Oftentimes in life the original plan you set for yourself is not what you ultimately end up with because you find passion and purpose in something bigger. For Lisa Randolph, her road map in life led her to teach at different high schools and kickboxing gyms across various states and ultimately find her purpose in the form of opening her own kickboxing gym.
FROM THE BEGINNING
Randolph and her husband, Austin Randolph, opened 9Round Fitness, 347 Brick Blvd., Brick Township, in November 2018 after a year of searching for the right location and doing what needed to be done to get the gym ready to open its doors.
“So we knew we were going to do this in November of ‘’17, said Randolph. “I knew I was going to do this, but it took me a year.”
“We opened in November of ‘18, which at the time of year felt like a really long time, like, ‘Oh my God it’s taking so long to get opened.’ But when I think of in a year I went from an idea, a phone call …” to 9Round Kickboxing, she said.
9Round Kickboxing is a franchise that came to fruition in July 2008 in South Carolina by husband and wife, Shannon and Heather Hudson. Today 9Round Kickboxing gyms are all over the country as well as international.
According to Randolph, her husband has both a military and martial arts background and is who originally got her into boxing back when they were dating. He is currently in Afghanistan serving as a MedEvac helicopter pilot.
“I opened November 26 of 2018,” shared Randolph. “My husband left on January 3.”
“So he was here December working on this and then he left and then we’ve been solo and growing and loving everything,” she added with a smile. “I can say having purpose in work while your spouse is deployed is what you want.”
In addition to Randolph’s background in teaching, her kickboxing background came into play over 15 years ago, which is something she wound up pursuing while still teaching in a classroom, as well.
Then boyfriend and girlfriend, Randolph shares that she and her [now] husband were a very active couple and would run 5k races together and lift together at the gym. After finding a Muay Thai Kickboxing gym in Queens, New York, where she lived, Randolph, then 22-years-old, started training there in the fall and that summer when she was out of school she went to Thailand.
“So I went to Thailand, I trained there and I did fight in Thailand so that was my first fight,” she shared. “I always use the word competitive kickboxer to be different than a professional.”
“I was not a professional kickboxer. I never had a pro record, but I was competitive, meaning I liked to do the amateur fights. I think I have eight total.”
After returning to New York for a couple of more years and continuing to take part in amateur fights, Randolph and her husband moved to Georgia for his military career.
“So I quit my job teaching and moved to Georgia and got recruited for a reality show about kickboxers,” said Randolph. “It was called ‘Fight Girls.’ It was on Oxygen, which is a very small network and I think even at the time, this was 2007, so we’re talking like 12 years ago.”
While on the show Randolph was critiqued for being more into the fitness portion of kickboxing than the fighting aspect and although she admits that at the time that criticism stung, over 10 years later she realized how true it actually was.
“ … I’m totally more into the fitness,” she shared. “I’m the teacher, I am like the motivator.”
WELCOME TO 9ROUND KICKBOXING
After deciding to open a 9Round gym, writing her own business plan, obtaining a loan, finding a location and working through permits, Randolph was given the green light in October 2018. Less than two months later she opened the doors to the public and seven months later she is exactly where she wants to be.
“It’s been very busy, but I couldn’t be prouder,” she shared.
For those unfamiliar with the 9Round concept, it offers an intense kickboxing workout with flexible attainment for everyone’s busy schedule.
“It’s a 30-minute workout, there’s no set class time, every three minutes a new workout starts with that ring of the bell, trainers included, and the last part is the workout changes daily,” explained Randolph as the 9Round elevator talk. “So that would be why we’re so different.”
While each day brings a new workout to the gym, the overall theme is boxing.
“So the workout theme is boxing, kickboxing, so half of the rounds you’re going to be wearing gloves and doing pad work and bag work, punching, kicking, using traditional kickboxing,” she said. “So you are going to learn how to kickbox, but we always say you get fit, not hit.
“There’s never a partner that hits back. You can punch us, the trainers, with our pads on.”
Each of the nine rounds are three minutes long with a 30 second active recovery in between each round. Round one is always jump rope. It is the most powerful tool for both conditioning, but also for agility, coordination because you’ve got your brain and all four appendages going at the same time,” explained Randolph.
“Active recovery is the only time you share an exercise with the room,” she added. “Things like butt kickers, push-ups, it could be squat-jumps, something simple that most people would be able to embrace and you do it and shift to the next station.”
Round two is resistance training, which includes a type of weighted element. For example, a squat with a kettlebell going through the legs. Round three you get your gloves on and work the boxing bag. Rounds four through seven are all boxing rounds. During round eight you start to cool down and you do the speed bag.
According to Randolph, this is another component like the jump rope that is about coordination as opposed to fitness. The last round, round nine, is always dedicated to core. Randolph explains that it isn’t just sit-ups and could be plank positions, working your back or butt and more.
“So you get warmed up, heavy hitting in the back and then cool down on the way out,” explained Randolph of the nine-round workout.
STOP IN TODAY
9Round Fitness in Brick is open Monday through Saturday. Mondays through Fridays the gym is open 6 a.m.to noon and then reopens from 3 to 8 p.m. On Saturday the gym is open in the morning from 8 a.m. to noon.
“I’m here because there’s people who haven’t worked out in years, they don’t feel comfortable at the gym and they waste time there so like they’re just wasting $10,” said Randolph. “So our pricing is $99 a month.”
“So we’re definitely a boutique fitness center is what we call it, you’re getting personal training at $99, which is extremely reasonable,” she added.
For those who feel intimidated about trying out the kickboxing gym, Randolph assures there is nothing to worry about as the workouts are designed for everyone.
“Extremely beginner friendly,” she explained. “This is not a fighting gym. This is a fitness center.”
“So we have so many people come in who have never kickboxed and almost never worked out. Because the stations are done independently you are not going at anybody’s fitness level but your own. If you’re an expert, and I have people that have sparred with pro fighters that workout here because of the convenience of it.”
During the workouts students wear a heart rate monitor and the TV in the room shows how hard you’re working and how many calories you’re burning. For Randolph it’s important to maximize the experience since it is only 30 minutes.
“So stronger in 30 minutes, mentally and physically, but that’s what I want people to understand,” she said. “We’re not just here to lose weight.”
While there are trainers walking around during each workout to ensure you are doing the correct moves and receiving any help or guidance, the whiteboard on the wall will also have the workout written out in case you forget the amount of reps, etc.
“It’s always free, the first workout,” shared Randolph. “It’s always free to try it. 9Round.com has our calendar so you can schedule yourself for a workout if you want to try.”