Madonna’s “Vogue” plays through the speakers, and about a dozen students begin to run laps around the fitness studio.
It’s Thursday night at American Health and Fitness Center, 4150 Illinois Road, and Abel L. Rosado is teaching a kickboxing class, though he considers it more of a boot camp-style class. The description says the class will be a combination of “jabs, kicks and punches mixed with aerobics” for a toning and cardiovascular workout.
But students soon learn they are in for more.
“Once a Marine, always a Marine,” he says. “I figured if I’m doing conditioning classes, kickboxing classes, MMA classes … why not combine some of the techniques and training that they taught you when you were in the Marine Corps?”
Fitness background: Rosado ran track and field in middle and high school, and also wrestled in high school. He began teaching fitness classes in 1994, starting with Tae Kwon Do and marital arts before moving on to wrestling, self-defense, dance and boxing.
Class schedule: Rosado teaches up to 23 classes a week, including kickboxing, Zumba and core conditioning, at gyms around the city.
Cross training: Rosado sneaks in some cardio with his classes but “I do find time in between classes to train myself,” Rosado says. “It’s good, and I absolutely love it.” He also runs road races, preferring the 5K distance.
Being a leader: “I try to motivate others leading by example. I stay very fit,” he says. “As I learn new techniques on a weekly basis, I share them immediately with the students.”
Building a workout: Rosado designs his workouts based on the fitness levels of class participants.
Class requirements: “The only equipment needed for my boot camp class is a strong mind and a desire to get physically fit,” Rosado says.
Advice for beginners: “The best advice I can give a beginner is to simply try a class and go at your own pace. It’s that simple,” Rosado says. “We’re all at different fitness levels so there’s no need to feel intimidated.”
Rosado incorporates teamwork into his classes to help participants not only motivate each other but to stand by one other.
“My students understand that we pick one another up when the mind wants to quit,” he says. “You’re only as fast or strong as the slowest man.”