James F,” a contestant on the ABC reality show “The Bachelorette,” might be competing against 25 other men for the affection of Dallas, Texas resident Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher, but when he’s instructing fitness classes at TITLE Boxing Club in Cool Springs, the statistics are often reversed, since more than 70 percent of TITLE’s members are female.
James Fuertes, 34, is the co-owner of two TITLE Boxing Club franchises located in Cool Springs and Green Hills. And there’s no doubt that his participation on the dating show is having an impact on his class sizes.
“Yesterday 35 people showed up for the fitness class James was teaching, many of them first-time participants,” said Eddie Finley, TITLE Boxing Club co-owner. “It seems like every time he gets a rose, his class size increases.”
Yet, there’s nothing showy or pretentious about the 6-foot-2 fitness enthusiast. Descriptions like “person of integrity” and “such a nice guy” prevail.
“He’s not outspoken about being on the show. He’s just grateful for the opportunity to bring more awareness to the fitness aspects of boxing and the workout itself,” Finley said.
What exactly is a boxing club? Gone are the days of seedy, smelly, old-school boxing clubs straight out of a “Rocky” movie. Today’s boxing clubs have moved to the suburbs and cleaned up their act.
“Boxing is a confidence-building activity that enables anyone, regardless of their fitness level or past experience, to learn a sport while getting fit,” said co-owner Sheeva Rouhani-Fard. “There is an intimidation factor that prohibits some people from trying a class, so it’s exciting when someone like JoJo on ‘The Bachelorette’ expresses interest in it and brings awareness to the sport.”
Boxing classes are growing in popularity as people discover the efficiency of the workout.
“Many of our club members are busy moms. They don’t have a lot of time to spend at the gym, but they can come to one of our classes and burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour,” said Finley. “It’s also very empowering. Some moms have been busy raising their kids and shuttling them from sport to sport, but they don’t have time for their own fitness goals. They come to our classes and realize that boxing is a sport that they can learn.”
TITLE Boxing Club workouts include a 15-minute warm-up with calisthenic drills like jumping jacks, squat jumps, shadow boxing and high knees, all designed to work the entire body and increase the heart rate. The warm-up is followed by 30 minutes of boxing — eight three-minute rounds with one minute of active rest exercises in between each round. The hourlong workout of high-intensity interval training concludes with 15 minutes of abdominal/core exercises.
Angela DeYoung, a Franklin mother of two, took her very first boxing class a few weeks before “The Bachelorette” began airing.
“(Fuertes) was my instructor. His class was so much fun. He was very encouraging and supportive. When I learned that he would be on “The Bachelorette,” I was excited to watch the show this season,” DeYoung said. “The thing that struck me about James is that he’s such a nice guy. You wouldn’t know he’s a boxer. He doesn’t have the demeanor of a ‘tough guy’ at all.”
While Fuertes is contractually obligated to keep mum about the show until his final rose is received, his coworkers freely shared a few fun facts about the dapper bachelor. An Ohio native, he was a chiropractor by trade before leaving his practice to pursue a career in acting. He’d been a member of a TITLE Boxing Club in Ohio and saw franchise ownership as a way to continue his passion for helping others achieve their health/wellness goals while maintaining the flexibility necessary to audition for acting roles.
Fuertes presented the idea to Rouhani-Fard, their friend and raw foods chef Diane Finley, and her business-minded brother Eddie Finley. The four working partners each play a unique role in the business. Fuertes is the head trainer, Rouhani-Fard is the marketing director, Diane Finley is the health and wellness director, and Eddie Finley is the managing partner/president.
Needless to say, they’re all keeping a close eye on “The Bachelorette” this season as Fuertes acts as an ambassador for their favorite sport.
Fuerte’s current class schedule includes a class on Sundays at 10 a.m. at TITLE Boxing Club of Cool Springs, 1550 W. McEwen Drive, Suite 70, and two classes on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and noon at TITLE Boxing Club of Green Hills, 4108 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 201, Nashville.
TITLE Boxing Club offers a free introductory class to anyone ages 8 and older.