I have a confession to make.
When I was in the Army, I had such bad hand-eye-foot coordination that I couldn’t march properly in formation. I was often “hidden” in the middle of the pack so my atrocious marching couldn’t be noticed by outsiders.
I am also the same guy who once got put on “clapping probation” at church.
So, when I started a 9Round kickboxing routine at 9Round’s Menomonee Falls location, at Silver Spring Drive and Pilgrim Road, inside I was chuckling when owner Phil Chavez told me the key to the speed bag was maintaining a “three-count.”
On the outside, I gave a look that I hoped conveyed concentration and that I was taking this advice seriously. On the inside, I was chuckling and silently hoping I didn’t break anything, like equipment or a bone in my hand.
During my fitness journey, I have tried to supplement my running with other workouts but have often flailed miserably (yes, flailed) and not gone back, either out of embarrassment or foolish pride. That’s probably why I now do my strength and core workout in the basement where no one else can see.
However, if I needed to supplement my current gym membership with something that could give me a complete, whole-body workout, 9Round might be the answer. In addition to the speed bag, in my 30-minute session I did three minutes of intense core work, jumped rope, worked on my kicks and punches, and realized three minutes is a long time to keep your hands up. Your arms get heavy after a while.
“We cater to people when they come in,” Chavez said. “The niche we have is 30 minutes, and people want to work out when they want to work out.”
In some ways, I was shocked that I made it through the workout pretty unscathed and how much I liked it. I have never really been into MMA, but I was really into it.
Just ask the nice personal trainer who had to mop up a puddle of sweat near me just halfway through.
Chavez, who was a 5-foot-10 undersized linebacker on the University of Wisconsin football team that made the Rose Bowl after the 1993 season, started working out at a 9Round location in downtown Milwaukee about two years ago.
After about a year, he started talking to the owner about starting his own location.
For someone whose only previous business experience was as solo practitioner at a law firm in Mount Horeb, the chance to own his own franchise was exciting for Chavez, who is a judge in the city of Milwaukee.
However, he was having trouble finding a location. He originally looked at the Bay View area, but parking was a huge issue. The gentleman who was helping him to put the project together liked the untapped potential of Sussex and Menomonee Falls.
When he saw the strip mall, three things jumped out at him: the two busy streets, the left-hand turn into the business and the fact it was near Highway 45.
“I thought the location was amazing,” Chavez said.
He said the reception by the community has been wonderful since he opened in December.
Building up a business is in some ways similar to what to what he experienced once Barry Alvarez came in and turned around the Badgers’ program.
The team went 1-10 in Chavez’s freshman year.
“If you ever sat in a room for 10 minutes with Barry Alvarez, you would do anything he wanted you to do,” Chavez said. “He is the ultimate motivator. There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to be successful.”
He said everybody laughed at him back home in St. Francis when he said the Badgers were going to go to the Rose Bowl within four years.
“We weren’t the greatest athletes, but we put the work in every day,” Chavez said.
That's something his new business venture gives people the opportunity to achieve for themselves.
He touts the ability to start your workout within three minutes of when you are ready, which is a bonus in our busy society.
“It is truly a full-body workout,” Chavez said. “It works out every muscle in your body.”
I can attest to that, as many of mine were still screaming the next day.