to-12-year-olds howl back in response.

At that same location an hour later, Melvin Wesley’s boxing class pants in between grueling sets of his signature “Melvin Wesley dips.”

“Don’t give me no lip; it’s time to ‘Melvin Welsey dip,'” Wesley, head boxing coach, a boxing trainer and personal fitness instructor, shouts over thumping music. “Freddy?”

“Krugar!” the class hollers back before banging out the old one-two, one-two combo adding squat jumps in between each set.

Brown says TITLE’s all-inclusive commitment to getting in shape along with the energetic trainers has made it a hit. Collectively, its first three clubs are nearing 2,000 members after opening a little over a year ago. 

“[TITLE] is not a flat atmosphere,” says Brown. “It’s like taking a match to dry grass–light it, and it takes off all over the place.”

April Binfet, 21, says when she skips a day of working out at TITLE, she feels like something is wrong. After giving birth to her first child in November 2007, Binfet joined the club to lose extra pregnancy pounds. Since February 2009, Binfet has gone from a size five to a size one and says she can tell a tremendous difference in her body.

“I have a lot more muscle now, and I’ve trimmed down a lot,” says Binfet. “I definitely feel stronger.”

TITLE offers personal training and Power Hour boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) fitness classes–all led by professional trainers. In a one-hour class, Brown estimates 30 minutes are spent hitting a 100-pound bag 200 to 300 times, allowing students to burn up to 1,000 calories per session.

“It’s an overall body workout,” he says. “The classes work on cardio, strength and conditioning, your legs and mind, and it’s a great stress reliever.”

The locally owned TITLE Boxing Club has four locations, two in Overland Park (one off of 119th St. and Metcalf Ave. in Rosanna Square and one off of 151st St. and Antioch in the Trail Winds Shopping Center), one in Lee’s Summit and most recently, one off of I-35 and Johnson Drive. 

Each gym is packed with boxing, kickboxing and MMA equipment including more than 40 heavy bags and a professional 18-foot-by-18-foot ring provided by TITLE Boxing along with free weights and cardio machines.

Overland Park resident Binfet says not only does TITLE stand out because it is the first and only boxing club in the city, but also because of its trainers. Having tried other gyms in the past, Binfet says none has had the same impact on her fitness as TITLE, nor has any housed such a personable and knowledgeable staff. 

“The trainers (at TITLE) are all nice and willing to help, and you can tell they enjoy what they are doing,” she says. “Even the 6 a.m. Friday class with [Wesley] gets a big turnout because he gets people excited and the results are good, which motivates people.” 

Wesley’s high-intensity boxing class leaves participants sweat-soaked but smiling as he starts each class with a round of hugs and “how are yas,” nicknames class members things like “Peanut Butter” and uses his own counting system–“nina, ten-ten, e-Melvin,” which translates to nine, 10, 11.

“I keep the class involved so they want to come back and see me,” says Wesley. “The more the class laughs, the more fun getting in shape is. They know my jokes, the music is going and there is a lot of energy.”

From burn-outs to “Melvin Wesley dips” to “bams”–a particularly challenging kind of sit-up– he keeps his class on their toes. One student, who also works one-on-one with Wesley, has even lost 30 pounds since January. 

“You pay for what you get– I know what I do works,” says Wesley. “There’s no breaking. Your break may be jogging, but there isn’t any stopping. I don’t care how slow you go; you never stop. That will make it better for the next time.”

In March, the 119th Street club started a running program and Love’s aforementioned Youth and Adult Boxing Class, where kids, adults and families work out together with older participants practicing more advanced moves. 

From sports conditioning to burning off extra energy built up after the school day, Love says kids attend class for a variety of reasons. 

Love focuses on everything from cardio and abdominal work to teamwork and confidence building, helping youths who may have social or anger problems gain discipline and confidence by letting them call out workouts and applauding their hard work.

“A lot of times kids have hidden anger, and I get them moving and give them a fun way to release [those emotions],” says Love.

Overland Park resident Renee Franklin says the class has had a positive impact on her hard-to-please 10-year-old son, Weston, who attends Love’s class. 

“Out of all the different activities Weston has tried, I’ve never seen him smile as much as when he’s here,” says Franklin.

Whatever the class or whomever the instructor, TITLE is the top “pound-for-pound” boxing club. To learn more about its classes, trainers and locations, visit www.titleboxingclub.com.

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