EPIC collaboration — Best of the Bay-winning trainer, Joe and Jaye Maddon open new boxing gym

Two years ago I was fortunate to participate in a personalized workout session with Esther Solano, 2011 and 2012 Best of the Bay Best Trainer-Readers Pick. The Puerto Rican-born trainer had lost a whopping 160 pounds by incorporating boxing into her exercise regimen and began to share similar customized routines with others as a personal trainer.

After my workout with her during the post-Christmas guilt season of 2011, I wrote that Solano impressed me with her drill-sergeant-meets-maternal approach. She explained the exercises and estimated my fitness levels for each routine throughout my workout. My cardio was off and she had to push me during a few calisthenics, but she noticed where I was strong and praised me for my solid punches during our boxing interval. 

Jaye Maddon must have been impressed with Solano's techniques, too. The wife of Joe Maddon, former manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, is joining forces with Solano to open a new gym, Epic Boxing & Fitness. The South Tampa facility, the area's only "Spoxing" studio to feature both spin bikes and boxing, will open Feb. 9. 

How did this blessed union come to be? "I have been Jaye's trainer for a while," Solano said. "(Jaye) decided she wanted to open up a boxing gym, and Joe was all in. He believes boxing is making a comeback." (Given the success of upscale boxing franchises like Punch Boxing for Fitness and Title Boxing Club — a far cry from the sweatboxes familiar from Rocky and that Hilary Swank/Clint Eastwood movie — Joe would seem to be right.)

What would a typical workout at Epic entail? "Twelve 3-minute rounds with a 30-second rest in between the rounds," Solano said. "The first three rounds are on the bike. Last nine on the bags."

Epic Boxing and Fitness opens Feb. 9 at 1108 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. For more information, call 813-549-9456 or visit epicboxingandfitness.com.

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