Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that the 9 Round franchise was founded in South Carolina.
9 Round, a Waukesha boxing gym, is unexpectedly popular with women.
Nancy Lehman, 48, said she was surprised at the number of women joining after she opened the franchise last January. She said the gym gives women a sense of empowerment.
“We build some confidence and self-esteem, not to mention some pretty nice muscles,” said Lehman.
According to Lehman, the gym has members as young as 11, and many over 35.
“I have a 60-year-old lady that does this and does it quite well,” said Lehman.
Lehman also attributes the appeal to a focus on circuit training over the sparring done at many other boxing-themed gyms. The gym does not contain a ring; instead members spend three minutes each at nine workout stations, ranging from free weights to punching bags. Trainers move throughout the gym, helping members at individual stations. On any given day, you might run into a Waukesha judge or other professionals taking their turn at punching the bags.
“It’s designed so anyone can do it,” said gym member J.D. Leonard, 31. “Once women see they can do this work out, they realize how great it is.”
Leonard said he thinks 9 Round attracts fewer men because they are more likely to go to a traditional boxing gym, while women may find that environment intimidating. However, the franchise does have members from both genders.
Lehman described stress relief as another positive result of kicking and punching.
“After the shooting out east, a man came in and said ‘I wanted to go home and hug my kids, but I needed to hit something right now’,” said Lehman. “I have many members who tell me they came and they had a bad day at work, and they hit some bags and come and say 'thank you.'”
9 Round is part of a national franchise that originated in Greenville, SC.
Lehman opened the Waukesha franchise a year ago at 2014 W. Silvernail Road. There are six 9 Round franchises in Wisconsin.
For one day, on Jan. 10, in celebration of the Waukesha franchise’s one-year anniversary, people can get a one-year membership for $365 compared to the normal $499 cost. The discounted membership includes free equipment, such as boxing gloves (pink or black).
The franchise is also offering a January deal of $49 per month with the first month paid up front, free equipment, and no sign up fee.