Personal trainer Darnell Brown sets out to show Lynchburg residents that losing may be the best way to win. Since creating his fitness group, The Winning Circle, he has helped numerous men and women shed pounds and adopt healthier lifestyles. Brown, who also is a boxing coach, has found a way to channel his love of the sport into tangible results for his clients. Recently Brown and I set down to discuss his view on getting healthy through personal training and boxing.
Q: What originally inspired your interest in boxing?
A: Well, I started taking karate when I was 6-years-old. I stopped when I was 10, but then I found a renewed interest about 10 years ago. I decided to pursue a career as a boxing coach and fitness trainer.
Q: How many boxers are you currently training?
A: I have four men and one woman right now.
Q: That’s interesting. I didn’t know they had female boxing competitions in Lynchburg. Are their competitions as well-attended as the male matches?
A: Unfortunately, no. But we are working to make it more popular. The women are just as talented, and it’s a shame they don’t receive the same recognition.
Q: What noteworthy recognition have your male boxers received?
A: Most recently Jessi Hackett won the Muay Thai Bout, Featherweight Division at the Virginia Cage Fighting Championships.
Q: Do you think boxing is too dangerous for children?
A: No, not if they are trained properly. I teach them proper form. It’s boxing, so they are going to get hit. But I teach them to position themselves so they can control how and where they get hit. Boxing is as much defensive as it offensive. Once they learn that, the chance of serious injury drops dramatically.
Q: These days, families don’t spend much quality time together. Do you think the benefits of boxing are important enough to subtract from family time?
A: Actually boxing can be family time. That way it benefits the family as a whole. It gives them something exciting to do together. When kids see their parents exercise, they are more likely to exercise.
Q: Speaking of exercise, when you aren’t coaching you work as a personal trainer. Can you tell me about your fitness class?
A: We are called The Winning Circle. We meet Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.–noon at The Jubilee Center in Lynchburg. The fee is affordable at only $20 a month.
Q: What does that $20 cover?
A: You get admittance to every class, where we work out as a group, but I am on-hand to provide individual support, instruction and encouragement as needed. We are more than a group. We are a family. My clients don’t succeed or fail alone. We work together, and that is how we win.
Q: What do you think makes you a better option than a big-name chain gym?
A: Humbly, I have to say I’m the benefit. I care about my clients. I’m going to push them harder because I know the potential is there.
Q: If a client prefers to work one-on-one, is that possible?
A: Yes. I have done sessions in clients’ homes or even in the park when the weather permits.
Q: Is that service also $20 a month?
A: For the one-on-one sessions, I charge $30 a month.
Q: What advice would you have for someone who wants to get in shape but doesn’t have time?
A: You must make time. We make time for things that are important to us. Even it’s while you’re watching your favorite television show. You can work out while you watch TV. It’s actually a decent way to push yourself. If it’s a 30-minute program and you watch it 5 times a week, then you’re getting your recommended 150 minutes of exercise. It may be difficult in the beginning, but the more you do it, the easier it will be.
Q: We know exercise is vital to losing weight. Do you also stress the importance of proper nutrition in your classes?
A: If you aren’t eating well, then your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to exercise. Also, drinking enough water is key to a healthy lifestyle. And it can’t just be about losing weight. If you eat well and exercise, then you will lose weight. But that is never the goal. The goal is to be the healthiest version of you possible. We lay that foundation.
Who better to offer perspective than two Winning Circle members? When asked about their experiences Tamara Hamlett and Tevin Jones were happy to share. “I saw a few familiar faces on the group page and decided I wanted to train with them,” says Hamlet. “Since I’ve been there I’ve gained a lot of self-control, a more positive and active lifestyle and of course boxing! Darnell is great. He's encouraging and definitely always inspiring us.”
Jones agrees. “I stumbled upon The Winning Circle through social media. So, I reached out and asked if I could come check out his class and with open arms he invited me,” says Jones. “Nine months later here we are. I have always been an athletic person. I train six days a week, strength and conditioning, and three days out of a week I’m in the lab doing pad work and working on technical boxing skills with Darnell. I’m always looking for a challenge in life and looking for a way to better myself. With The Winning Circle I’m getting both.” Jones added: “Darnell is always pushing me, encouraging me, and helping guide me onto the right path to success in the boxing world. But not only does this help me physically but mentally because training with Darnell never gets easier, you just get better. I think that alone says something about what Darnell has to offer to people through The Winning Circle.”
To find out more about the Winning Circle, contact Brown at Facebook/The Winning Circle Fitness.